A Pulitzer Prize-winning and bestselling historian explores one of the great mysteries of American history: the Salem witch trials
'An oppressive, forensic, psychological thriller: J.K. Rowling meets Antony Beevor, Stephen King and Marina Warner ... Schiff's writing is to die for' THE TIMES
It began in 1692, over an exceptionally raw Massachusetts winter, when a minister's niece started to scream and convulse. It ended less than a year later, but not before panic had infected the entire colony, nineteen men and women had been hanged, and a band of adolescent girls had brought Massachusetts to its knees.
Vividly capturing the dark, unsettled atmosphere of seventeenth-century America, Stacy Schiff's magisterial history draws us into this anxious time. She shows us how quickly the epidemic of accusations, trials, and executions span out of control. Above all, Schiff's astonishing research reveals details and complexity that few other historians have seen.
Stacy Schiff's The Witches deals with a horror we assume we know, but don't ... [Schiff] interrogates her sources, makes every detail count, and her style is intriguing - sharp-eyed, discriminating, crisp. You want to understand the subject, and you want to meet the historian - TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
Schiff writes movingly as well as wittily; this is a work of riveting storytelling as well as an authoritative history - THE OBSERVER
This brilliant, compelling book is the most meticulously researched, effectively constructed, and beautifully written work I have read in a very long time. It is dramatic history and also a timeless thriller ... astonishing
A riveting and chilling account ... Schiff's account of these terrors reads like a nerve-shredding psychological thriller - MAIL ON SUNDAY 'Best of 2015'
Once again Stacy Schiff dazzles us. THE WITCHES is a must read for anyone intrigued by this baffling and horrifying chapter from America's Puritan past. What Schiff uncovers is mesmerizing and shocking. Her meticulous research and lyrical writing lay bare an injustice that we should never forget - lest we repeat it - author of DEPRAVED HEART
Schiff is a biographer with a transcendent empathy and a sharp eye, a profoundly humane writer able to reanimate the dead, reprising their hopes and dreams, pieties and crimes ... The result is electrifying, an original contribution to our understanding of what happened and how. And in the best tradition of fairytales, picking at the subconscious, her story appeals not just because it allows us to spectate on the miseries of an unenlightened age, but because it deals with "unfulfilled wishes and unexpressed anxieties, rippling sexual undercurrents and raw terror" - universal things that we may suppress, yet which define who we are - BBC HISTORY MAGAZINE
Stacy Schiff is one of America's most acclaimed and popular historians. She is the author of VERA (MRS VLADIMIR NABOKOV), winner of the Pulitzer Prize; SAINT-EXUPERY, a Pulitzer Prize finalist; A GREAT IMPROVISATION: FRANKLIN, FRANCE, AND THE BIRTH OF AMERICA, winner of the George Washington Book Prize; and CLEOPATRA: A LIFE. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and an award in literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Named a 2011 Library Lion by the New York Public Library, she lives in New York City.