The Devil in Massachusetts Book Review Essay

The Devil in Massachusetts Book Review Essay

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The Salem witch craft trials are the most learned about and notable of Europe's and North America's witch hunts. Its notoriety and fame comes from the horrendous amount of people that were not only involved, but killed in the witch hunt and that it took place in the late 1700's being one of the last of all witch hunts. The witch craft crises blew out of control for several reasons. Firstly, Salem town was facing hard economic times along with disease and famine making it plausible that the only explanation of the town's despoilment was because of witches and the devil. As well, with the stimulation of the idea of witch's from specific constituents of the town and adolescent boredom the idea of causing entertainment among the town was an ever intriguing way of passing time.

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.

The layout of the "The Devil in Massachusetts" appears to be in more of a narrative form, with the elements of a fictional story. This is evident throug...


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...onally transposing indirect to direct quotation, putting words into people mouths and blending two separate eye witness's accounts. How can one read a novel for knowledge gaining purposes when the structure appears so flawed? The use of modern and old English are combined in the sentence structure. The highly academic vocabulary not only is confusing, but breaks the flow of the book when that is the evident purpose for the format of the book. The confusing order in which Starkey retells events and the ineffective and useless information that is put in for building character personalities.

After some research, the book by Hoffer seems to be the more factual and streamlined approach at re-telling historic documents. While it was still an interesting read, Starkey's book takes on too many different approaches that do not seem to be straightforward to the reader.

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