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Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Witches, Salem 1692 by Stacy Schiff (audio)


The Witches

The Witches, Salem 1692
by Stacy Schiff

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • ISBN-10: 0316200603
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316200608


    Unabridged, Audio CD
    read by Elia Foss
  • Hachette Audio
  • ISBN-10: 1611137152
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611137156

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Cleopatra, the #1 national bestseller, unpacks the mystery of the Salem Witch Trials.
I read Cleopatra and was completely absorbed from page one right through to the end.,. so needless to say, I couldn't wait to put on my headphones and be transported back to 1692 Salem. Many long hours of research went into this book. It is chock-full of facts and sadly reads that way. While the basic structures are built, they are not connected in any fashion. There's no way to emotionally connect, nor care about any of the people, because there's simply no information or storytelling that would allow you to do so. While the information may be historically accurate - the delivery is dry, disconnected and not at all entertaining. If you are only interested in facts this might work for you. But readers, even those of us who love historical non-fiction, expect the facts to be contained within a story that we can enjoy.


Schiff jumps between ideas, bombards the reader with facts, and the excessive wordiness seems only to extend the narrative. She makes a number of generalizations, which is always  risky. Anytime you put an entire group under one umbrella someone is going to be left out in the rain. For example, Schiff writes that women played a role in the Salem Witch Trials and then returned to their invisible status until the Prohibition era. Well, I can think of some ladies that were anything but invisible Harriett Beecher Stowe, Harriett Tubman, Susan B Anthony just off the top of my head.

For me, The Witches was a chore to get through and I can't, in good conscience recommend it. If you are looking for an entertaining historical novel there are better choices available.



Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff <Audio>
Stacy Schiff delivered a highly entertaining, very informative look at the Life of Cleopatra.

 The Haunting of America from Salem to Houdini
  I've read several books focusing on the Salem Witch Trials. This particular book was very good. The Haunting of America explores the influences of the paranormal on science & medicine, law, government & military, psychology & theology,
 death & spirituality, & even pop culture.

Happy Reading!

RJ  :-)     Let's network on Linkedin



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