It’s no secret that I love reading books about witches and I’ve reviewed a fair few of them here on the blog (A Discovery of Witches, The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic, and others). When Penguin offered me a copy of the new Penguin Book of Witches edited by Katherine Howe, I jumped at the chance to review it!
The book is a collection of documents relating to witchcraft through the ages. It begins with essays and trial transcripts from England in the 1500s. As someone who has done a lot of reading about American witch trials, I found their English counterparts fascinating!
It can be hard in our modern age to understand how whole communities got swept up in the witchcraft frenzy, but this book sheds some light on the phenomenon. By tracing early trials through the later Salem confessions, The Penguin Book of Witches shows just how superstitious and scared the people who accused witches were of the unexplainable.
Though some parts are a bit dry (due mainly to the historical and legal nature of the documents) the Penguin Book of Witches is an excellent read for anyone who is interested in witchcraft, early law practices, or colonial America.