Saturday, September 08, 2007

Five best books with political trials

Bruce Watson, author of the recently published Sacco and Vanzetti: The Men, the Murders, and the Judgment of Mankind, selected a five best list of books with "riveting" political trials for Opinion Journal.

One title on the list:
Entertaining Satan by John Demos (Oxford, 1982)

Dozens of books have been written about the 1692 Salem Witch Trials, but in "Entertaining Satan" historian John Demos turned his lifelong fascination into the definitive study. As much psychology as history, Demos's book puts Puritans on the couch, analyzing the attitudes of accusers and victims and the collective conscious of Salem and other New England villages where witches were tried. The accused witches of Salem, he finds, were social misfits--maverick midwives, brazen women, men who dared to sue their neighbors. At a time when settlers lived on the murky border of an uncertain wilderness, the trials drew a bright line between black and white. Meticulously documented yet highly readable, "Entertaining Satan" brings alive the mother of all "witch hunts."
Read more about Watson's list.

--Marshal Zeringue