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Publisher's Summary

During the bleak winter of 1692 in the rigid Puritan community of Salem Village, Massachusetts, a group of young girls began experiencing violent fits, allegedly tormented by Satan and the witches who worshipped him. From the girls' initial denouncing of an Indian slave, the accusations soon multiplied. In less than two years, 19 men and women were hanged, one was pressed to death, and over a100 others were imprisoned and impoverished.

This evenhanded and now-classic history illuminates the horrifying episode with visceral clarity, from the opportunistic Putnam clan, who fanned the crisis to satisfy personal vendettas and greed, to four-year-old "witch" Dorcas Good, who was chained to a dank prison wall in darkness till she went mad. By placing the distant period of the Salem witch trials in the larger context of more contemporary eruptions of mass hysteria and intolerance, the author has created a work as thought-provoking as it is emotionally powerful.

©1995 Frances Hill (P)2014 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Hill reminds us that 'witch-hunts are still with us'." ( Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Interesting listen

Listened to this after watching The Witch. Recommended if you're interested in Salem witch trials.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

A new take on the Witch Trials

Would you listen to A Delusion of Satan again? Why?

Absolutely. In fact, I have had to listen to parts more closely a second time since I was driving while listening and needed to pay more attention.

What did you like best about this story?

I really enjoyed the different lens that Ms. Hill looks through to see the Witch Trials. Instead of looking at the more salacious details or the religious aspect, Ms Hill looks at the Witch Trials through the political and sociological values and events at the time. Ms. Hill is an historian, and her attention to detail comes through. I was fascinated throughout.

Which scene was your favorite?

I particularly enjoyed the wry descriptions of the girl's behavior during the trials.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Don't blame the Devil, Blame the Putnams

Any additional comments?

The narrator was wonderful, articulating clearly and at a good pace.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

very well done

having been a student by virtue of my family history of this period of time this was a wonderful and unbiased account of the witch hysteria of Massachusetts. I loved our and well recommend our top anyone who wants to know the real story of Salem of 1692.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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An Okay Read

This book was written well. The only thing that was hard to follow was all the names within the story. If you do have an interest in the Salem Trials, I would recommend this book.

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Certainly not a scholarly review

Would you try another book from Frances Hill and/or Wanda McCaddon?

Ms McCaddon is wonderful at reading the material. I would very much enjoy listening to her again..

Would you be willing to try another book from Frances Hill? Why or why not?

I don't think I would be interested in reading something else by Francis Hill. Despite being described as a scholarly work, the material does not live up to that standard. The perhaps greatest weakness is the attempt to wrap everything up in a pop psychology framework. Hill relies upon outdated psychoanalytic concepts to explain various events. Other than to name a few sources, such as Freud, she fails to provide evidence in the narrative to support her claims. Her lack of familiarity with the psychological or psychoanalytic literature is most evident in her discussions of anorexia.Beyond the psychological aspect, Hill fails to remain objective and rely upon a base of evidence. Repeatedly, the reader is subjected to descriptions of motives, thoughts or attitudes that can in no way be supported. Furthermore, Hill frequently describes people or actions using emotional or biased terms rather than simply presenting the facts.Because of these issues, I quickly grew concerned about the accuracy of any of the material presented. If the author is not objective, does not or cannot provide evidence to support ideas, and fails to become familiar with current research in the area upon which she is offering comment, it is difficult to accept the overall work.

Did A Delusion of Satan inspire you to do anything?

Yes. It inspired me to search for a better book on the topic.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Stephenodonnell
  • 05-09-15

Riveting

The why combined with the how of Salem. I could not put it down - being immersed in the treachery of small town life, the squabbles and revenge.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful