best books on salem witch trials

16 Books on the Salem Witch Trials to Kick Off Your Spooky Fall

You might wish to read one of the many books written about the Salem Witch Trials if you’re curious to understand more about them.

best books on salem witch trials

This is true despite the fact that Governor Phips banned the publication of publications about witchcraft and the Salem Witch Trials in October 1692 out of concern that they would further fan the flames of terror.

Cotton Mather, a Boston priest whose father had personally recommended Phips for the position of governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, was exempt from this ban.

Prior to the ban and in the years that followed, the other ministers and various participants in the Salem Witch Trials also wrote and published their own books and memoirs on the subject.


1. The Salem Witch Trials: A Day by Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege by Marilynne K. Roach

Every chapter covers a different month throughout the trials, beginning in January 1692, when the first symptoms of the illness were first noticed by the Salem Village girls.

This book does an excellent job of laying down exactly what happened and when which is helpful because the events and chronology of the trials can occasionally get muddled and difficult.

A Storm of Witchcraft: The Salem Witch Trials and the American Experience

2. A Storm of Witchcraft: The Salem Witch Trials and the American Experience by Emerson W. Baker

By examining the occasions that preceded and had an impact on the trials, such as King Philip’s War and the new Massachusetts Bay Colony charter issued in 1691, this book, which was published in 2014 by Oxford Press, investigates the greater background.

The history of Salem and its impact on the widespread panic in 1692, Salem Village politics, and the various parties involved in the trials, including the judges, the accused, and the accusers, are all topics covered in each chapter.

3. Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft by Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum

The social context and history of Salem before the witch trials are examined in this book, which was published in 1974 by Harvard University Press, to help readers comprehend how and why they occurred.

The book examines themes including factionalism, land conflicts, family rivalries, and church disputes that took place in Salem soon before the trials.

4. Death in Salem: The Private Lives Behind the 1692 Witch Hunt by Diane Foulds

The book examines each person’s personal circumstances and provides information about their name, age, and place of residence.

The book greatly aids the reader in comprehending what these people’s lives were like at the time and puts their deeds into perspective. It adds a crucial humanizing element to this difficult subject.

5. A Delusion of Satan: The Full Story of the Salem Witch Trials by Francis Hill

This 1995 publication examines the mental and societal conditions that led to the Salem Witch Trials. According to the book’s theory, factors like fear, religion, and politics were primarily to blame for the trials.

According to the book, the trials were the outcome of a suppressed society playing out its worst fears and retaliating against those they believed to be to blame for their misery.

 In the Devil’s Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692

6. In the Devil’s Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692 by Mary Beth Norton

This book, which was published in 2002, contends that the perpetual fear that pervaded Salem at the time was what led to the general hysteria and the witch trials.

At the period, disease outbreaks, conflict, and crop failures plagued Salem, and many held the belief that witches and the devil were frequently to blame for these adverse occurrences.

7. The Devil in Massachusetts: A Modern Enquiry into the Salem Witch Trials by Marion L. Starkey

The Devil in Massachusetts, which was published in 1949, uses the conversation from the Salem Witch Trials court records to present the trial’s story in a dramatic narrative.

To further illuminate the significance of the events, Starkey also makes use of contemporary psychology.

8. The Crucible by Arthur Miller.

The Crucible is a play that first premiered on Broadway in 1953. The Salem Witch Trials are shown in the play, which is set in Salem in 1692, but it is essentially an allegory for the Red Scare that occurred in the 1950s in the United States.

Miller compared the witch hunt in Salem to the purge of Communists in the 1950s in The Crucible.

Anyone who wants to learn more about the Salem Witch Trials should read The Crucible, which is both a blessing and a curse.

Non Fiction

I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem

9. I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem by Maryse Conde

This novel is an account of the life of Tituba, a slave of the Reverend Samuel Parris who was one of the first women accused of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials.

It was first published in French in 1986 and later translated into English.

Since there isn’t a lot of information regarding Tituba’s life before or after the trials, the author makes up a story about her childhood, adolescence, life in Salem, and her post-trials experiences.

10. A Break With Charity: A Story About the Salem Witch Trials by Ann Rinaldi

This novel, which was released in 1992, is a fictitious depiction of the Salem Village sick girls.

The protagonist of the tale is Susannah English, a close friend of Ann Putnam Jr. and the daughter of alleged witches, Phillip and Mary English.

The narrative investigates the idea that the females with the ailments lied about them in order to punish others who their families found objectionable.

11. The Shape Of Mercy by Susan Meissner

Lauren Dorough defies her family’s expectations by enrolling in a state university rather than Stanford. She aspires to leave her imprint on the world by supporting herself.

Abigail Boyles, an 83-year-old librarian, hires Lauren to work for her. Lauren discovers more about the Salem witch trials and herself when tasked with transcribing Mercy Hayworth’s journal entries.

12. The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne

As a result of the Pyncheon family constructing the home on the property that was actually stolen, Hawthorne narrates the eerie tale of a dispute between two families that were cursed.

You’ll find a dismal atmosphere and several odd characters throughout the story. They filled the allegedly haunted mansion with all kinds of scary activities.

Usually heard before seen, the enigmatic Clifford Pyncheon makes his way through the home as if there were only he who knew of its hidden lanes.

13. Conversion by Katherine Howe

Conversion by Katherine Howe is a good choice if you’re seeking modern YA books on the Salem Witch Trials that aren’t part of the standard curriculum.

As the St. Joan’s Academy girls continue to follow Miller’s story, weird and unexplained events begin to occur.

best books on salem witch trials

14. How To Hang A Witch by Adriana Mather

Seventeen Magazine has the best synopsis of this young adult book about the Salem Witch Trials: In the best way imaginable, it’s [How To Hang A Witch] coupled with a history lesson.

However, a curse also afflicts their community. If they don’t work together, history may repeat itself.

15. The Witch Of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

The Witch of Blackbird Pond, a book that technically isn’t based in Salem either, occurs in adjacent Connecticut in 1687. The Newbery Medal winner, though, is ideal for younger kids who wish to learn more.

Being a newcomer to a place is never easy, and Kit Tyler’s experience is no exception.

Kit, who has left her family in Barbados and is looking for a friend, encounters Hannah Tupper. Unfortunately, the colonists believe Hannah is a witch, endangering their friendship and lives.

16. Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich

One of the best fiction books set in Salem and ideal for foodies, Wicked Appetite is full of humor, mystery, and cupcakes.

In the narrative, aspiring witch Gloria Binkly, a coworker of pastry chef Elizabeth Tucker, searches for stones that contain the seven deadly sins.

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