84 books like Witch-Hunting in Scotland

By Brian P. Levack,

Here are 84 books that Witch-Hunting in Scotland fans have personally recommended if you like Witch-Hunting in Scotland. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Witch Hunting and Witch Trials

Malcolm Gaskill Author Of Witchfinders: A Seventeenth-Century English Tragedy

From my list on witch hunting in Britain and Europe.

Who am I?

I am an Emeritus Professor of Early Modern History at the University of East Anglia and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. I taught history for many years at several UK universities, and I was the Director of Studies in History at Churchill College, Cambridge. I am the author of six books, including Hellish Nell: Last of Britain’s Witches and Witchcraft: A Very Short Introduction. His latest book, The Ruin of All Witches: Life and Death in the New World, will be published in November by Penguin. I live in Cambridge, England, and I am married with three children.

Malcolm's book list on witch hunting in Britain and Europe

Malcolm Gaskill Why did Malcolm love this book?

This was the book that got me started over thirty years ago, and which I still turn to today. It’s an absolute mine of information, specifically relating to the written indictments for witchcraft which survive in great numbers for the Home Assize Circuit – that is, the courts that heard felonies in south-eastern England.

Ewen doesn’t provide much in the way of analysis. There is a substantial, very useful, introduction, but the really incredible thing about this book is how Ewen managed to comb through the archives, then held in the Public Records Office in London, and find almost all of the witchcraft indictments hidden there. He was an amazing researcher, who provided raw data for subsequent generations of historians.

Among many findings that can be drawn from his research are that, outside the peculiar spike in trials in the mid-1640s (the subject of my book, Witchfinders), English witch-trials peaked…

By C L'Estrange Ewen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Witch Hunting and Witch Trials as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Originally published in 1929, the author presents a formidable collection of facts, brought together in a scholarly manner. This is an examination of the general history of witchcraft, its changing laws and legal procedures, as well as methods of interrogation and punishment. This book must be considered an essential reference work for every student of witch lore.


Book cover of Witchcraft in Tudor and Stuart England

Malcolm Gaskill Author Of Witchfinders: A Seventeenth-Century English Tragedy

From my list on witch hunting in Britain and Europe.

Who am I?

I am an Emeritus Professor of Early Modern History at the University of East Anglia and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. I taught history for many years at several UK universities, and I was the Director of Studies in History at Churchill College, Cambridge. I am the author of six books, including Hellish Nell: Last of Britain’s Witches and Witchcraft: A Very Short Introduction. His latest book, The Ruin of All Witches: Life and Death in the New World, will be published in November by Penguin. I live in Cambridge, England, and I am married with three children.

Malcolm's book list on witch hunting in Britain and Europe

Malcolm Gaskill Why did Malcolm love this book?

Originally published in 1970, this was another foundational text for me and other witchcraft scholars of my generation.

It grew out of Macfarlane’s doctoral thesis focusing on Essex, which had been supervised by Keith Thomas, whose own great book, Religion and the Decline of Magic (much of which dealt with witches), came out the following year. Even then, the historian Macfarlane was on his way to becoming an anthropologist – a transition visible on every page of this fascinating book.

But its overriding character is that of a work of sociology. Social science models helped to impose interpretative order on the kind of archival information dug up by C. L’Estange Ewen, and connected a rise in witchcraft accusations to a number of strains in late-sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century English life, especially economic strains.

Although their interpretations differ in substance and emphasis, Macfarlane and Thomas are still associated with a paradigm…

By Alan Macfarlane,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Witchcraft in Tudor and Stuart England as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a classic regional and comparative study of early modern witchcraft. The history of witchcraft continues to attract attention with its emotive and contentious debates. The methodology and conclusions of this book have impacted not only on witchcraft studies but the entire approach to social and cultural history with its quantitative and anthropological approach. The book provides an important case study on Essex as well as drawing comparisons with other regions of early modern England.
The second edition of this classic work adds a new historiographical introduction, placing the book in context today.


Book cover of Witches and Neighbours: The Social and Cultural Context of European Witchcraft

Julian Goodare Author Of The European Witch-Hunt

From my list on the history of European witchcraft and witch-hunting.

Who am I?

I’m a historian who wants to know: Why did people burn other people at the stake for what we think was an impossible crime? It seems so unjust; indeed it was unjust. I mention Amnesty International in my book; as well as being a professional historian, I’ve been writing letters for Amnesty for many years, trying to rectify injustice. Yet witch-hunting made sense to the perpetrators; they weren’t simply ‘wicked’ or ‘crazed’ or ‘ignorant’. We need to understand them on many levels, from the most erudite demonology, all the way down to psychological processes by which we identify enemies. The five books I’ve chosen move gradually downwards, in order, from the highest to the deepest level.

Julian's book list on the history of European witchcraft and witch-hunting

Julian Goodare Why did Julian love this book?

As well as the fears of godly states, early modern villagers had their own fears.

This book shows ‘witches’ being created in a process of everyday village rivalries between neighbours. Two villagers quarrel; either or both of them may utter insults, threats, or curses. You witch! You will regret this! May the Devil drag your soul through hell! And so on.

Insults (even ‘You witch!’) were relatively harmless, but threats and curses could get you into trouble. If your opponent then experienced some misfortune, neighbours might explain this as your curse taking effect.

This was particularly likely if you were female: people feared men’s physical violence, but they feared women’s curses. This book brings early modern villages to life.

By Robin Briggs,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Witches and Neighbours as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Witches and Neighbours is a highly original and unconventional analysis of a fascinating historical phenomenon. Unlike other studies of the subject which focus on the mechanisms of persecution, this book presents a rich picture of witchcraft as an all-pervasive aspect of life in early modern Europe. Robin Briggs combines recent research with his own investigations to produce a brilliant and compelling account of the central role of witchcraft in the past. Although the history of witchcraft can only be studied through records of persecutions, these reveal that trials were unusual in everyday life and that witchcraft can be viewed as…


Book cover of Witch Craze: Terror and Fantasy in Baroque Germany

Lu Ann Homza Author Of Village Infernos and Witches' Advocates: Witch-Hunting in Navarre, 1608-1614

From my list on the trauma of European witch-hunting.

Who am I?

I am a historian of early modern Europe, with a research focus on Spain and Italy. I first encountered archival documents from the Spanish Inquisition during research for my first book: I was already a fan of religious history but quickly became a fan of studying the law. I am fascinated by the ways in which people between the 1500s and 1700s used the legal systems at their disposal to recapture honor and pursue enemies. I am always on the lookout for ways in which religious prescriptions from centralized authorities did not match what was happening on the ground with ordinary, usually illiterate people.

Lu's book list on the trauma of European witch-hunting

Lu Ann Homza Why did Lu love this book?

No one does a better job of explaining the links between witchcraft accusations and fears over fertility than Roper.

Her ability to connect witches’ stereotypical activities—murder, cannibalism, sex with the Devil, and so on—with the demographic and subsistence crises of early modern Germany is remarkable.

She is an incredibly sensitive reader of primary sources.

By Lyndal Roper,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Witch Craze as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A powerful account of witches, crones, and the societies that make them

From the gruesome ogress in Hansel and Gretel to the hags at the sabbath in Faust, the witch has been a powerful figure of the Western imagination. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries thousands of women confessed to being witches-of making pacts with the Devil, causing babies to sicken, and killing animals and crops-and were put to death. This book is a gripping account of the pursuit, interrogation, torture, and burning of witches during this period and beyond.

Drawing on hundreds of original trial transcripts and other rare…


Book cover of Strongholds of the Picts: The Fortifications of Dark Age Scotland

Maggie Freeman Author Of Castles

From my list on the magic of castles.

Who am I?

I’m a writer of historical novels and primary literacy books, and a poet. I was born in Trinidad and live in London. So why am I writing about the magic of castles? I’ve loved visiting them since I was a child, when I’d run round them and imagine what had happened there. Back home, I’d immerse myself in reading legends and fairy stories—at bedtime, lying in my top bunk, I'd make up stories to entertain my sister in her bottom bunk. So it was natural to move on to writing fictionthe novel I’ve just completed is about King Canute. I’ve written primary literacy books for Collins, Oxford, and Ransom.

Maggie's book list on the magic of castles

Maggie Freeman Why did Maggie love this book?

I’ve spent some time in the north of Scotland and became intrigued by the remains of Pictish forts on hilltops and by the sea. This book doesn’t provide many answerswritten records before 900 AD are few and the archaeology is confusedKonstam’s conclusion is "the main benefit of any visit to one of these sites is to be able to stand on the same hilltop or promontory, and to imagine what it might have looked like in the days of the Picts." Which explains why legends and stories have grown up about castlesimagining has been key to making sense of such imposing features in the landscape, when often their real history has been forgotten over time.

Konstam’s book is one of a series, and if your curiosity is about a different sort of castle it’s worth checking it out.

By Angus Konstam, Peter Dennis (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Strongholds of the Picts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This concise guide actually covers not just Pictish fortifications, but all those in use in early medieval Scotland, including those of Strathclyde and Rheged and of the Dal Riata. Konstam introduces the reader to the principal types of fort, including the re-use of earlier defences, before offering more in-depth surveys of Dundurn and Dunadd. As well as architecture and construction he looks at the use of the forts in war and peace, to control the landscape and act as royal strong points.


Book cover of A Kind of Spark

Violet Plum Author Of Little Chicken Classic - Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er

From my list on for children which are also loved by adults.

Who am I?

I love writing and illustrating all sorts of children's stories. The only thing my stories have in common is that none of their heroes eat meat, drink milk, or take part in the egg and spoon race. I write the kind of stories I want to read. I don't want to read about sex or violence. And I don't want to read foul language. I want something meaningful, something with a concluding note of optimism. Consequently, well-written children's stories often appeal to me. In fact, I've come to the conclusion that these are not just children's stories, they're good stories that anyone can enjoy.

Violet's book list on for children which are also loved by adults

Violet Plum Why did Violet love this book?

This book is gripping. From the first sentence I was hooked as the autistic heroine showed me what life is like when no one understands you. When no one thinks like you. And when almost everyone underestimates you. I have learned so much from this book and am grateful for it. I love Addie. I love how empathetic she is as she campaigns for a memorial for the accused witches executed by her village centuries earlier. And I love her passion for sharks and her desire for them to live free and natural lives. I am certain that she would not visit aquariums because she knows how cruel captivity is. She is a bright, brave soul and I highly recommend that you read her story.

By Elle McNicoll,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Kind of Spark as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Perfect for readers of Song for a Whale and Counting by 7s, a neurodivergent girl campaigns for a memorial when she learns that her small Scottish town used to burn witches simply because they were different.

"A must-read for students and adults alike." -School Library Journal, Starred Review
 
Ever since Ms. Murphy told us about the witch trials that happened centuries ago right here in Juniper, I can’t stop thinking about them. Those people weren’t magic. They were like me. Different like me.
 
I’m autistic. I see things that others do not. I hear sounds that they can ignore. And…


Book cover of The Expedition of Humphry Clinker

Tom Keymer Author Of Jane Austen: A Very Short Introduction

From my list on stories written before 1800.

Who am I?

I’ve been researching and teaching the history of the novel since I was a graduate student in Cambridge in the late 1980s, and along the way, I’ve published trade editions of several classics beyond those recommended here, including Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, Richardson’s Pamela, Fielding’s Tom Jones, and Beckford’s Vathek. It’s a great opportunity to take a break from specialist academia and reach a broader community of readers, as I’ve also tried to do in a recent introductory book about Jane Austen. I now teach at the University of Toronto, where I’m blessed with amazing students on two of my favourite undergraduate courses, “The Rise of the Novel” and “Austen and Her Contemporaries.”

Tom's book list on stories written before 1800

Tom Keymer Why did Tom love this book?

Tobias Smollett, Scotland’s greatest novelist before Scott and Stevenson, was dying in a villa on the Ligurian coast when his masterpiece Humphry Clinker came out in London in 1771. Yet every page is written with astounding verve, immersing readers in the vibrant chaos of eighteenth-century Britain, the sights and sounds of its teeming cities and health resorts—even, in several virtuoso passages of gross-out description, its nauseating smells and tastes. Like Richardson before him, Smollett gives his narrative over to multiple voices, this time to riotously comic effect. Five Anglo-Welsh tourists (splenetic Bramble, scathing Tabitha, witty Jery, romantic Lydia, their hilariously unpredictable servant Win) travel the length and breadth of a nation in the throes of urbanization and commercial modernity, by turns disgusted and enchanted, constantly failing to agree on what they see. Illicit romances play out in the background, but Smollett’s main interest is in the turbulent dynamism of four-nations…

By Tobias Smollett, Paul-Gabriel Boucé (editor), Lewis M. Knapp (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Expedition of Humphry Clinker as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

William Thackeray called it "the most laughable story that has ever been written since the goodly art of novel-writing began." As a group of travellers visit places in England and Scotland, they provide through satire and wit a vivid and detailed picture of the contemporary social and political scene.
ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to…


Book cover of Maggie & Me

Richard Glover Author Of Flesh Wounds

From my list on weird families and how to survive them.

Who am I?

I’m an Australian writer and journalist. I’ve written several humour books, as well as a history of Australia in the 1960 and 1970s called The Land Before Avocado. I also write for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Washington Post and present a radio show on ABC Radio Sydney. Of the books I’ve written, the one that’s closest to my heart is my memoir Flesh Wounds.

Richard's book list on weird families and how to survive them

Richard Glover Why did Richard love this book?

A young boy, already knowing he’s gay, is growing up in a Scottish slum. The rest of the household consists of people who are drunk, violent, and unemployed. Then, watching the TV, tiny Damian sees Margaret Thatcher, the then British Prime Minister, emerging from the smoke and destruction caused by the IRA’s bombing of the 1984 Conservative Party Conference. Maggie doesn’t have a hair out of place. This little ill-treated boy, sitting on his filthy couch, thinks: “If only she could come here, she’d sort this lot out....” Maggie & Me is so fresh, unlikely, and hilarious, I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t be moved by the story.

By Damian Barr,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Maggie & Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A unique, tender and witty memoir of surviving the tough streets of small town Scotland during the Margaret Thatcher years ________________________ 'Shocking and funny in equal measure, and will have you weeping with laughter and sorrow' Independent on Sunday 'A work of stealthy genius' Maggie O'Farrell 'Certain memoirs catch a moment and seem to define it, bottle it ... hugely entertaining' Sunday Times It's 12 October 1984. An IRA bomb blows apart the Grand Hotel in Brighton. Miraculously, Margaret Thatcher survives. In small-town Scotland, eight-year-old Damian Barr watches in horror as his mum rips her wedding ring off and packs…


Book cover of The Thirty-Nine Steps

Jonathan Payne Author Of Citizen Orlov

From my list on spy thrillers for readers of literary fiction.

Who am I?

I’m a reader and writer of thrillers, especially espionage, but I also love literary fiction, including contemporary writers like Kazuo Ishiguro, Mohsin Hamid, and Amor Towles. And I enjoy reading classic writers including Gogol, Dostoyevsky, and Kafka. So, when it comes to reading thrillers, I gravitate towards those that are very well written, with precise prose and evocative imagery. This is my crossover list of the best five spy thrillers for readers of literary fiction. If you’re a literary reader interested in dabbling in a bit of espionage, these five books would be a great place to start.  

Jonathan's book list on spy thrillers for readers of literary fiction

Jonathan Payne Why did Jonathan love this book?

Buchan’s 1915 masterpiece is the first spy thriller I read and the start of my long-term love affair with espionage fiction.

It’s the blueprint for many of the great 20th-century spy thrillers and our first introduction to the dashing Richard Hannay. An adventure that moves at breathtaking pace, Hannay has just returned to London from Africa when he meets a shady American who warns him of a political assassination plot.

Soon, the American is dead and Hannay is racing across England and Scotland in fear of his life and searching for the mysterious thirty-nine steps that hold the key to the mystery. Spy fiction has rarely been as much fun as this.   

By John Buchan,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Thirty-Nine Steps as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Richard Hannay has just returned to England after years in South Africa and is thoroughly bored with his life in London. But then a murder is committed in his flat, just days after a chance encounter with an American who had told him about an assassination plot which could have dire international consequences. An obvious suspect for the police and an easy target for the killers, Hannay goes on the run in his native Scotland where he will need all his courage and ingenuity to stay one step ahead of his pursuers.


Book cover of Britain in Revolution: 1625-1660

Kirsteen MacKenzie Author Of The Solemn League and Covenant of the Three Kingdoms and the Cromwellian Union, 1643-1663

From my list on he Wars of the Three Kingdoms 1637-1653.

Who am I?

I am an academic historian who has had a passion for the wars of the three kingdoms for over three decades. I have been reading books about the civil wars in Britain and Ireland since I was ten years old. I have been a member of the re-enactment society The Sealed Knot and the Cromwell Association. I published my first monograph on the wars of the three kingdoms in 2018. The monograph views the conflict from a three kingdoms perspective through the eyes of the Scottish Covenanters and their English allies. I am a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Kirsteen's book list on he Wars of the Three Kingdoms 1637-1653

Kirsteen MacKenzie Why did Kirsteen love this book?

This is an integrated and detailed account of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms across Britain and Ireland, the English Republic and the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660. It is written in an engaging and lively style and concisely integrates the large body of scholarship that emerged with the new British histories in the 1990s and early 2000s.

By Austin Woolrych,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Britain in Revolution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the definitive history of the English Civil War, set in its full historical context from the accession of Charles I to the Restoration of Charles II. These were the most turbulent years of British history and their reverberations have been felt down the centuries. Throughout the middle decades of the seventeenth century England, Scotland, and Ireland were convulsed by political upheaval and wracked by rebellion and civil war. The Stuart monarchy was in
abeyance for twenty years in all three kingdoms, and Charles I famously met his death on the scaffold.

Austin Woolrych breathes life back into the…


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