The author of A Storm of Witchcraft, Emerson W. Baker is a well known historian, archaeologist, and professor at Salem State University. In addition to receiving a Ph.D. in History from the College of William and Mary, an M.A. in History from University of Maine, and a B.A. in History from Bates College, Baker has also received many commendations and awards for his work. Among those awards, he has earned a membership in the Colonial Society of Massachusetts and was honored with the Maine Historical Society’s Neil Allen Award. Baker has also been the Chairman of Salem State University’s Archaeological Advisory Committee since 1990, and he has been the Chair for Maine Cultural Affairs Council since 2000. Baker has also written four other books, Devil of Great Island, New England Knight, American Beginnings, and Clarke & Lake Co. A Storm of Witchcraft shows the strife of the American people during the late 1600s concurring with the Salem Witch Trials beginning in 1692. This book goes into depth about the death of the nineteen people convicted and suspected as witches, and the lives of the people surrounding them. Additionally, the setting of A Storm of Witchcraft focuses around the New England and Massachusetts area. …show more content…
The author wrote about this specific subject because of his profession, where he lives, and to clarify any confusions about the actual events of the Salem Witch Trials. The author wrote about the specific people and places mentioned in the book to establish the events of the trial through more than one point of view. By using an unprecedented format for writing, and by retelling the accounts of different people, places, and how they compare, Baker established a sense of confident understanding for his readers to
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The book begins with a brief history of the colonial witchcraft. Each Chapter is structured with an orientation, presentation of evidence, and her conclusion. A good example of her structure is in chapter two on the demographics of witchcraft; here she summarizes the importance of age and marital status in witchcraft accusations. Following this she provides a good transition into chapter three in the final sentence of chapter two, “A closer look of the material conditions and behavior of acc...
When one evokes The Salem Witch Trials of 1692, the image that comes to most peoples minds are that of witches with pointed hats riding broomsticks. This is not helped by the current town of Salem, Massachusetts, which profits from the hundreds of thousands of tourists a year by mythologizing the trials and those who were participants. While there have been countless books, papers, essays, and dissertations done on this subject, there never seems to be a shortage in curiosity from historians on these events. Thus, we have Bernard Rosenthal's book, Salem Story: Reading the Witch Trials of 1692, another entry in the historiographical landscape of the Salem Witch Trials. This book, however, is different from most that precede it in that it does not focus on one single aspect, character, or event; rather Rosenthal tells the story of Salem in 1692 as a narrative, piecing together information principally from primary documents, while commenting on others ideas and assessments. By doing so, the audience sees that there is much more to the individual stories within the trials, and chips away at the mythology that has pervaded the subject since its happening. Instead of a typical thesis, Rosenthal writes the book as he sees the events fold out through the primary documents, so the book becomes more of an account of what happened according to primary sources in 1692 rather than a retelling under a new light.
In order to understand the outbreak of the witchcraft hysteria in Salem, Massachusetts in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, authors of Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft, explore the social and economic divisions and tensions within Salem and the surrounding communities. Both Boyer and Nissenbaum have a strong background in history. Paul Boyer (1935-2012) was the Merle Curti Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as well as a cultural and intellectual historian who authored several other books. Stephen Nissenbaum was a Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst who authored several other books as well. In Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of
Starkey, Marion L. The Devil In Massachusetts: A Modern Inquiry Into The Salem Witch Trials. London: Robert Hale Limited.
During the time of the Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692, more than twenty people died an innocent death. All of those innocent people were accused of one thing, witchcraft. During 1692, in the small town of Salem, Massachusetts many terrible events happened. A group of Puritans lived in Salem during this time. They had come from England, where they were prosecuted because of their religious beliefs. They chose to come live in America and choose their own way to live. They were very strict people, who did not like to act different from others. They were also very simple people who devoted most of their lives to God. Men hunted for food and were ministers. Women worked at home doing chores like sewing, cooking, cleaning, and making clothes. The Puritans were also very superstitious. They believed that the devil would cause people to do bad things on earth by using the people who worshiped him. Witches sent out their specters and harmed others. Puritans believed by putting heavy chains on a witch, that it would hold down their specter. Puritans also believed that by hanging a witch, all the people the witch cast a spell on would be healed. Hysteria took over the town and caused them to believe that their neighbors were practicing witchcraft. If there was a wind storm and a fence was knocked down, people believed that their neighbors used witchcraft to do it. Everyone from ordinary people to the governor’s wife was accused of witchcraft. Even a pregnant woman and the most perfect puritan woman were accused. No one in the small town was safe. As one can see, the chaotic Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692 were caused by superstition, the strict puritan lifestyle, religious beliefs, and hysteria.
To better understand the events of the Salem witch trials, it is necessary to understand the time period in which the accusations of witchcraft occurred. There were the ordinary stresses of 17th-century life in Massachusetts Bay Colony. A strong belief in the devil, factions among Salem Village fanatics, and rivalry with nearby Salem Town all played a part in the stress. There was also a recent small pox epidemic and the threat of an attack by warring tribes created a fertile ground for fear and suspicion. Soon prisons were filled with more than 150 men and women from towns surrounding Salem.
Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft is a concise, 231 page informational text by Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum. Published in 1974, it explores the economic and social conditions present in the Salem village during the 1600s that led to the hysteria surrounding witchcraft. Multiple graphs and illustrations are present, as well as an average sized font, an abundance of footnotes typically on the left page, and a prominent voice from the authors. The book was written to serve as a more comprehensive informational piece on the Salem witch trials due to the authors finding other pieces written about the same topic to be inaccurate. Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum wanted to create something that utilized
In 1692 the area of Salem town and Salem village became very vulnerable to conflict. Severe weather such as hurricanes had damaged land and crops, the effects of King Phillips War began to impact New England society, and colonists were being forced off of the frontiers by Native peoples. The Church and the government were in heavy conflict. And those residing in Salem began to grow suspicious of one another when some prospered and others hadn’t (Marcus, p13).
While most people are familiar with the notorious Salem Witch Trials in 1692, many people are unaware that similar events were taking place in other parts of New England in the very same year. The book, Escaping Salem: The Other Witch Hunt of 1692, takes readers through an intriguing narrative of a young girl with claims of being bewitched. Although I was concerned at first about the book being in a narrative style, the author was very concise and used actual evidence from the trial to tell an accurate and interesting story.
The Salem witch trials are a huge part of America's history regardless of whether because of it being an embarrassment or triumph. After reading the novel "The Devil in Massachusetts" by Marion L. Starkey it is evident she is trying to display this in her version of the trials. While it is true to historical documentation Starkey's version seems to be an attempt at an `easy read' for those wishing to learn about a detailed listing of events. I enjoyed the attempt at which she took to make historical facts more appealing and interesting to those who may find it dry. While the objective is supposed to be a more interesting way for those to learn about history, her vocabulary, grammar and sentence structure can often at times be confusing and cause there to be a break in the flow of the sequence of events.
Aronson, Marc. Witch-hunt: Mysteries of the Salem Witch Trials. New York: Atheneum for Young Readers, 2003. Print.