The Devil in Massachusetts: A Modern Enquiry Into the Salem Witch Trials

Marion L. Starkey


The Devil in Massachusetts: A Modern Enquiry Into the Salem Witch Trials

The Devil in Massachusetts: A Modern Enquiry Into the Salem Witch Trials

  • Title: The Devil in Massachusetts: A Modern Enquiry Into the Salem Witch Trials
  • Author: Marion L. Starkey
  • ISBN: 9780385035095
  • Page: 338
  • Format: Paperback



This historical narrative of the Salem witch trials takes its dialogue from actual trial records but applies modern psychiatric knowledge to the witchcraft hysteria Starkey s sense of drama also vividly recreates the atmosphere of pity and terror that fostered the evil and suffering of this human tragedy.


Recent Comments "The Devil in Massachusetts: A Modern Enquiry Into the Salem Witch Trials"

This book is one of the best bits of evidence I can think of, which shows how people rarely need religion to behave well; but equally, how they can use it to behave poorly. The fanatic persecution of "witches" in the Massachusettes colony is one of the most ominous in early European-American history: it turned family members against one another, and cast an awful suspicion upon one's neighbors and friends. This historical book reads much like a novel; and presents an interesting interpretation o [...]

In truth, this book is a near-failure.Historically it sucks, and it reeks of the sense of postmodern superiority often found in books written by social scientists.Apparently, Ms. Starkey "lies modern psychiatric knowledge to the witchcraft hysteria," yet that psychiatric element absolutely ruins and undoes any of the actual historical claims from the primary sources which she did cite. Problem is, she takes an unnecessary and excessive amount of "creative license" and over-characterizes the main [...]

I started doing some genealogy research recently and that I have ancestors that were from Salem Village in Massachusetts and may, possible be descended from a woman who was hanged as a witch. I still have a fair amount of research to prove that, but the possibility got me interested in learning more about the trials and what happened.Starkey's book is a pretty quick overview of the events though he doesn't limit himself to pure history and tries to "get inside the people's heads." He also claims [...]

Religion is dangerous. So are teenage girls. This seems to be the main theme of this book. Starkey has gathered myriad sources on the Salem Witch Trials and managed to put together a cohesive account which is neither dry nor dense. Though written in 1949, it is comprehensible to the modern reader and also fascinating. Starkey has taken great care not to fabricate action or dialogue in order to add drama to her tale; she hardly needs to. She has copied entire sections of dialogue from court repor [...]

A bit dated, especially when it comes to the psychology ("hysteria"), but this is the Salem story in very readable journalese. A very fair assessment of what happened and how it was undone (sometimes not in time), with a timely reminder that a great many people did NOT share the hysteria, and worked against it in whatever ways they could find. One plus of this edition: the cover is terrific, with its spooky illustration of the devil (by Tomi Ungerer).One negative of this edition: the Time Inc. R [...]

Though it shows it's age, I still enjoyed this read. It is not without its flaws and the prose was sometimes quite irritating, but still interesting and a good overview. Full review to come++++++++++++++allthebookblognamesaretaken.blfacebook/AlltheBookBlogNamesAitter/SarahsBookNookRating: 3 StarsIt utterly baffles me that these events ever even occurred. And not just in Salem, but across the Massachusetts colony, at the time, and even across Europe as well at various times (James VI/I was kind o [...]

If you're interested in the Salem Witch Trials and have not read Starkey's book, then I highly recommend it. She takes the events of the trials and weaves them into a narrative, so much so that this is more like reading a novel. If you're researching the trials, she does have a list of the primary and secondary sources she used for reference at the end of the book.

I liked this book a lot, I really enjoyed how the Author separated the people that were involved with The Witch Trials and what they're rolls were in it. What a sad but fascinating part of our New England history.

Incredibly informative and an entertaining read. So many myths regarding the Salem trials Was nice getting to know what actually occurred. Differs greatly from the trials that had occurred in Europe, which I think is where the confusion spawns from. Definitely recommend it!

Great historical account of the Salem Witch Trials, but very hard to keep track of all the individual characters. Hard to believe that people could be so naive as to believe everything a group of young girls said.

Caveats out of the way first: yes, there are some factual inaccuracies in this riveting account of the Salem witchcraft hysteria. Fifty additional years of research will inevitably alter the record. And yes, by virtue of the same fifty years of additional work, certain of Marion Starkey's interpretations (by no means all) are now generally considered to be superseded.All that admitted, what a gem this book is! I read it as a teenager and it demonstrated the possibilities of historical narrative [...]

I selected this book because it has been a popular subject for many years and I wanted to know more about it. The "Salem Witch Trials" has been portrayed on the stage, in books, movies and TV. It is a compelling story. Early in the book I was sorry I chose it because of the horror, but was compelled to finish.When religion/ideology meet ignorance, bad things happen. When combined with hysteria, terrible things happen. We have recorded and witnessed many like events before and since this time, la [...]

Being a native of Massachusetts, I'm perhaps more drawn to this particular subject than I otherwise might be, particularly since Salem was a mere two hours away from my hometown and we actually visited the Salem Witch Museum on a school field trip during my formative years. A skeptic even at twelve, I was impressed most by the illogic of the proceedings, in particular the torture devices by which “confessions” were sometimes obtained. But I can’t say I had a fair recollection of the actual [...]

Far too much embellishment and conjecture, when combined with a lack of references, made the study barely usable.

I loved the way Starkey wove the facts of the Salem Witch Trials into a seamless narrative, so much so that it was more like reading a novel. While other witch hunt books give you the facts of the events, Starkey's books give you a feel for them. If you're studying the Salem Witch Trials as I am, she has a detailed bibliography at the end with both primary and secondary sources.

Today, we put the utmost faith in justice. We hope that the men responsible for any crime will be brought to justice; we decide before a trial is over who is guilty, and are borderline angry if the accused is acquitted. We watch thousands of hours of police shows, we are obsessed with stories of the CIA and FBI hunts, and who can help but admire Sherlock Holmes' deep dedication to finding the source of wrong in the world.Yet, justice can sometimes be this dark, terrifying thing. In the case of t [...]

Given that this originally appeared in 1949, it might be ungenerous to label it as trite supposition, heavily reliant on emotive adjectives and conjecture as much research has been conducted into what went on in Salem Village for several months in 1692 since this first appeared. Starkey claims to be applying 'modern psychiatric knowledge' to the behaviour of the afflicted girls (adults were also involved, though she seems to frequently forget this), but that does not stop her from labelling Abig [...]

Puritans. Good grief.

Amanda ZucksworthEnglish 232A2The author's purpose for writing The Devil in Massachusetts: A Modern Enquiry Into the Salem Witch Trials was to inform readers of the events of the Salem Witch Trials. The book actually takes it's dialogue from real trial records, but Marion L. Starkey also applies her knowledge of the trials and her knowledge of psychiatry to the book as well.One theme that is quite prevalent in this novel is that religion can be dangerous. The reason that the trials in Salem even [...]

Well, darn. Fascinating book, well researched, well told. The author did her job well, pulling no stops and naming all names. She followed up, too--didn't just stop with the first witch hanged but kept the story moving until the close. Wellere's never really a "close" to history, but you know what I mean. Until the people were moving on with their lives, making amends (or not), and the history was history--not current events.But I yearned for details, explanations, even theories. When I read the [...]

Actually, I would give this book 4.5 stars. I liked it very much. There were moments when the language lost me a little bit. Overall, this telling of the causes and effects of the witch trials over three hundred years ago is full and satisfying, with layers of details and information regarding the people and the psychology behind the events. Sometimes, I think we want the mystery and quiet creepiness of what we think that time was like to satisfy our curiosity and create some connection to the a [...]

Originally published in 1949, this "modern enquiry" into the Salem Witch Trials attempts to explore the psychology of the people involved. I think someone with a modern psychology background would have a lot more to say about the young girls who were the accusers, but Starkey's interpretation doesn't bog the story down. Starkey does a good job painting a picture of what Puritan life was like during the Salem witch hunt hysteria in 1692. The text comes off a bit schlocky and dated, but it is stil [...]

Finished at last. The end was thought provoking. Some individuals involved felt tremendous remorse and offered written and oral public appologies. But the Rev. Increase Mather and his son Rev. Cotton Mather did not have the humility to to apologize or express any remorse for their public support of the witchcraft trials and hangings. Rev. Increase Mather was the president of Harvard University, the theological leader of the Massachusetts colony, and "ambassador-extraordinary from Massachusetts t [...]

If one really wants to learn about the infamous Salem witch trials this is the place to start. This gives a thorough accounting of the witch trials that took place in Salem Village(present day Danvers, Massachusetts) in colonial Massachusetts in 1692-1693. When the daughters of the local minister fell ill the local doctor diagnosed the with "bewitchment". The ensuing investigation eventually overcame the community and surrounding area. Many accused witches were only spare lives if they repented [...]

The Devil in Massachusetts by Marion Lena Starkey is a book about the Salem Witch Trials through a psychological perspective. The author's purpose in writing this book is to inform us about the motives and thoughts of the human mind through the witch trials. If i could give a theme to this book, it would be "keep your head down" because through the witch trials, crazy stuff happens and everyone is getting accused of witchcraft left and right and you did not want to get involved.take my word for [...]

The Devil in Massachusetts is a factual recount of the witch trials in Massachusetts in 1692. I found this an amazing book. It is a perfect example of a completely factual book that doesn't get boring. Marion L. Starkey uses a variety of sources (that are all listed in the back, including which were used for what) and brings the world of long ago back to life. The writing is a bit old fashioned, which makes it a bit tough to get through. I can't really tell if it is because the book is a bit out [...]

This book is about the Salem Witch Trials in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. This book talks about the Witch trials, What happened before that influence the trials, during the trials and after. Describes personalities of the Parris family, such as Betty and Abigail. See How Abigail wanted power and how she rose to the top and took control of Witch trials. How Puritan region had a huge impact.This was not made into a movie.I really love this book because it historical,it very interesting and how it [...]

Although I don't agree with Starkey on many points, The Devil in Massachusetts makes a good point at which to begin one's reading about Salem. It is interested in forming a narrative of the witch trials, which means that it is clear and easy to read and compelling in ways that, for instance, Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft is not.That said, I do disagree with Starkey, and if you begin with The Devil in Massachusetts, you would be ill-advised to end there. Starkey forthrightly b [...]

This is a riveting account of the Salem Witch Trials. Marion Starkey includes just the right amount of detail to portray all the elements of this horrifying story. From the hysteria spun out of fanaticism to the economic and social background that provided a fertile ground, the events unfold in a way that kept this reader spellbound. The author highlights the relationships of the people in the community and how their bonds were broken by the reactions of the accusations of the young girls. This [...]

Starkey has successfully turned the events of the Salem Witch Trials into a compelling narrative, explaining not only the social reasons for the hysteria but also the personal, psychological conditions that precipitated it.The author tries to delve into the minds of the historical figures of the time and show what they might have been thinking. This often reads as hammy dramatization rather than any real insight. There's no way anyone can really know what these people were thinking. Historians c [...]


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    Published :2018-05-04T10:23:43+00:00