Escaping Salem: The Other Witch Hunt of 1692 (review)

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2008-04-01
Authors
Bailey, Michael
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Historians of witchcraft and of early America know the long shadow cast by the Salem witch hunt of 1692. They also know what distortions and [End Page 88] misperceptions that shadow can bring. The number of those accused of witchcraft in Salem, and the numbers executed for this crime, surpass the totals for the rest of New England across the entire seventeenth century. The trials were, therefore, an enormous abnormality. Yet precisely because they generated the majority of witchcraft cases in colonial America, and because Salem has attained such cachet in popular culture, the trials continue to attract an enormous amount of scholarly attention. One can count almost (not quite) on one hand the number of books dealing with New England witchcraft that have not focused exclusively on Salem (Godbeer's own earlier The Devil's Dominion being among them). So great is the marketing force of the name that even this book about a separate, far more contained, and far more typical witch trial contains "Salem" in its title.

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This is a book review from Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft 3 (2008): 88, doi:10.1353/mrw.0.0102. Posted with permission.

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