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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars10
3.2 out of 5 stars
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on 28 July 2011
I was looking for a book which would provide an introduction to this topic, of which I knew nothing beyond a dim memory of a production of Arthur Miller's play 'The Crucible' (about 50 years ago). So I needed, at least a narrative of the events, but preferably also a broader perspective of the historical context - Puritanism, American frontier life in the 17th century, government and society in Massachusetts, etc. Truth to tell, I guessed that it was wishing for the moon to expect all that in one, digestible, book. This book does however supply quite a lot of that, probably as much as can reasonably be expected in a single monograph. I felt confident too that the author has done her research thoroughly, for there is plenthy of evidence of that in the text. I read the earlier chapters closely, but it was hard work getting a wider view among the (necessary) mass of specific detail, and in later chapters I had to resort to speed-reading - skimming - so as not to get bogged down. That's not the author's fault - she set out to do her job thoroughly and she does that - but I think other readers may find it helpful to be aware that it is that kind of book, so as to get value from it and not be disappointed.
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on 16 September 2000
This is one of the most insightful and gripping histories of the American experience. It is also terribly moving as the horror of the witch trials unfolds. Ms Hill offers a multi-leveled view of the social and psychological pressures that result in one of the most wrenching injustices in the annals of law. This surely must and will be the definitive book on the subject.
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on 6 February 2005
This book is the best overall account of the Salem witch trials. It is accurate, clear, takes account of all the factors involved (such as the Indian Wars, disccused at tedious, forced length elsewhere) and is extremely readable. The poor reader reviews on this website seem to have been written by people with a hostile agenda. A far better selection of reviews - and a four star rating - can be found at amazon.com.
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on 15 April 2010
This book manages the near impossible, it is informative but entertaining to read. The author's style is very engaging and I particularly appreciate the way she clearly deliniates facts and assumptions (Unlike some others I have read). The author also gives points of view from others and allows the reader to make their own choice on what to believe, she clearly has no great ego, demanding that we believe her and her alone. I wanted to read the thing from cover to cover in one go but forced myself to slow down so I could take all the facts in. Anyone interested in finding out about this turbulent period of history should read this, it is a great book.
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on 18 December 2015
Anyone who likes the history if ideas will appreciate this discussion of an event that is a salient reminder that man sometimes demonstrates he is not very advanced from his primeval state and remains so.
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on 25 June 1998
This book would be ideal if for one reason or another you have to write a thesis on the witch trials. Hill describes most events as to the point where the reader no longer thinks of her as a succesful novelist, but rather a college professor who attempts to drill facts and ideas into your head in an insanely boring and tedious fashion. All too often, Hill's chapters open with a paragraph or two of what transpired in Salem, and then proceed to ramble on about what Freud would have thought of the girls antics, or what a modern psycho therapist would have offered as a diagnosis to their behaviors. If you want facts, philosophies, and more facts, and believe that perhaps one day you will be forced to take a comprehensive test on the Salem witch trials, then buy this book. However, if you have become interested in the witch trials because of intrigue, enigma, and lore, then this book will do nothing to further your enchantment or fascination.
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on 27 August 2014
To much legal jargon throughout the book making it difficult to read.
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on 31 October 2003
I'm amazed this is still in print - or that anyone would buy it. It's a pseudo-psychological attempt to investigate the Salem happenings and it is, without doubt, the worst of all the books I have on this subject. Spend your money elsewhere - Boyer and Nissenbaum are amongst the best authors even if their books are now a bit long in the tooth
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on 4 August 1999
Frances Hill presents a mildly entertaining but historically deficient analysis of the Salem witch scare of 1692. Focusing primarily on factional and familial conflict as the cause of the devastating craze, Hill neglects to give adequate attention to other, more plausible explanations.
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on 4 August 1999
Frances Hill presents a mildly entertaining but historically deficient analysis of the Salem witch scare of 1692. Focusing primarily on factional and familial conflict as the cause of the devastating craze, Hill neglects to give adequate attention to other, more plausible, explanations.
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