Emerson Baker explores the rich catalog of explanations that have been put forward over the years to explain the mystery of what happened in 1692–such as hysteria brought on by ergot poisoning or encephalitis–but ultimately shows that there was no single factor. Rather, behind the events of Salem and surrounding towns was a unique convergence of conditions, including a new charter and government, a grim and bloody frontier war in Maine, and sectarian and political power struggles.
Authoritative, immersive, and compulsively readable, A Storm of Witchcraft guides us through the archival evidence and books that have built up over the centuries on Salem and locates the essential points. It also sets the trials in the broader context of American history from the 1620s up through the present, and reveals the ways their legacy remains with us. Most of all, it provides a vivid narrative of one of the most harrowing and haunting episodes in American history. 398 pages, hardcover. Signed by the author!