Skip to main content

Witch-Hunt Mysteries of the Salem Witch Trials

Review

Witch-Hunt Mysteries of the Salem Witch Trials

Any mention of witches and/or witchcraft, and most teenagers will zero in to see what it's all about. This new and carefully researched book on the Salem witch trails will disappoint neither teens nor adults. Marc Aronson has laid out his material in an easy-to-follow format, dividing the chapters by timeline.

Before the introductory pages, "Note to the Reader" explains that research still does not give us a final answer surrounding the events in 1692 Salem. Aronson asks the reader, aiming his narrative at a teen audience, to think about what might have made the accusers act as they did. After all, he points out, "Many of the accusers were teenagers." He also notes some of the discrepancies, such as the fact that the slave known as Tituba was not black but more likely an Indian. His purpose here is to show that the smallest matters can be crucial in uncovering truth, especially since so much fantasy has surrounded the Salem witch trials.

THE CRUCIBLE by Arthur Miller is examined, as the author spends time building the case of Miller's brilliant fiction against what really lay behind the compelling Salem events. Frequently, Aronson makes flattering reference to Miller and to the many writers who laid the groundwork for his own research. And while he used transcripts of the pretrial hearings, for better understanding, punctuation and spellings were changed.

An index plus notes for cross-referencing make this an excellent reference book. The narrative style is smooth, and teens will find both the subject and writing appealing. Beyond the practical aspects of this work, Aronson has created a fantastic book that illustrates the agony of all the people --- accusers, victims, judges and families --- who were involved in the witch-hunts. This is a must for both high school and public libraries.

Reviewed by Sally Tibbetts on December 2, 2003

Witch-Hunt Mysteries of the Salem Witch Trials
by Marc Aronson

  • Publication Date: December 2, 2003
  • Genres: History
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 0689848641
  • ISBN-13: 9780689848643