Friday, September 25, 2015

From Fiction to History: 'The Heretic's Daughter'

Fiction: The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

 Sarah Carrier, the young daughter of Martha Carrier, feels constantly at odds with her little world, where work and life are hard but not always that long. But the trials of childhood are nothing compared to the brutality and danger that sweeps into Salem, Massachusetts as the hysteria over witchcraft takes hold of the small village. Sarah's mother is one of the first to be accused and imprisoned on the charges of witchcraft, and Sarah can do little to help her mother--or avoid suspicion herself. Kathleen Kent is a 10th generation descendant of Martha Carrier, which makes this fictional take from Sarah's point of view even more poignant.

History: The Salem Witch Trials, a Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege by Marilynne K. Roach

'The Salem Witch Trials' is an incredibly thorough look at the Salem Witch Trials through a day by day chronicle of Salem Village in 1692 and 1693. Each entry includes information about any important happenings in the village that day, known weather conditions, as well as other pertinent information designed to give the reader an inside look at Salem, its inhabitants, and the trials that made the village infamous. Marilynne K. Roach's book places the events in Salem in their chronological context, allowing readers to have a clearer view of what happened--and, in many cases, a clearer look at why it may have happened.

History: A Storm of Witchcraft, The Salem Witch Trials and the American Experience by Emerson W. Baker

In A Storm of Witchcraft, Emerson Baker argues that the Salem Witch Trials were the result of a "perfect storm" rather than one particular factor, such as the popular theories regarding ergot poisoning or hysteria influencing the girls of Salem to accuse others of witchcraft. A Storm of Witchcraft takes a look at the events in Salem--and the American colonies as a whole during this time period, which saw a general rise in accusations of witchcraft--through a broader political and historical context. Baker also explores how the trials have inspired an enduring legacy, despite early attempts by the Puritan government to suppress the trial from the public mind.

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