Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Witch-Hunt (book review)

Witch-Hunt, by Marc Aronson, is the true story of the Salem Witch Trials, which actually began in Boston with the possession of the Goodwin children in 1688 and truly ended with a confession by Ann Putnam Jr. in 1706. During the trials, twenty-five innocent people, both adults and children, were killed (twenty were executed and five died in prison, including two infants). But what about the mysterious "afflicted" girls? What caused them to lead innocent women (and even a few men) to their deaths? According to Ann, the girls were used by the devil, forced to scream and moan even when their so-called "tormentors" were actually doing nothing. But was that what really happened at Salem? Scientists have a few different ideas, but you will have to dig deeper to truly discover all the secrets of the Witch Trials.

This book was an extremely fast read, filled with startling revelations and surprises. It reads like a novel, and at the end you will find that, while you were enjoying the book, you learned a lot, both about America's mysterious history and about the human conscience itself.

This is a substitution for the Nonfiction Five Challenge.