The Salem Witch Hunt
First Edition   ©2011

The Salem Witch Hunt

A Brief History with Documents

Richard Godbeer (University of Miami)

  • ISBN-10: 0-312-48455-0; ISBN-13: 978-0-312-48455-2; Format: Paper Text, 224 pages
The Salem witch trials stand as one of the infamous moments in colonial American history. More than 150 people -- primarily women -- from 24 communities were charged with witchcraft; 19 were hanged and others died in prison. In his introduction to this compact yet comprehensive volume, Richard Godbeer explores the beliefs, fears, and historical context that fueled the witch panic of 1692. The documents in this collection illuminate how the Puritans' worldview led them to seek a supernatural explanation for the problems vexing their community. Presented as case studies, the carefully chosen records from several specific trials offer a clear picture of the gender norms and social tensions that underlie the witchcraft accusations. The final documents cover recantations of confessions, the aftermath of the witch hunt, and statements of regret. A chronology of the witchcraft crisis, questions for consideration, and a selected bibliography round out the book's pedagogical support.
“This is a clear and thought-provoking introduction to the Salem witchcraft trials that will allow students to grapple with the events' complexities without losing sight of the human element, revealed in the documents in terms both poignant and unsettling.”
-- Erika Gasser, California State University, Sacramento