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Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New Englandby John Putnam Demos
Winner of the 1983 Bancroft Prize
Synopses & Reviews
"Not having the fear of God before thine eyes thou hast entertained familiarity with Satan, the Great enemy of God and mankind..."
In 1650 the town of Easthampton voted to bring this charge against one Elizabeth Garlick, who they said had "done works above the course of nature to the loss of lives of several persons (with several other sorceries), and in particular the wife of Arthur Howell..." What brought these charges down on poor Goody Garlick? Was her personal appearance or behavior unusual? Was she known to have a grudge against Elizabeth Howell? Was the town of Easthampton acting irrationally due to some interior stress? John Demos gives us a new perspective on witchcraft in this and over a hundred other such cases, creatively investigating the surviving historical documents for answers to these questions, and bringing out fascinating information on the role of witchcraft in early American culture.
"A book that will rank with the best, a book that shows how much we still may learn from these people....This is not simply a monograph on witchcraft but a major attempt to understand the kind of society and the kind of culture in which witchcraft had a place....Rich in insights." The New York Review of Books
"History in such capable hands becomes much more than a chronicle: it makes the past seem as vivid and dimensional, and every bit as compelling, as the present." Newsweek
"A remarkable piece of scholarship....Vividly illustrates what made certain individuals vulnerable to charges of witchcraft." The New York Times Book Review
About the Author
John Putnam Demos is Professor of History at Brandeis University. He is the author of many books and essays, including A Little Commonwealth: Family Life in Plymouth Colony.
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