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The Specter of Salem: Remembering the Witch Trials in Nineteenth-Century America

The Specter of Salem: Remembering the Witch Trials in Nineteenth-Century America


Book Overview: The Specter of Salem: Remembering the Witch Trials in Nineteenth-Century America

In The Specter of Salem, Gretchen A. Adams reveals the many ways that the Salem witch trials loomed over the American collective memory from the Revolution to the Civil War and beyond. Schoolbooks in the 1790s, for example, evoked the episode to demonstrate the new nation's progress from a disorderly and brutal past to a rational present, while critics of new religious movements in the 1830s cast them as a return to Salem-era fanaticism, and during the Civil War, southerners evoked witch burning to criticize Union tactics. Shedding new light on the many, varied American invocations of Salem, Adams ultimately illuminates the function of collective memories in the life of a nation.

"Imaginative and thoughtful. . . . Thought-provoking, informative, and convincingly presented, The Specter of Salem is an often spellbinding mix of politics, cultural history, and public historiography."- New England Quarterly

"This well-researched book, forgoing the usual heft of scholarly studies, is not another interpretation of the Salem trials, but an important major work within the scholarly literature on the witch-hunt, linking the hysteria of the period to the evolving history of the American nation. A required acquisition for academic libraries."-Choice, Outstanding Academic Title 2009

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Gretchen A. Adams is a widely respected author, whose rich literary journey has spanned genres and garnered international acclaim. With roots in Dallas, Texas, Gretchen studied Literature at the prestigious Yale University, a time that fostered her love for storytelling and shaped her signature, captivating narrative style. Known for her vivid characterization and intricate plots, Adams has an artistic prowess that shines through her expansive portfolio. The author has contributed significantly to the literary world with a multitude of celebrated novels in mystery and fantasy genres. With each story, she transports readers to unique worlds, ensuring a reading experience like no other. A recipient of several illustrious awards, Adams constantly pushes boundaries to deliver deeply layered tales. Through her writing, she cultivates a deep connection with her readers, navigating them through powerful emotions and thought-provoking themes. In all her literary endeavors, Gretchen A. Adams remains the embodiment of masterful storytelling and imaginative craftsmanship.

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