Saturday, November 12, 2011

Next up.. Escaping Salem

So next on my reading list was... Escaping Salem: The Other Witch Hunt of 1692. I picked this one up out of curiosity when it kept turning up on my Connecticut history searches. Connecticut didn't have witch hunts, I thought. Turns out I was wrong.

In 1692, a seventeen year old girl in Stamford accused two neighbors of witchcraft. Escaping Salem follows her story from accusation to trial and beyond. The narrative is structured in snapshots: the initial events, the testing, the accusation, the trial, the acquittal and the aftermath. For anyone interested in witch trials, the story is fascinating.

As a genealogical history, it's less useful. You will learn a lot about the small community in Stamford involved in the trials. Author Richard Godbeer relies heavily upon transcripts and original narratives, meaning that you learn a lot about the story's players. However, the material could be summarized in one sentence: there was a witch trial in Stamford in 1692. Of course, that's not Godbeer's reason for writing.

Understand that, and you'll appreciate the time you spend reading.

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