Review: The Penguin Book of Witches

Title: The Penguin Book of Witches
Author: Edited by Katherine Howe
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Published: September 30, 2014
Paperback, 320 pages
ISBN: 978-0-14-310618-0
Genre: Nonfiction
Source: Publisher

Goodreads Summary:
Chilling real-life accounts of witches, from medieval Europe through colonial America

From a manual for witch hunters written by King James himself in 1597, to court documents from the Salem witch trials of 1692, to newspaper coverage of a woman stoned to death on the streets of Philadelphia while the Continental Congress met, The Penguin Book of Witches is a treasury of historical accounts of accused witches that sheds light on the reality behind the legends. Bringing to life stories like that of Eunice Cole, tried for attacking a teenage girl with a rock and buried with a stake through her heart; Jane Jacobs, a Bostonian so often accused of witchcraft that she took her tormentors to court on charges of slander; and Increase Mather, an exorcism-performing minister famed for his knowledge of witches, this volume provides a unique tour through the darkest history of English and North American witchcraft, never failing to horrify, intrigue, and delight.

My Thoughts:
A few days ago, I pulled asparagus out of our refrigerator to find that it had turned. When my husband commented on it, I said that I thought the cashier at the grocery store was a witch and had cursed it. He replied that I was wrong, and in turn I replied that he was obviously under the witch's thrall. Of course, I was joking. The cashier was a very nice lady, and the reason our asparagus had turned was because we had let it sit too long in the fridge. However, there was a time in our history when this might have been taken seriously. That witchcraft was viewed very differently than it is today.

The Penguin Book of Witches edited by Katherine Howe takes a look at the witch trials that took place in the 1700-1800's. Howe has gone into the archives of court cases where innocents were accused of Witchcraft. Some of the accused admit to actually being witches while others were innocents. It reminds me how easily some can be lead astray by manipulative people hell bent on revenge for a petty reason.

This book provides some very interesting and entertaining reading. I think this book will appeal to anybody who is fascinated by history. It's a little academic, but not so much so that it's like reading a textbook. I found myself absorbed in this book while I was reading it. It's a great peek into the past.

My rating: