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  • John Murray
  • John Murray

Witchfinders

Malcolm Gaskill

8 Reviews

Rated 0

Prose: non-fiction, General & world history, British & Irish history

'The most chilling witch-hunt in English history ... fascinating' Independent on Sunday

By the spring of 1645, civil war had exacted a terrible toll upon England. Disease was rife, apocalyptic omens appeared in the skies, and idolators detected in every shire. In a remote corner of Essex, two obscure gentlemen began interrogating women suspected of witchcraft, triggering the most brutal witch-hunt in English history.
Witchfinders is a spellbinding study of how Matthew Hopkins, 'the Witchfinder General', and John Stearne extended their campaign across East Anglia, driven by godly zeal. Exploiting the anxiety and lawlessness of the times, and cheered on by ordinary folk, they extracted confessions of satanic pacts resulting in scores of executions.

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Praise for Witchfinders

  • Gives the ordinary reader a visceral sense of mid-seventeenth-century England ... satisfyingly complex - Selina O'Grady, Literary Review

  • Very highly recommended - The Cauldron

  • an 'evocative travelogue...setpieces of rich description' - TLS

  • Gaskill has become an expert on the Great British witch-hunt ... a completely readable non-fiction book on a gripping subject.' - Suffolk Journal, Norfolk Journal, The Essex Magazi

  • The incessant peculiarity of the accusations could easily make the stories told in this book seem quaint rather than horrific. But Gaskill avoids this trap by describing each case in a vivid manner, making one aware at all times of the human tragedy. His description of a hanging, for instance could leave no reader unmoved - Craig Brown, Book of the Week, Mail on Sunday

  • It is a riveting subject, engagingly told, and worth a read. - Catholic Herald

  • The book is a timely warning for those who think that witch trials are a matter of history. - The Times

  • This is a terrible tale marvellously told ... This is how history should be known. - the oldie

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Malcolm Gaskill

Malcolm Gaskill was born in Suffolk but grew up in Kent. He attended Cambridge University where he read History. He completed a PhD on early modern England, then taught at Keele, Belfast and APU, before becoming Director of Studies in History at Churchill College, Cambridge, in 1999.

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