In the Devil's Snare

by Mary Beth Norton

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Last Updated on September 5, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 141

In the Devil's Snare is a scholarly work concerning the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, held in Salem, Massachusetts. Mary Beth Norton, who has done extensive historical research in order to write this book, argues, unlike previous researchers and academics, that we can only develop an accurate understanding of the Salem Witch Trials by conceiving of them within the broader context of political and military affairs in New England. Specifically, the trials originate in part, she argues, as a result of two wars between the native American Indians and the European settlers: King Philip's War and King William's War. With her research, Norton seeks to answer the question, "why was Salem so different from all previous witchcraft episodes in New England?" She locates much of the answer within the environment, charged by the two decades of war that preceded the famous trials.

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