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Witchcraft: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Witchcraft: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
by Malcolm Gaskill
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.39

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling read, 6 Dec 2011
Malcolm Gaskill is arguably the world's leading academic authority on English witchcraft, but don't let that put you off: he is also one of the best writers and storytellers in his field. Within a loose chronological structure, Gaskill explores here both the history of witchcraft and the history of its study and interpretation.

For Gaskill, the study of witchcraft offers a way in to the past: the history of witchcraft teaches us about the growth of the state, the development of the legal system, and the history of gender constructs, for example.

Only by studying witchcraft in its multiple contexts, Gaskill argues, can we begin to enter and better-understand the world of our ancestors and why they believed and felt the way they did. Ultimately, however, as he explains at the end of this book in a passage of stunning prose, it is only by understanding and accepting our own immutable humanity that we can we really begin to understand why anyone, past or present, believes anything at all.

"To be human is to feel emotion: to compete, loathe, destroy and fantasize...we all fear the future, scorn opponents, and dream of success, and these are the basic ingredients of witchcraft."

The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
by William Doyle
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very well constructed, easy to read., 21 Sep 2003
Few events in history have been so raked over and analysed as the French revolution. The material regarding the latter is often, at times, frenetic and confusing and it is for this reason Doyle's short introduction, not only to the event itself, but the historiography of the event, is so refreshing and extremely instructive and explanitory. Doyle provides a clearly written, comprehensive narrative to the entire affair, whilst delving at times, into the historiographical debates which have, over the years, become part of the history of the revolution itself. Make this your starting point before getting into to Furet and the rest.

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