Book Review: Tituba, Reluctant Witch of Salem: Devilish Indians and Puritan Fantasies (Elaine G. Breslaw): AH | HistoryNet MENU

Book Review: Tituba, Reluctant Witch of Salem: Devilish Indians and Puritan Fantasies (Elaine G. Breslaw): AH

8/11/2001 • American History Reviews, Reviews

TITUBA, RELUCTANT WITCH OF SALEM: DEVILISH INDIANS AND PURITAN FANTASIES
by Elaine G. Breslaw (New York University Press, 280 pages, $24.95). The enigmatic life of Tituba, the West Indian slave who in 1692 was one of the first three women accused of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts, unfolds in this well researched biography. Dividing her work into two sections, Breslaw first treats Tituba’s early life as a slave in Barbados, where her ideas were shaped by a combination of English, American Indian, and African customs and folklore. The author then focuses on Tituba’s life in Massachusetts, where she confessed to the charges of witchcraft brought against her. Tituba’s confession initiated a witch-hunt that, before it ended, brought about the execution of 19 people and the imprisonment of more than 150.

 

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