Posted in Book Reviews

The Witches: Salem 1692 by Stacy Schiff

My edition: Library book ISBN: 9780316200608

Pages: 417

Series: No Stand Alone

Rating: 3.5 sorcery stars

Review: A witch is one who can do or seems to do strange things, beyond the known power of art and ordinary nature, by virtue of a confederacy with evil spirits.

Ah. The Salem Witch Trials, a very horrific time in American history. Fourteen women, five men and two dogs were executed for witchcraft. When I first read that all I could think of is what in the hell did the dogs ever do to you??? I learned some new things that I didn’t know before and had to look up to make sure they were true. Dorcas (Dorothy) Good was the youngest at age 5. Five!!! These people were nuts.

I’ve always been kind of a history nut. I have this strange fascination with the what a human could do and the how it has effected history. My favorite two subjects are History and Psychology. I love that I am still learning new facts every day. My main love with psychology is that we never know what a human being is really capable of doing. I mean look at WWII or as this book is about the Salem Witch Trials. Why am I telling you this? Because this book had these two subjects collide.


It’s strange how this all started with just two well mannered girls suddenly throwing fits. How this escalated was amazing and incredibly terrifying. This went on for a period of nine months. At the end innocent lives had been taken. An old man was crushed to death and the rest were hung. None had been burned at the stake.

The writing I have to say blew me away. There were points that I thought the author seemed to babble on but the writing was superb. I understand why she babbled on. I mean she had to give backstory to certain things but I just found myself only wanting to know what was going on during the trials and hearings. An example of this is her talking of how the children grew up always being told to prepare for the end of times, or the death of a parent. The way Schiff seemed to word a fact sounded better than most.

Ex: Instead of just saying that the Salem Witch Trials is studied many times through American History she put “It crackles,flickers, and jolts its way through American History and literature.”

There were also few pictures put in with facts under them. (Inner child happy dance)

One of the best items I read in this book was a foot note on page 123. It quoted our beloved J.K. Rowling.

It seemed as if Schiff went through all three acts of the Witch Trials. The beginning which started with the girls throwing the fits and the start of the hearings. The second act of which came trials and executions and then finally the aftermath of what had happened.

The evidence that was amounted against these “witches” is just remarkable and incredibly stupid.

Ex: One “witch”, Martha Carrier, had been accused of being a witch for forty years. The fact was she was 38 didn’t come up.

Another amazing fact was none of the confessed witches were hung. Only those who said they were innocent and did not confess.

If you’re doing a history report on Salem, I recommend this. If you are like me and a history nut, I recommend this. If you don’t like narratives throughout history and don’t like to read about said history, I don’t recommend this.

Not what the book is about but I find it ironic that Puritans left England to get away from religious prosecution and be free to worship God in their own way but look highly down on the Quakers. Reason I mention this is because a few times it was noted the Puritans thought very unlikely of the Quakers.

On another note, page 284 a question was asked. “If you could save your life by admitting that you flew through the air on a pole, wouldn’t you?”

My answer to that question: No. Why would I confess to a crime I am not guilty of committing? Even if I were to die I know I would die an innocent woman. Points I would use to help my case. Tell the truth and shame the Devil. I am telling the truth. If they still to see me as a witch then they would. At the pearly gates it wouldn’t be a sin I was judged for.




Lover of books and movies. Goodreads reviewer. Animal lover. I write my honest opinion on here. I don't lie about my look on a book. I'm not mean and tearing a book or the author down. I'm completely honest.

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