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The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege Paperback – July 22, 2004
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Roach's new and exciting book is a marvelous compendium of well-thought-out insights, multiple facts, and little-known details on the events of the infamous 1692 Salem Village witchcraft. Her work, arranged in a day-by-day chronology, allows the reader to visualize how these events began and progressed to become the most massive witchcraft outbreak in America. It is an important addition to the literature of New England witchcraft. (Richard B. Trask, Danvers, Massachusetts Town Archivist)
[A] truly impressive day-by-day compendium on the course of the Salem witchcraft trials. This will be an invaluable aid to the scholarship on this pivotal episode in American history. (William T. La Moy, Editor Peabody Essex Museum Collections)
The most complete day-by-day account of the Salem witch trials ever written. [Roach has created] a fascinating chronicle of the witchcraft episode and its long aftermath, filled with revealing social and psychological detail, accurately and gracefully written. A compelling read. (Benjamin C. Ray, Director, Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive)
This fascinating, deeply researched day-by-day account of the events of 1692 to 1697 is an extraordinarily valuable resource for any student of the Salem witch trials. (Frances Hill, Author of A Delusion of Satan and editor of The Salem Witch Trials Reader)
What an accomplishment! Marilynne Roach tells the story with rare detail and deep understanding. Her scholarship and sensibility make The Salem Witch Trials an invaluable must-have for those interested in the trials and the times. Reading her work is almost like being there. Outstanding. (Alison D'Amario, director of education, Salem Witch Museum)
Monumental.... Roach's detailed reference book provides deep insights into the trial years by letting us listen to the voices of everyone involved. (Publishers Weekly)
Presents a detailed chronology of events from January 1, 1692, to January 14, 1697. Drawing on extensive sources, including some recently discovered manuscript material, it provides invaluable basic information in an accessible format that will aid those who are new to the Salem Witch Trials and those who many be revisiting them. (Library Journal)
The well-written text is formatted much like a diary of excerpted, paraphrased, and quoted documentation. (G. Wood, SUNY College at Cortland CHOICE)
Roach worked on this fascinating chronicle more than 25 years. She tells exactly what happened at the time, based on tons of documents and court testimony. (Denver Post)
Marilynne K. Roach's The Salem Witch Trials is representative of this ongoing interest: her "day-by-day chronicle" will find a place on the shelves of researchers and history buffs for whom the fascination of Salem never palls. (Thomas S. Kidd, Baylor University Books and Culture)
About the Author
Marilynne K. Roach, author and illustrator of In the Days of the Salem Witchcraft Trials and former contributor to the Boston Globe, lives in Watertown, Massachusetts, near Boston.
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The author then rolls out the meat of the story and shows how the most mundane thing started this runaway train of confusion that snowballed so fast, Salem was engulfed in the whole affair before anyone really understood what was happening. People never looked at anyone the same way after this. It was surprising and fascinating to learn that people actually took advantage of the "opportunity" to get revenge on others for the most minute reasons. This episode really highlights the frailty of the human animal.
The author also gives you a good look into the personalities of the people involved. You see them change as time goes on. They start with the concept that they know whats going on and how to resolve it. Then, just as quickly, you see them get lost in something that is incomprehensible to them and start to question everything they believe in. You realize early on that there is nothing unique or unusual about them. Their just like you and me and we probably wouldn't act much different were it us.
People used the Bible heavily throughout this time period as a way to combat the evils they believed existed. Whats interesting is that if you read carefully, the quotes used throughout the book mirror the events that are unfolding. These Biblical quotes seem to tell the story as it's unfolding before your eyes and you find yourself being an armchair QB, yelling at these people to follow their own ultra-religious views and all this evil would simply go away.
This book is very heavy in details. There is an immense amount of information; events, dates, places and names that cannot be read, digested and understood easily. For myself, I find that books of this nature should be read quickly, not bothering too much with the details. Wait a couple weeks, then go back and read it again. You'll understand it much better and the finer points will not seem so overwhelming. Kind of like building up a tolerance to information overload.
The book is truely fascinating and digs into many area's that make it a complete work. Geography (yes, it's more important than you make think), international & domestic politics, law and of course psychology just to name a few. Anyone interested in this type of history will not find many authors better at explaining reals events than Marilynne Roach. Another great thing is that everything she writes about can be reaserched independently and you can get caught up in this story very easily. Lot of late nights in the library.
I know this took great effort and time for the author, Ms. Roach, and I am thankful that someone wanted to tackle this large project. I have a ways to go before I reach the end of the book and I look forward to reading what others thought of the hysteria of the time.
Another feature that I find helpful in this book are the various appendices in the back with a chart of names of the accused, their age and what became of them - this is invaluable and saves much time flipping through the book to locate specific people. Another appendix lists all those 'affected' by devilment and who they accused. This book is well worth the price I feel.