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42 review for Riding the Nightmare: Women and Witchcraft from the Old World to Colonial Salem

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lightreads

    Okay, so did you guys know that witch hunts throughout history actually constitute a pattern of political oppression upon women? Didya? Didya? Because according to this 1992 book, no one has ever figured this out before. Seriously though, this is a great example of how to do good history badly. The authors present a brief but compelling case about how witch trials from Joan of Arc to Salem were a male dominated society’s way of controlling women of influence like physicians and midwives and sain Okay, so did you guys know that witch hunts throughout history actually constitute a pattern of political oppression upon women? Didya? Didya? Because according to this 1992 book, no one has ever figured this out before. Seriously though, this is a great example of how to do good history badly. The authors present a brief but compelling case about how witch trials from Joan of Arc to Salem were a male dominated society’s way of controlling women of influence like physicians and midwives and saints, or resolving financial or property disputes. They use primary sources well, backed by some scant but effective history of the printing press and other related matters. However. However, this is all they do. And I’m sorry, but you cannot propound a “new” theory to explain witch hunts without ever addressing some of the existing models and placing yours in context. In particular, yes you really have to deal with the apparently thorny issue of witchcraft as a symptom and product of superstition before the scientific revolution. You don’t just get to make casual but snide references to “blindly staggering Europe” and the misfortunes in infant mortality and other trials which caused frustrated blame and fear to fall on the heads of successive out groups, and then carry on as if neither accused nor accuser ever actually believed in witchcraft. Which, uh, both usually did. And simply listing alternate models in one sentence with no context or explanation or integration doesn’t cut it. Especially in cases like the fascinating ergotism theory, which actually could have helped the thesis. Grar. Most irritating. Unrelatedly, it is clear that Diana Gabaldon and the Pratchett-Gaiman team did at least a little research on the history of witchcraft – apparently the witch Mrs. Duncan was a real person, as were the Devices and Nutters.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lex

    This book started out strong but could have used a bit more research and use of research material to back up the female oppression theory better. It’s a great book to get the gears turning and to start doing some of your own research. There is a great bibliography in the back of this book to help you get started.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I wish there were a million more books that so eloquently discuss the tragic history of our doomed sisters and mothers. I'm on my third read. A wonderful book of history and feminism. Bravo! I wish there were a million more books that so eloquently discuss the tragic history of our doomed sisters and mothers. I'm on my third read. A wonderful book of history and feminism. Bravo!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Karieft

    its Alright

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jenna Martins

  6. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

  7. 4 out of 5

    Art

  8. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

  9. 4 out of 5

    Richard Seeger

  10. 5 out of 5

    Reese Lightning

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dany

  13. 5 out of 5

    Eva Raykova

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kohner

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Bansak

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jane

  17. 4 out of 5

    David Conlon

  18. 4 out of 5

    Susan

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tim Hankey

  21. 4 out of 5

    Liang

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cody Sexton

  24. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin Fasching-Gray

  25. 5 out of 5

    Raven

  26. 4 out of 5

    Susan

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

  28. 4 out of 5

    Laura Quilter

  29. 5 out of 5

    Elise

  30. 5 out of 5

    GracieKat

  31. 5 out of 5

    Lori Spier

  32. 5 out of 5

    Adia

  33. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

  34. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

  35. 5 out of 5

    Yasmin

  36. 5 out of 5

    Laura Chilberg

  37. 4 out of 5

    Megan Dawn

  38. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

  39. 5 out of 5

    Pamela Guile

  40. 4 out of 5

    Inbal Cohen

  41. 4 out of 5

    Branden William

  42. 4 out of 5

    Scott

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