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The History of Witchcraft in England From 1558 to 1718 Hardcover – September 10, 2010
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For those looking to research the subject this is a treasure trove of accurate information about Witch prosecutions in England during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. It is about England - only. There are only a few paragraphs about the Salem trials and I don't remember any names coming up in that section - certainly no family histories. For me the multitude of brief and very similar case histories grows all too familiar - I was looking for something more casual and more about witches. Had it been much longer I probably would have given up on it.
I would not, in fact, even have bothered to "REVIEW" the book, except that I feel the need to counter the dis-information of another review. (Yeah it's after Midnight and I have to correct something I read on the internet. I'm that guy).
I really only checked out the reviews, hoping to gain a lead to a book that might be more interesting. Instead I found a glowing 5 star review written by someone must have read a different book, and an equally uninformative 1 star review by someone who feels strongly negative about the book but never states "why" he or she has this feeling. I can't tell if the writer is pro-witch or anti-witch or even understands that this book is more than 100 years old. Since the book is about the outcome of historically recorded trials, none less than 290 years ago, I find it hard to comprehend the anger.
There is NO information here about the families living in Salem, Mass during the witch-hunts in this book. The book barely mentions the American trials and certainly never goes into the geneology of the Salem families.Read more ›
I've read a lot about the Salem witch trials that took place here in the US, but I had little knowledge about the events in England that precipitated Salem. I found the history interesting, though I was continually spacing midway into the book. There is a lot of repetition in cases, as far as details and the way the stories are told.
Overall, this book offers an interesting glimpse into history, but offers no explanations as to how and why it all occurred.
The book is entertaining. I liked the story of William Harvey’s dissection of a toad, which an old lady said was her ‘familiar’. It turned out that it was an ordinary toad, with no sign of the Devil on it, or in it; but the old lady was most displeased that Harvey had cut it open.
The book is particularly good on the legal aspects of witchcraft prosecutions. It shows that the Act of 1604 was brought in at the behest of James I, and that this made it a felony, for the first time, to conjure spirits. (Previously, the prosecution has to show that the witch had brought about someone’s death). This Act remained on the statute book until 1735; but in the meantime, it had become virtually impossible to secure a conviction, because first the Judges and then the public became convinced that, in fact, spirits did not exist; and witches were in the main pathetic old women who suffered from delusions.
But it took time to arrive at this position, because many feared that if there were no spirits, then there was no Devil and if there was no Devil, then there was no God. So for many years those who wrote in favour of a change in the law were liable to be accused of atheism.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well written exploration of the settings in which the Salem witch hunt took place which explains the social, political, and economic stressors that lead to these tragic events.Published 4 months ago by E. Kohler
A must read if you are at all interested in witchcraft, or history in general!Published 4 months ago by Tia Bird
I doubt it's my tablet since all my other ebooks work fine. This one is unreadable due to the words over lapping and being jumbled up. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Amazon Customer