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A Storm of Witchcraft


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Table of Contents

Introduction: An Old Valuables Chest Chapter One: Satan's Storm Chapter Two: The City upon a Hill Chapter Three: Drawing Battle Lines in Salem Village Chapter Four: The Afflicted Chapter Five: The Accused Chapter Six: The Judges Chapter Seven: An Inextinguishable Flame Chapter Eight: Salem End Chapter Nine: Witch City?

About the Author

Emerson W. Baker is Professor of History at Salem State University. He is the author of The Devil of Great Island: Witchcraft and Conflict in Early New England, and co-author of an award-winning biography of Sir William Phips.


"This is a necessary book for all of those who seek to find a balanced way to approach the time period, as the scale on which it is written provides an insight not only into the trials themselves, but into the lives of the turbulent and diverse populations that inhabited the American colonies."--Jeff Senger, Nova Religio "His rock solid historical work and lively, engaging prose made this book both an indispensable contribution to scholarship and a delight to read. I suspect that this is the book on Salem witchcraft for this generation." --Scott D. Seay, Christian Theological Seminary "...[A] cogent, readable, and comprehensive analysis of the literature on the Salem witch trials.... His emphasis on the choices made by individuals - to take action or remain passive - makes this work a welcome addition to our attempts to understand the significance of the Salem events of 1692." --Journal of American History "Of many books about the Salem witch-trials, only a few really matter. This is one of them. Combining deep learning and clear-sighted good sense, A Storm of Witchcraft retells a story that has long managed to be familiar yet puzzling and misunderstood. Emerson Baker's masterly dissection of events is both genuinely original and utterly persuasive, not least because the importance of political circumstance, legal expediency and personal relationships seems obvious once it is pointed out. Baker reminds us that witchcraft was above all a religious crime, which took on terrifying significance at a time of extreme danger in New England's history. But his analysis of Salem's causal roots and painfully enduring ramifications does more than just demystify the trials: it illustrates universal truths about human emotions and their place in modern society." --Malcolm Gaskill, author of Witchfinders: a Seventeenth Century English Tragedy "Baker, professor of history at Salem State College, places the trials in the larger context of American and English history, examining not only their prominent place in our collective memory, but also what made them so different from other witch trials of the era. Baker convincingly demonstrates that the trials were a pivotal point in American history and presents the mass hysteria surrounding them in very poignant terms." --Publisher's Weekly "This extraordinarily researched, expertly written, and convincing study is suitable for and will appeal to a wide audience." --Library Journal "By almost any measure, Emerson W. Baker's new history, A Storm of Witchcraft, is a masterpiece. Few volumes pass the exacting standards needed to be described as such. Baker's does.... Anyone interested in the Salem witch trials and the shaping of the nation should treat themselves to this book." --Maine Sunday Telegram

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