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Entertaining Satan

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  151 ratings  ·  12 reviews

In the first edition of the Bancroft Prize-winning Entertaining Satan, John Putnam Demos presented an entirely new perspective on American witchcraft. By investigating the surviving historical documents of over a hundred actual witchcraft cases, he vividly recreated the world of New England during the witchcraft trials and brought to light fascinating information on the ro

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Published by Oxford University Press (first published October 28th 1982)
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Mark Bowles
A. Summary: This book examines 4 particular areas of Salem witchcraft (biology, psychology, sociology, and historical) to answer such questions as; Who were the witches? (biography) What did the victims believe? (psychology) Why was witchcraft so potent in New Englander’s life? (sociology) Why did witchcraft occur where and when it did? (history)
B. Biography: Who was the typical witch?
1. Female, middle aged (40-60), English Puritan, married but with few or no children, low social position
2. Freq
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Tommy
I liked it. An in depth look at the witchcraft culture endemic in New England at its founding. I was struck by how exhaustive the court records were for several of the witchcraft trials considering the frontier nature of these settlements and the litigious nature of Puritans that I was not aware of. I really enjoyed seeing the trends and conclusions the author drew from his compiling of the surviving court papers and town histories and how these fit into the larger witch scare movement winding d ...more
Lizzie
A detailed analysis of various factors surrounding witchcraft in the Colonies. If you were an older, childless woman who was often in conflict with your neighbors, you were more likely to be accused of witchcraft than others. If you were a young woman, being bewitched by a neighbor and subject to fits and other signs of demonic possession would bring you fame and recognition otherwise denied to those of your age and sex. If your town was involved in Indian wars and other strife, people were more ...more
Pj Reed martinez
I read this in high school many years ago, but it gives some interesting insight on the Salem Witch Trials and beliefs during that period of time.
Josie
Although the history narrated in this book is quite fascinating, it was impossible to get past the constant psychoanalysis of the people. There are other forms (and more accurate) of psychology and the use of Freud's outdated methods to identify with these figures makes this book one very difficult to read. I found myself constantly skipping entire pages looking for the historical accounts through all of the muck. If I had not been forced to read this for a class I would have out it down immedia ...more
Darcia Helle
Being a Massachusetts native, I have always been fascinated by the witch trials in Salem. This book covers the subject in amazing detail. The research is in-depth and the writing thoroughly entertaining.
Jean Louise
Apr 07, 2009 Jean Louise rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history/witchcraft enthusiasts
Demos left me with a new perspective on the witchcraft crisis. I'm not sure that his use of Freudian analysis is valid, however his exploration on the role of pyschology was very interesting.
Becky
This book contains a lot of information that is neatly organized and easy to follow. A good reference for those who need a basic look at the how's and why's of witchcraft trials in early New England.
Andrea Rexilius
I especially like the title of this book. It's as if I am preparing to have Satan over for dinner, or it may be a description of Satan as jester, etc.
Linda
Excellent resource for those interested in the whys and hows of the witch trials in early New England.
Marie
Too psyco-analytical for my taste, otherwise quite interesting.
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