Chilling real-life accounts of witches, from medieval Europe through colonial America, compiled by the New York Times bestselling author of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs
From a manual for witch hunters written by King James himself in 1597, to court documents from the Salem witch trials of 1692, to newspaper coverage of a woman stoned to death on the streets of Philadelphia while the Continental Congress met, The Penguin Book of Witches is a treasury of historical accounts of accused witches that sheds light on the reality behind the legends. Bringing to life stories like that of Eunice Cole, tried for attacking a teenage girl with a rock and buried with a stake through her heart; Jane Jacobs, a Bostonian so often accused of witchcraft that she took her tormentors to court on charges of slander; and Increase Mather, an exorcism-performing minister famed for his knowledge of witches, this volume provides a unique tour through the darkest history of English and North American witchcraft.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
About the Author
Katherine Howe (editor), the direct descendant of three accused Salem witches, is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs, and The House of Velvet andGlass, as well as the young adult novels Conversion and The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen. She lives with her family in New England and New York City.
New Atlantic Indie bestseller
“Haunting . . . Erudite, insightful, and resonant . . . There are unsettling, inescapable parallels to the recent police violence in Ferguson, Mo. . . . The Penguin Book of Witches . . . provides invaluable historical context, and makes fascinating reading about a past that all too well illuminates the present.” —NPR.org
“Katherine Howe’s new book recalls a time when witchcraft wasn’t just a crime, it was enough to get you killed.” —NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday
“A fascinating selection of historical accounts.” —The Washington Post
“People have never been as interested to hear about a book I was reading as they were when I spent a few weeks in October carrying around The Penguin Book of Witches. . . . Ben Franklin was alive and you could still be publicly stoned to death in Philly for being a witch. Crazy. This book is a good gift to give to single women you know.” —Caity Weaver, Gawker, “The Best Things We Read in 2014”
“I am just glad there is now, in this world, a book with the title The Penguin Book of Witches, because, really, how cool is that.” —John Scalzi, New York Times bestselling and Hugo Award–winning author
“Invaluable . . . A fine compendium.” —The Independent
“An excellent read . . . Fascinating and completely different from [other] books on witchcraft . . . A sobering look at what fear and instability can do to communities through the demonization of anyone thought of as different. You will close the book with a broader understanding of what we are capable of doing to each other.” —Nerdist
“A cornucopia of fascinating and often unsettling texts . . . Deftly curated and exhaustively annotated . . . [Along with] Howe’s engaging, thorough, and thoughtful annotations . . . the excerpts . . . are fascinating windows into early ideas about gender, class, and social roles.” —Refinery 29
“Fascinating and insightful. With her usual skill, Katherine Howe navigates the winding path leading to Salem’s hysteria and beyond. A must-read for anyone who wants to know not only what happened but also how and why.” —Brunonia Barry, New York Times bestselling author of The Lace Reader
“This comprehensive collection of carefully selected documents and published primary materials, coupled with judicious and informative introductions, will help modern readers understand the seemingly inexplicable and persistent popular phenomenon of belief in witchcraft from the seventeenth century into more modern times.” —Mary Beth Norton, author of In the Devil’s Snare
“An informative and engaging series of texts that Katherine Howe introduces in a crisp and well-informed manner. The chronological breadth is unusual, but it allows us to grasp more fully the continuities that mark the history of witch-hunting on both sides of the Atlantic.” —David D. Hall, Harvard Divinity School
“With insightful notations . . . this superbly edited and annotated work provides in-depth material for those interested in the origins of witchcraft persecution in America.” —Library Journal