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Spellbound: Inside West Africa's Witch Camps
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Spellbound: Inside West Africa's Witch Camps

3.15 of 5 stars 3.15  ·  rating details  ·  34 ratings  ·  11 reviews
As I attempted to digest stories of spiritual cannibalism, of curses that could cost a student her eyesight or ignite the pages of the books she read, I knew I was not alone in my skepticism. And yet, when I caught sight of the waving arms of an industrious scarecrow, the hair on the back of my neck would stand on end. It was most palpable at night, this creepy feeling, wh ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published October 26th 2010 by Free Press (first published October 7th 2010)
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Sandy D.
This journalist's account of witchcraft accusations and refugee camps for the accused in northern Ghana started out very strongly, but flagged a bit in the middle. It needed more focus on a few individuals, I think, to make a more engaging story.

The more you learn, the more depressing the subject is, too - it's all tied into poverty, traditional religion, and women's social roles.

I would be interested in knowing how this problem is handled elsewhere in Africa as compared to Ghana. Palmer did do
Sep 20, 2012 Karen added it  ·  (Review from the author)
I loved it. Of course, I lived it... so I would love it.
George Ilsley
Spellbound is a somewhat ironic title for a book which is, ultimately, not that interesting. The author has spent some time in the area and I suppose felt she needed to get a book out of that experience. However, the topic seems to have eluded her; and in its place we have a mish-mash of history, sociology and personal anecdotes. Not until page 200 do we actually meet a self-professed practitioner of witchcraft -- who is of course male. Basically, men can do whatever they want and women are vuln ...more
I found this book okay. She tried to write a balanced perspective, but as someone who lived for two years in Northern Ghana, I think she missed a lot. (I was within one day biking distance of Gambaga but lived with a different tribe). It felt to me as if she was looking for a story and then wrote about it. There was much that she wrote that did not ring true. I'd be interested in what other people who have knowledge of Northern Ghana thought.
This book examines the lives of African women cast out of their villages after they were accused of witchcraft. I had no idea this was happening in the world. However, it felt unfocused and a little exploitative.
I seldom read non-fiction but I found this book very interesting. It talks about the cultural reasons why the belief in witchcraft is very difficult to overcome as well as the plight of the women in the witchcamps
Karen Palmer does a very decent job of investigating these Ghanaian witch camps, in trying to understanding the cultural underpinnings and give a balanced view of them. Very interesting albeit depressing book.
This was an interesting subject but one of the few books that I had to work to get through...the writing was repetetive and needed fleshed out a bit more.
Joss Valen
The author has a white savior complex soaked in skepticism and there is heavy exoticism of Africa.
Although it's an interesting subject, this should have been an article not a whole book.
Mills College Library
133.43096 P1748 2010
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