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Escaping Salem: The Other Witch Hunt of 1692 (New Narratives in American History) 1st Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195161304
ISBN-10: 0195161300
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"Escaping Salem will engage every reader who has fallen under the spell of witchcraft's history in New England. But beware: still deeper enchantment awaits as Richard Godbeer unfolds his riveting tale of how ordinary men and women struggled to make sense of the wonders and terrors at work in their Connecticut village."--Christine Leigh Heyrman, University of Delaware


"Richard Godbeer's Escaping Salem is a thoughtful and lively retelling of a 'forgotten' witchcraft case. The strong story line is nicely balanced with astute commentary on the background and context. Indeed Godbeer uses the case to open up a broad vista of early New England life at ground level. And, in doing so, he shows a balance of interests and concerns that differs significantly from the endlessly hyped (but somewhat atypical) picture of the 'Salem witch-craze' in exactly the same year."--John Demos, Yale University


About the Author

Richard Godbeer is at University of California at Riverside.
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Product Details

  • Series: New Narratives in American History
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (January 6, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195161300
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195161304
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.3 x 4.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #173,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Linda Pagliuco VINE VOICE on May 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Few people know that while the infamous Salem witch hunt was taking place in 1692, southwestern Connecticut was undergoing a scare of its own. Godbeer has meticulously researched this event and presents a remarkably detailed story based upon the participants own words. He follows the accusers, the victims, the "witches", the ministers, and the magistrates, from the beginning of the outbreak to its much-more-sensible-than Salem conclusion. Seems one could be a witch and avoid execution in Olde New England. Puritans all - how did Connecticut avoid hysteria and wanton killing? This brief book tells the tale in an interesting, historically accurate fashion.
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Short history exploring witch trials outside of the Salem cliche. Looking at a different region, this book still compares situations to Salem to highlight important socio-cultural connections to American society. Short and easy to read.
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A great look into the curiosity of witchcraft in 1692. Everyone is familiar with the Salem witch hunt of 1692, but the witch hunt that took place in Stamford, Connecticut is little known. Excellent read.
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I came across this little book while doing research on my ancestors. After learning I was a direct descendant of Daniel Westcott, I found his connection to late 17th century witchcraft in the colonies. The book is a little dry, but the facts and bits of colonial wisdom were interesting....not to mention Daniel and wife Abigail's approach to dealing with a house servant who in today';s world would be a resident of the top-floor, inpatient, psych ward.
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It is interesting the way the author wrote this book. The first chapters put the frame of the scholar text. It is like reading a novel and then the last chapters gives more scholarly inside of this even. I was surprised that so few people had been killed for witchcraft during the Salem trials. From some pagan friends saying I was under the impression the number was much more high some thousand at least. It is a good book worth reading.
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Format: Paperback
I would probably rate this in at 3.5 stars...but I rounded up to 4 stars.

'Escaping Salem' tells the story of the 'witch hunt' in Stamford, CT. We have all grown up hearing about the witch hunts in Salem. There have been movies and there have been discussions of the blood thirsty people in that community going after the witches to rid their villages of their evil practices.

This book begins to examine the people behind some of the stories in the relatively quiet community of Stamford. The book looks at one particular case of a girl named Kate Branch of her fits or rage, her delusions and her overall strange behavior. It discusses the people that many believed were witches and why they considered them witches. Though the arguments were often weak, the arguments gained traction and led to the trials of a couple of women accused of being witches.

The book takes you in to the courtroom as you see some of the problems of the prosecution and the difficulty of 'proving' witchcraft. I had always believed that trials were thrown together to just convict but you can see that there was definitely more effort needed to convict someone.

The biggest problem with the book is that it often reads like a textbook until the last chapter when the author interjects more of his thoughts and conclusions. The book is using public documents so there are some holes in the story which Godbeer tries to fill. Overall, an interesting peak into the late 1600s court system and witches problem.
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I bought this book for the spring semester. It arrived VERY fast, and is in perfect condition. Use amazon to find your textbooks, I paid about 40-50% less for new books on amazon than I would have paid for used books at my college bookstore. Plus I assume, I'll be able to sell these books to the bookstore and knock even ore off the total price of "renting".
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This is an interesting book showing the mentality of the early pilgrims. As I read I was amazed that "Kate" was believed and could see it as though I were there in that time period. I have realized through working with genealogy that many of those who lived in those times were quite illiterate, however perhaps due to the witch hunts in Salem these people did not appear to use common sense. Good book and very informative. Norma
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