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Publisher's Summary

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Cleopatra, the number-one national best seller, unpacks the mystery of the Salem Witch Trials.

It began in 1692, over an exceptionally raw Massachusetts winter, when a minister's daughter began to scream and convulse. It ended less than a year later, but not before 19 men and women had been hanged and an elderly man crushed to death.

The panic spread quickly, involving the most educated men and prominent politicians in the colony. Neighbors accused neighbors, parents and children each other. Aside from suffrage, the Salem Witch Trials represent the only moment when women played the central role in American history. In curious ways, the trials would shape the future republic.

As psychologically thrilling as it is historically seminal, The Witches is Stacy Schiff's account of this fantastical story - the first great American mystery unveiled fully for the first time by one of our most acclaimed historians.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2015 Stacy Schiff (P)2015 Hachette Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Really annoying narration

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Eliza Foss's reading makes me feel like I'm at a kindergarten story hour. I'm 3 hours in and just hating it.

26 of 28 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Wordy

Enjoyed the book but I thought it was incredibly wordy. The reader had a tone in her voice that I didn't like. She sounded sarcastic or bratty.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The Witches by Stacy Schiff

I think I would like this book, but I do not like the audiobook. The reading should have been more straightforward. It sounds too cutesy, like everything is an inside joke, not like a a non-fiction book at all. I won't finish listening to it, as I don't want the audiobook to ruin the book for me. I will read it myself.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellently Detailed!

This dark time in U.S. history has always been of interest to me. The author, and narrator, have the unique ability of bringing the past to life, in this extraordinary novel!

I do love the details, however, which may seem a nuisance to others. The whole story is in the details.

I was emotionally wrecked and angered by the people too afraid to stop the madness, and absolutely full of hatred for those who manipulated the situation. Every side of humanity was brought to light, and I was hooked the entire time.

The narrative was superb, as was the novel. I definitely recommend to lovers of this particular subject, and those looking for an in-depth historical novel.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Wit and Witches

Being in the field of history (especially in my field of art history) can mean a endless parade of wooden and tedious books, papers, and essays. It is a true talent to make history exciting. Stacy Schiff has that precise talent. Her book, Witches, is replete with not only horror at the events, but also a sense of wit and humor amongst the gravitas of the situation. She returns to the witch trials of Salem both their cultural magic and their realism, a balance that's hard to conjure when so many others have failed at such a task. Her footnotes brilliantly elucidate the text further and create comparisons to our culture through interjections of contemporary statements and cultural ideas. All of this, while making Puritan writing exceptionally readable and enjoyable. Again, an magnificent talent at work to transform the often frustratingly obtuse words of Puritans into high drama.

Sometimes history must take a side, and Schiff does that. Though we are not sure which side she's on. She does not indulge the court or the people of Salem in their mischief. What she brilliant does do is disallows these predispositions to interfere with the truth and she grants at least understanding to those individuals.

If you love a good dose of sarcasm, well written history, and a fascinating story, this book is worthy of a listen. It reveals many mysteries and ideas, and also revels in the story's own absurdity. Also a shout out is owed to the narrator whose inflections and tonal shifts were absolutely masterful.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fantastic

Would you listen to The Witches again? Why?

Yes.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, I needed time to ponder parts of it.

Any additional comments?

I liked this audio book a lot. So much so that I bought the printed version for my mother for Christmas. I bought this audio to further my research on my 9th great-grandmother, Rebecca Nurse. I learned a few things but for the most part it went along with everything I already knew about her and her sisters-Mary Esty and Sarah Cloyce.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Such an interesting story

The narrator did this book a great service. I very much enjoyed listening to it. It would have been great to have a "cast of characters " list to reference during the reading.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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The narrator is ruining this book

Any additional comments?

I am just an hour and a half into this book and am not sure I can continue. The narrator sounds as if she is reading for a part in a high school play. It is so distracting I am having difficulty listening to what is happening in the book.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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Enjoyed

narrator was great. excellent historic detective work. enjoyed immensely. highly recommend to anyone who has the slightest interest in this subject.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great for a rainny fall weekend, sooo long

If you could sum up The Witches in three words, what would they be?

I loved the first 3 hours of the book, and then it just gets repetitive, long and hard to pay attention too. Just alot of finger pointing, and he said she said. Overwhelming really. I had to give up on it. Maybe I'll try it again later. Hate to abandon it though.

Which character – as performed by Eliza Foss – was your favorite?

She did a great job, illuminated the character, brought magic to the roll.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful