Six Women of Salem is the first work to use the lives of a select number of representative women as a microcosm to illuminate the larger crisis of the Salem witch trials. By the end of the trials, beyond the twenty who were executed and the five who perished in prison, 207 individuals had been accused, 74 had been “afflicted,” 32 had officially accused their fellow neighbors, and 255 ordinary people had been inexorably drawn into that ruinous and murderous vortex, and this doesn’t include the religious, judicial, and governmental leaders. All this adds up to what the Rev. Cotton Mather called “a desolation of names.”
The individuals involved are too often reduced to stock characters and stereotypes when accuracy is sacrificed to indignation. And although the flood of names and detail in the history of an extraordinary event like the Salem witch trials can swamp the individual lives involved, individuals still deserve to be remembered and, in remembering specific lives, modern readers can benefit from such historical intimacy. By examining the lives of six specific women, Marilynne Roach shows readers what it was like to be present throughout this horrific time and how it was impossible to live through it unchanged.
Being a pagan myself, I have been fascinated with this area of history. Unfortunately, in school they only barely glossed over this period in the history of the US. My American History teacher (Mr. Purl) was more interested in the Vietnam era and Hanoi Jane as well as the various people that were on death row at the time.
So I didn’t get a really thorough lesson in what occurred except that is was a bad time in which many people became hysterical and falsely accused many people. Yea, that is how bad my education was on this event.
So I was glad to see this book being offered up for review. This book was a mixture of fact interspersed with just enough fictional narration (how the accused and accusers may have felt about what they were going through) to keep me interested.
I had read briefly about some of the tortures that they would people through previously. But to have everything put in this manner really made this period of horrifying history come to life.
Disclaimer: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any form of compensation.