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The Salem Witch Trials


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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.


The Salem witch trials of 1692-1693 remain one of the enigmas of American history. How did the witchcraft hysteria come about? Did the imaginations of the townspeople run wild so that they viewed unneighborly acts as an evil threat promulgated by Satan's minions? Roach (In the Days of the Salem Witchcraft Trial) answers these and other questions in her monumental daily chronology of the trial years. She introduces her account with an exhaustive narrative history of the Salem community from 1661 to 1691. With workmanlike precision, she provides historical details-such as the conflicts between church congregations and ministers and the increasing frequency of Indian attacks-as she contends that the hysteria arose most likely from the political, religious and social turmoil of the time. Using newly available diaries, journals and letters, Roach then reconstructs, for the first time, daily life during the height of the witch trials as well as accounts of court proceedings, arrests and suspects' confessions. In an epilogue, Roach shows that, just a decade after the trials, preachers sought repentance for the injustices done and that the desire to right the wrongs of the trials lasted well into the 19th century. Roach's detailed reference book provides deep insights into the trial years by letting us listen to the voices of everyone involved. 35 b&w illus. and maps. (Oct.) Forecasts: Roach's book will provide a nice companion to Mary Beth Norton's In the Devil's Snare (Forecasts, July 1), also being released in October; booksellers who display them together may see increased sales. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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 *
Useful, rigorous and historiographically current reference work. -- Marc Aronson * Los Angeles Times *
Readers will come away with a much fuller pitcure of who lived in Salem and how they lived...This intriguing book offers an understanding of history that will be helpful to those studying colonial Massachusetts and of course, the notorious trials. * Booklist *
This book is a good reference for understanding why the accusations occured... -- Jodelle Greiner * Gainesville Daily Register *

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