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Book Review on Demonic Possession on Trial

February 17, 2011

Sample book review on Demonic Possession on Trial:
Demonic Possession on Trial by William W. Coventry was written based on the author’s thesis to earn his Master of Arts in History from the University of Vermont. The book’s purpose is to examine and explore certain witch-craft cases that took place before the Salem witch trials occurred in order to identify the behaviors and ideas that shaped them. It was unclear from reading the book what the author’s views of the cases were; although, he seemed to show sympathy towards the supposed witch’s persecution. His writing was unbiased and covered all aspects of the trials and gave possible reasons for why the women and men seemed to be possessed by “demons”. He discussed the possibility of medical concerns, jealousy, and revenge as reasons why these people seemed to be possessed. He covered each possibility with equal representation. Coventry discussed how “superstitious and frightened townspeople turned against one another” (Coventry 67) and also discussed how ‘power hungry clergy promoted fear to maintain their fading power” (Coventry 69). I believe that he succeeded in his purpose to connect the trials that occurred in England to those that happened in Salem, Massachusetts. Although, he seemed to make this connection it was hard to follow. I had to re-read certain parts over a few times. Maybe it was because the subject covered wasn’t to my interest or because of the wording, but it was hard for me to read this book and enjoy it….

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