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Six Women of Salem: The Untold Story of the Accused and Their Accusers in the Salem Witch Trials Paperback – September 3, 2013

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Six Women of Salem: The Untold Story of the Accused and Their Accusers in the Salem Witch Trials + The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege + A Delusion Of Satan: The Full Story Of The Salem Witch Trials
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 472 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (September 3, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306821206
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306821202
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


InfoDad Blog, 10/10/13

“Roach shows how thoroughly she has researched her subject…while also giving modern readers something to think about in our own days of social and political witch hunts. Six Women of Salem…will provide a greater sense of the real-world lives of those who engaged in and were victimized by those events.”

San Francisco Book Review/Sacramento Book Review, 10/7/13

“The book is super detailed and fantastically informative on the subject…An eye-opening piece of work…Each page drips with an honest and impartial narrative…Roach has done a great job in honoring the memories of these women with a tasteful and harmonious book.”

Kirkus Reviews, 9/15/13

“[Full of] the author’s deep knowledge of virtually every man, woman and child affected by the trials in this bizarre period.”, 9/27/13

“Roach delivers a historically intimate narrative that gives readers a front row seat to this desperate and dangerous time in history.”—, 9/27

Roanoke Times, 10/27/13

“A focused look at the lives of six of the accused, their accusers, and their neighbors who were part of a dark period in American history.”

Leavenworth Times, 10/29/13

“A well written novel approach to the witch trials worth the time taken while you await the trick-or-treaters this Halloween.”

Open Letters Monthly, 10/1/13

“Immediately immerses its readers in the events of that horrible, vertiginous year, a year which almost certainly started off as mere pranking by some mean-spirited girls but then grew into something much blacker and more complicated. Roach immerses her readers through her customary vivid, forceful writing…The seriously inquisitive now have another great book on the subject.”

ForeWord, Winter 2013

“[Roach’s] fact-based insight into these women’s lives, along with the moments she breaks into short, fictionalized scenes, puts these lives into perspective, allowing readers to connect with the events in a way not afforded in other accounts of this period…Roach’s work will shed new light on the Salem witch trials, not only by showing how the accusers may have truly believed they were bewitched and tortured, but also by making the innocent women come to life.”

Library Journal, 12/1/2013

“Roach animates information woven together from court records, trial notes, diaries, vital records, sermon notes, and family lore in a successful attempt to personalize [the women’s] lives, drawing the reader away from commonly believed stereotypes and sensational folklore.”

American History, April 2014

“[A] richly detailed tapestry of life in 17th-century Salem.”

New England Historical and Genealogical Register, January 2014
“Ambitious…It is astonishing to our twenty-first century minds to see magistrates and judges believing the accusers and calling the ‘so called’ witches liars when they claimed to be innocent.”

Library Journal, 6/1/14
“[Roach’s] writing style offers a refreshing lack of sensationalism…Recommended for readers who love history and those who are curious about the women involved in the notorious events.”

About the Author

Marilynne K. Roach earned a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and works as both a historian and illustrator. She has drawn illustrations and written how-to and travel articles for the Boston Globe, has lectured to groups ranging from kindergarten to senior citizens, and has written several scholarly articles on various aspects of the witch scare.
She is a lifelong resident of Watertown, Massachusetts.

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Customer Reviews

A very repetitive and tedious read.
Gayle Marie Pietz
Six Women of a well written portrait of the Salem witch trials.
Satisfied Customer
From that point on the story flows much easier and is very interesting.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Jill on September 5, 2013
Format: Paperback
Six Women of Salem: The Untold Story of the Accused and Their Accusers in the Salem Witch Trials delivers exactly what the title promises. Roach focuses on the witch trials of (arguably) the six most famous women of Salem: Tituba, Rebecca Nurse, Ann Putnam, Mary Warren, Bridget Bishop, and Mary English. The groups is a mixture of the accused and those doing the accusing.

I think this is a great book for someone who already has an interest in history or specifically the Salem witch trials. Because of the nature of the topic, there are a lot of dates, connections, and courtroom talk that does give this book a "textbook" type feel throughout. But it's all relevant if not important information that paints a more detailed picture of this point in our country's history.

One thing that really helped to break up this sometimes monotonous book was the use of fiction. At the start of introductions of characters and throughout the book, there are short fictional passages of how their life could have been like. This writing was really detailed and dramatic- I'd actually be happy to read a fiction book set in Salem if Roach ever decides to publish one.

All in all, this book is chock full of information and offers new insight into these trials. Historians and those with an interest in Salem would find this book particularly helpful. To those who have no prior history or interest in this subject, this book throws a lot of information at you and is a bit dry in parts. Because I study Salem in my free time, I found this to be a solid and informative read.

Thanks to Netgalley and Da Capo Press for my copy.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By KickinFamily on September 23, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Many thanks to Perseus Books Group / Da Capo Press for providing this eGalley to me through NetGalley. Although it was provided at no cost, I am under no obligation to give a positive review.

Growing up, I was very fortunate to have my maternal grandmother and her husband work in the tourism industry in Williamsburg, Virginia. I got an early exposure to colonial America to go along with my always strong love of history in general. Naturally, I have also been interested in the happenings in Salem, Massachusetts, knowing it can be very difficult to separate fact from fiction from urban legend.

Enter this wonderful book by Marilynne K. Roach. It should be noted before beginning that this is not Roach's first rodeo when it comes to scholarly work on the Salem witch trials. She's well-respected in that area as a quick Google search will reveal.

That said, what Roach brings to the table with this offering is humanization of the accused as well as providing a smaller scope of the trials. Rather than looking at the trials in a larger overview, she takes six women accused of being witches and gets into extraordinary detail about their lives. With each woman, she digs into their family, genealogy and the events surrounding the accusations against them and subsequent trial.

This works very well to humanize the accused, as you can see them as individual persons, not just numbers or statistics. Additionally, Roach makes an effort to get into each woman's head to try and see the happenings through their eyes. This further brings the subject to a more personal level.

The only downside of the book is that it does get tedious at times. It took me a bit before I really got rolling, once I finished the first woman's story.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ionia Martin TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is an interesting book and would be particularly interesting for someone who is not familiar already with the way the witch trials came to be and the history of the cases.

The only complaint I have with this book, is that during the first few chapters, there is a lot of set up and dates, family lineage and explanation to wade through before actually getting to the more interesting and easily flowing part of the book. Whilst this may not bother the more studious types, I do think that as a rule of the average person looking for something interesting to read, this might come across as a bit mundane.

Once this book got moving, I enjoyed the way the author used the collected information to tell the story of these individual women and what they suffered through. This writing had a much more personal feel than many accounts of the same events. This was a book that I found both taught me some new things and refreshed my memory on other things.

Overall, this was worth the time to read. The author was proficient in fact checking and arranging this in a way that made it fun to read and encouraged me to keep turning pages. I would feel comfortable recommending this to teachers and others who are interested in the subject matter.

This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher in cooperation with Netgalley.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Reader on September 12, 2013
Format: Paperback
This book looks at the Salem Witch Trials through the lives of six of the women involved: Rebecca Nurse, Tituba, Bridget Bishop, Mary Warren, Ann Putnam, and Mary English. The first part of the book is a very interesting account of the six women's lives before the witch trials. It's a very interesting narrative that draws on court documents, eyewitness accounts, and even family lore that has been passed down. Those unfamiliar with the events can easily pick up this book without being lost, while those more familiar with the trials will still find plenty to interest them. The book doesn't try to answer the question of why the witch scare happened the way it did, but it does give some clues as to what may have motivated certain accusations. Marilynne Roach also wrote "The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege," which I highly recommend.
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