The sad story of Salem

A review of Witches!: The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem by Rosalyn Schanzer

You can trust National Geographic to publish an account of the Salem witch trials that is as authentic and appealing as possible.  Rosalyn Schanzer tells the true story of how a couple of kids with some mysterious symptoms started a witch hunt that resulted in more than 20 deaths and untold heartache, stolen property and ruined lives.

This little book is crafted in a period design with black-white-and-red scratchboard illustrations that are decidedly creepy and the text incorporates quotations from the original trial transcripts.  The contrast between the white, representing innocence and the Puritans, and the black, representing evil and those bewitched by the devil, shows how religious beliefs and the mores of the time are influenced by fear, suspicion and lies.

Set up in ten short chapters, Witches! also includes illustrations and descriptions of "a few accused witches in order of appearance" and "some afflicted accusers and other witch hunters."  It's an excellent resource for reports and a riveting read for those interested in the topic.  The author's stop-motion animation video based on this book provides another glimpse into the sad story of Salem.

Comments

I recommend this book as a quick read about the Salem witch trials.

I agree, this is quick, concise read.  Everything is covered in ten chapters.

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