THE SALEM WITCHCRAFT TRIALS by Karen Zeinert

THE SALEM WITCHCRAFT TRIALS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Somewhat briefer than Shirley Jackson's Witchcraft of Salem Village (1956), this is a workmanlike reprise of the same information on the infamous accusations and executions in Massachusetts in 1692. Zeinert sets the scene with historical background on the persecution of witches in the preceding centuries in Europe and America, though she gives only a hint of its horrifying extent. Her account of the events in Salem is straightforward and by and large accurate, but there is at least one error: George Jacobs was pressed, not hanged. A concluding chapter discusses possible reasons for the accusing girls' behavior, including a map that shows that accusers and accused lived in different areas of town that also correlated with social and economic divisions and longstanding animosities; the recent theory that the girls' diet was a factor is not mentioned. Illustrations are dramatic and well reproduced; most are credited only to the archives holding them, so may be supposed to represent a hodgepodge of different centuries' visions of the events pictured. Direct quotes are footnoted. Not particularly insightful, but acceptable. Bibliography; index.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1989
Page count: 96pp
Publisher: Watts