10 Best Books About Witchcraft History Update 05/2022

The Last Witches of England: A Tragedy of Sorcery and Superstition

By John Callow

“Witches” are placed back at the center of the plot in a heartbreaking and engrossing history of a witch trial in 1682 that attempts to recreate their reality with empathy and insight. Well-documented, this book is based on papers from the town and printed news pamphlets, in addition to author expertise of witchcraft and demonology. This is a really well-researched work” (the study of devils and witches). It does a great job of conjuring up the creepy mood of the town. There are many fascinating tidbits that I had previously assumed were lost to history, but they have been recovered and brought to light in this novel.

White Is for Witching

By Helen Oyeyemi

This is a spooky, witty tale about witchy ladies that touches on a wide range of issues, including mental and physical disease and loss, racism, and nationalism. Then there’s a spooky mansion that speaks for itself. The stories frequently have a dark undertone, yet they’re told in a lighthearted manner. Ore, a black Cambridge student who both loves and dreads Miranda’s family and community: the Silvers, Miranda’s father, brother, and her deceased mother; the Eastern European students at school; the Yoruba chef; the terrifyingly mystical relatives of Miranda’s ancestors. To get the whole picture of the story, you may need a second read-through, as I did.

Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch

By Rivka Galchen

Witch trials in seventeenth-century Germany are depicted in a light-hearted story that becomes darker as it progresses. “Witch” is Katharina Kepler, the mother of Johannes Kepler, who was indeed accused of enchanting her neighbors. The novel is based on Ulinka Rublack’s history book on her trial, which is likewise highly recommended, but the evidence is treated in a unique way. Mostly recounted in Katharina’s voice, it’s compelling and imaginative, taking the narrative out of the past and making it extremely present for the reader. Aside from really appreciating the book’s language, I learnt a great deal about the hardships of witches. Not to mention, what a fantastic title!

Deadly Words

By Jeanne Favret-Saada

In the 1960s, the Normandy countryside was rife with witchcraft. It may seem boring, but I can assure you that it isn’t! When Jeanne Favret-Saada began her research into the magical beliefs of French farmers, she had the hope of uncovering some of the same superstitious remnants that intellectuals in Paris mocked. A universe of changing hypotheses and speculation, as engrossing as any mystery story, surrounded her. As Jeanne became more and more immersed in the realm of witchcraft, she started to wonder whether she had been bewitched herself.

Her work focuses on how we tell tales about witches, and stories about everything. In the end, it made me wonder if we could ever construct an accurate history of witchcraft based on evidence from individuals who had no idea what had really occurred. I believe we can, but reading this book should cause you to reevaluate everything you thought you knew about the history of witchcraft.

The Witchfinder’s Sister

By Beth Underdown

Matthew Hopkins, the “Witchfinder General,” sought witches in eastern England during the American Revolutionary War in this insightful and well-researched tale. The story revolves on Alice, a fictitious sister of Matthew’s. The use of Alice as a lens through which to see a well-known tale forces us to reflect more deeply on the experiences of the women who took part in the witch hunt and how they may have felt about them. The ladies in the families and the acquaintances of witchfinders had different views on the subject. No, they did not believe in witchcraft. How well did they do in avoiding becoming a part of the witch-hunting process?

My stomach was in knots as I read this gripping and terrifying tale that has a very seventeenth-century vibe. If a witch-hunt had arrived to my town, what would I have done? What would you do if you found yourself in this situation?

‘The Witch: A History of Fear, from Ancient Times to the Present’

By Ronald Hutton

Throughout history, witches have been feared and hunted in many corners of the globe. Author Ronald Hutton, an authority on ancient, medieval, and contemporary paganism, examines the origins, beliefs, and history of witchcraft in The Witch, shedding light on why so many have dreaded it and how we might finally put an end to it.

‘Witches, Midwives, & Nurses: A History of Women Healers’

By Barbara Ehrenreich and Deidre English

In Witches, Midwives, and Nurses, first published in 1973 and revised to meet today’s healthcare issue, the medical establishment’s problems may be traced back to witch hunts. This handbook is powerful and controversial, and it will shift your view of modern medicine and the women healers it obliterated in order to become what it is now.

‘Voodoo Queen: The Spirited Lives of Marie Laveau’

By Martha Ward

The Laveaus — a mother and daughter pair who had the same name — were leaders of religious and spiritual traditions that many around them regarded to be demonic in 19th century New Orleans. To tell the story of these two remarkable Maries, who spent their entire lives fighting for the freedom to be who they wanted to be while also practicing the indigenous American religion they believed in, author Martha Ward draws on archival research and never-before-published eyewitness accounts of their ceremonies and magical crafts.

‘The Penguin Book of Witches’

By Katherine Howe

The Penguin Book of Witches includes historical sources, such as a witch-hunting guidebook from 1597, court records from the Salem Witch Trials of 1962, and newspaper coverage of the stoning murders of women suspected of performing magic, to provide readers with real-life experiences of paganism. This is a must-read for anybody interested in learning about the history of witches and the people who persecuted them for ages.

‘Witches of America’

By Alex Mar

Alex Marr’s five-year odyssey into the occult is depicted in this fascinating biography. Witches in America sheds light on this old religion that so few people are familiar with, tracing its roots back to England in the 1950s and up to the current day, when it is practiced by individuals all throughout the nation.

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