4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Don't read just one book on Salem, include this one.,
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This review is from: A Delusion Of Satan: The Full Story Of The Salem Witch Trials (Paperback)
Part of the interest surrounding the Salem witch trials is that it is so hard to come up with an easy explanation for why it happened. In comparison, there is no mystery whatsoever about the causes of the Spanish Inquisition, as horrible as that was. As I was writing my paper on the subject, it seemed as if there was no good concensus on what caused it. Ms. Hill has an engaging theory, and a brisk, especially easy to read style. So, if you need a counterweight to Boyer and Nissenbaum's socio-economic theory, Hill is a great read, which goes down easily.
I cannot be so pleased with the introduction for the book written by Karen Armstrong, who loosely attributes the event, without the need in a three page piece to be held accountable for her statements. She attributes the incident to "an inadeguate conception of religion". The surest refutation to this is the fact that the trials were held by secular authorities, with relatively little participation by the leading clerics in the Massachusetts Bay Colony; and the fact that the trials were put to an abrupt halt on the advice of the leading colony cleric, Increase Mather, the president of Harvard College.
Since this is a rather creative narrative, I suggest you do not make it your primary source for the history of events. For that, I suggest the painstakenly detailed book "The Salem Witch TRials" by Marilynne Roach. If you use both, you may wisht to read Hill through, checking facts and opinions were necessary against Roach.