The Story of the Salem Witch Trials  book cover
2nd Edition

The Story of the Salem Witch Trials

ISBN 9780205690299
Published February 23, 2009 by Routledge
288 Pages

USD $110.00

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Book Description

Between June 10 and September 22, 1692, nineteen people were hanged for practicing witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts. One person was pressed to death, and over 150 others were jailed, where still others died. The Story of the Salem Witch Trials is a history of that event. It provides a much needed synthesis of the most recent scholarship on the subject, places the trials into the context of the Great European Witch-Hunt, and relates the events of 1692 to witch-hunting throughout seventeenth century New England.

This complex and difficult subject is covered in a uniquely accessible manner that captures all the drama that surrounded the Salem witch trials. From beginning to end, the reader is carried along by the author’s powerful narration and mastery of the subject. While covering the subject in impressive detail, Bryan Le Beau maintains a broad perspective on events, and wherever possible, lets the historical characters speak for themselves. Le Beau highlights the decisions made by individuals responsible for the trials that helped turn what might have been a minor event into a crisis that has held the imagination of students of American history.

Table of Contents

1. "A Biography of a Terrible, but Perfectly Normal Superstition"

The Origins of European Witchcraft

The Development of European Witchcraft

The Great European Witch-hunt

A Summary View of Witch-hunts in England

2. "Having Familiarity with the Devil"

Witch-hunts in Seventeenth Century America

Witch-hunts in Seventeenth Century New England

Some Notable Witch Trials in Seventeenth-Century New England

The Pattern of Witch-hunt Activity in Seventeenth-Century New England

3. "The Evil Hand" is upon Them

A Glimpse at Salem's Past

The First Signs of the Devil

The Hearings Begin

4. "Is Not this a Brand Plucked from the Burning?"

The Cases of Martha and Giles Corey and Dorcas Good

Deodate Lawson's Lecture Day Sermon

Sarah Cloyce is Charged

Mary Easty is Summoned

The Pace Quickens

5. "If They are Let Alone, We Should All be Devils and Witches"

The Cases of Elizabeth and John Proctor

Mary Warren Tries to Recant

Bridget Bishop and Abigail Hobbs Are Charged

Seven of the Nine Are Formally Charged
The Ordeal Begins for Mary and Philip English

The "Black Minister" is Apprehended

Dorcas Hoar is Jailed

6. "God Will Deliver Us Out of the Hands of Unmerciful Men"

The Case of George Jacobs Sr.

John Willard Changes Sides

Daniel Andrew Is Charged

The Carys Escape

John Alen is Arrested

The Andover Witch-hunt

7. "God Will Give You Blood to Drink"

The Court of Oyer and Terminer Is Established

Bridget Bishop is Tried

The Court Completes Its First Session

The First Mass Execution and Its Effects

8. "What a Sad Thing it is to See Eight Firebrands of Hell Hanging There"

The Case of George Burroughs

The Proctors Are Condemned

The Cases of George Jacobs Sr., John Willard, and Martha Carrier

The Hangings of August 19

The Trials of September: The Cases of Martha Corey and Mary Easty

9. "It were Better that Ten Suspected Witches Should Escape, than that One Innocent Person Should be Condemned"

Voices are Raised in Opposition to the Trials

Phips Dismisses the Court of Oyer and Terminer

The Jails Are Emptied

The Superior Court of Judicature

The Magistrates and the Court of Oyer and Terminer, Guilty As Charged?

10. "Ruined in the Mistaken Mismanagement of the Terrible Affair Called Witchcraft"

Cotton Mather and His "Wonders of the Invisible World"

Salem in Ruins

The Repenting Begins

Settling Up

A Select Bibliography.

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Bryan Le Beau is Professor of History and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College at the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, Kansas. He holds a Ph.D. from New York University and has published several books on various topics in American history, including this second edition of The Story of the Salem Witch Trials.