A New York Times Bestseller
Longlisted for the Carnegie Medal for Literature
A 2015 Amazon Best Books of the Year Selection for History
A Publishers Weekly Pick for Most Anticipated Books of Fall
A BookPage Best Book of 2015
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Cleopatra, the #1 national bestseller, unpacks the mystery of the Salem Witch Trials.
It began in 1692, over an exceptionally raw Massachusetts winter, when a minister’s daughter began to scream and convulse. It ended less than a year later, but not before nineteen men and women had been hanged and an eighty-year-old man crushed to death.
The panic spread quickly, involving the most educated men and prominent politicians in the colony. Neighbors accused neighbors, parents and children each other. Aside from suffrage, the Salem Witch Trials represent the only moment when women played the central role in American history. In curious ways, the trials would shape the future republic.
As psychologically thrilling as it is historically seminal, The Witches is Stacy Schiff’s account of this fantastical story—the first great American mystery unveiled fully for the first time by one of our most acclaimed historians.
“This brilliant, compelling book…is dramatic history and also a timeless thriller.”
Robert K. Massie, Pulitzer Prize-winning author
“An indelibly etched morality fable, the best recounting of the Salem hysteria in modern times.”
Megan Marshall, Pulitzer Prize–winning author
“Few writers combine as she does superb scholarship and an exceptional gift for language with amazing reach and agility of mind. This is a superb book.”
David McCullough, Pulitzer Prize–winning author
“Riveting nonfiction…Schiff is a masterful researcher, and the fact that she is able to conjure this world vividly enough to induce goose bumps is impressive.”
“The Witches brings a fresh eye to the worst misogynist atrocity in American history.”
“Recreates the most chill-inducing, finger-pointing months in American history.”
“Schiff’s account is better written than any I have encountered…[A] brilliantly assured narrative.”
“Compulsively readable…A fascinating account of one of the most infamous years in American history.”
Booklist (starred review)
“[Schiff’s] fascinating new book is an almost day-by-day chronology of the nine months of accusations, trials, and executions that continue to fascinate and perplex us. Offering both meticulous research and intriguing analysis.”
“Schiff’s books are based on serious scholarly research, yet they’re conveyed in bright, accessible prose.”
“Author Schiff seeks to portray the historical figures involved in the Salem witch trials as the real people they were. Narrator Eliza Foss makes them come alive for the listener. Foss resists the urge to cackle or to sound incredulous during this objective examination of the so-called witches. While her voice suits the tone of the work, her reading is not dry. She modulates her intonations nicely, making listening easier on the ear and saving the long passages of historical and religious background from becoming tedious.”
“Stacy Schiff has beautifully combined remarkable story telling with historical accuracy and insight. She has opened up important new avenues for Salem scholarship.”
Bernard Rosenthal, editor of Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt
Eliza Foss is an actress who has appeared in numerous theaters in New York City and around the country. She has narrated over thirty books and short stories, been featured in AudioFile magazine, and won five AudioFile Earphones Awards for her narrations.
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- Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
- Genre: Nonfiction/History
- ISBN-13: 9781478913214