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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive look at witchcraft
In 'Witches and Neighbours', Robin Briggs provides a wider picture of witchcraft rather than just concentrating on the trials and persecution of supposed witches. He starts by looking at the definition of witchcraft, something that is not often approached in other books of this type.
From there, the book studies topics such as the gender issue. It is commonly...
Published on 12 Jun. 2005 by Ms. H. Sinton

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2.0 out of 5 stars Five star book, two star Kindle import
I found out about this book from a journal article Robin Briggs wrote, and his work is absolutely excellent. All of the four and five star reviews here about the book are absolutely true REGARDING THE CONTENT.

The problem is the quality of the Kindle Import. The font itself is extremely poor, possibly a scan of the original text. The specific issue is that the...
Published 17 months ago by Jon Kaneko-James


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive look at witchcraft, 12 Jun. 2005
By 
Ms. H. Sinton "dragondrums" (Ingleby Barwick. U.K.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Witches and Neighbours 2e: The Social and Cultural Context of European Witchcraft (Paperback)
In 'Witches and Neighbours', Robin Briggs provides a wider picture of witchcraft rather than just concentrating on the trials and persecution of supposed witches. He starts by looking at the definition of witchcraft, something that is not often approached in other books of this type.
From there, the book studies topics such as the gender issue. It is commonly assumed that witches are usually female but the author dispels that myth and provides statistical evidence showing 25% of accused or executed witches in Europe were in fact male. He goes on to discuss witchfinders and witch cures, the influence of enmity between neighbours/kin that could lead to false accusations and addresses the issue of mental illness, a topic that is often ignored in other studies of this subject. A well written conclusion pulls all this information together.
As would be expected from a book of this type, an extensive bibliography and list of further reading is included. Although this book can be a little heavy going at times, it is an invaluable sourcebook for undergraduates studying history and probably one of the best to be found on this subject.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The actual records of witch hunts speak, 1 Feb. 2008
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This review is from: Witches and Neighbours 2e: The Social and Cultural Context of European Witchcraft (Paperback)
Briggs gives one of the sanest, most carefully documented accounts to date of Europe's witch hunts. Tracing local records across many nations focuses the locale, duration, and scope of the main witch-hunting episodes. Briggs studies what kinds of people were accused of evil, how the whole notion of evil varied, and how the persecutions developed. The reliance on records of specific individuals brings the whole process to light in an understandable way -- in the course of interrogations one accusation led to the next. According to trial records in Lorraine, Georgeatte Didier threatened that if she was accused, "she would accuse others whether they were good women or not". Mengeotte Lausson said that if she was burned, she would denounce her husband's sister Toussaine as well. Chrestaille Wathot said if she was arrested, "I would accuse such important people of witchcraft that they would release me for the love of them". (p. 361) Yet nearby communities were unaffected, because the neighbours refrained from labeling each other as evil.

Such periodic storms of fear are all the more disturbing when we are introduced to the people involved.

--author of Correcting Jesus: 2000 Years of Changing the Story
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2.0 out of 5 stars Five star book, two star Kindle import, 28 Dec. 2013
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I found out about this book from a journal article Robin Briggs wrote, and his work is absolutely excellent. All of the four and five star reviews here about the book are absolutely true REGARDING THE CONTENT.

The problem is the quality of the Kindle Import. The font itself is extremely poor, possibly a scan of the original text. The specific issue is that the letters themselves are fuzzy and not fully displayed, which means that no matter how large you set the print to display it's a chore to read long passages (which is a problem seeing as I need this book for work and have to read it at a decent pace.)

Other issues with the quality of the typography include that their lazy importing means not one of the superscript numbers for the end notes have displayed properly, sometimes creating oversized line breaks where a number has appeared in the gap between lines, other times interrupting words (in the wrong place, making it even harder to track footnotes when you need to use them) and god forbid that the author should have the audacity to take his footnotes into double figures, which gives them a complete nervous breakdown.

Even that is nothing compared to the fairly regular phenomenon of the OCR process just inserting the wrong word (and I do mean wrong word, not a wacky Medieval or Early Modern spelling, there are sections where they've printed the word 'han' instead of 'said')meaning that you have to guess what the author meant half the time.

In short, the current version of the Kindle file for this one isn't worth the money. The publisher might well be able to update it and release a better one, but I'd advise anyone who wanted a copy of this superb book to buy the paperback version, or to download a sample just to see if the publisher has sorted out the problems yet.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on the history of witchcraft there is., 30 Oct. 2003
By 
L O'connor (richmond, surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Witches and Neighbours 2e: The Social and Cultural Context of European Witchcraft (Paperback)
This utterly enthralling book gives the most clear and lucid account of the history of witchcraft. It shows how erroneous are many of the current beliefs about witchcraft, like for instance the common belief that only women were persecuted as witches (overall, about 20% were men). Also the numbers of people put to death have been wildly exaggerated, soemtimes given as several million, whereas Briggs clearly shows that the most likey number was about 40,000. Far from being a case of women being terrorised by male accusers, it seems that most of the accusers in withccraft cases were actually women themselves. This book is packed with fascinating information, and is gripping from beginning to end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for history students, 4 Oct. 2003
By A Customer
If you are a degree level student studying witchcraft and society this book is a must have. It is fluidly written and quotable for essays. It looks at many different aspects of accusations and does not concentrate on just women.
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