Witch-Hunt: The Assignment of Blame

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Dr. Clifton Wilcox supplies an important perspective on a very ugly and shameful scene in American history. In a very true way, he does in an academic’s words what Arthur Miller did in his play The Crucible: scrub away all the nostalgia and implied morality of the Salem Witch Trials, leaving only the raw, prejudiced ugliness of the systemic torture and murder of innocents, usually young women.

There has always been the counterpoint of Fear that plays against religion’s visions of peace, morality, and a glorious hereafter. Wilcox concentrates on that Fear and it is a wise choice, as it gets the reader past the Puritans’ black-and-white costuming and all those scenes of pacified banquet-sharing replayed each Thanksgiving. Of course, the irony (one would call it a superb irony, were superb in any way applicable to this monstrous behavior) is that the Puritans having set sail from England in order to avoid prejudice and repression in the Old Country proceeded to do the exact same thing in the New World. The only difference is that they circled ranks and fired inwards.

The cycle of attack, followed by fearful cooperation that was at the heart of Miller’s play, is also here. An example: ‘Tituba admitted to being a witch and begged for the congregations’ forgiveness. She then, in turn, accused two other community members of witchcraft.’ The trail of mental and physical torture leading to victim acquiescence did not begin with the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1940s; not with Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s. The line that leads to waterboarding starts in February in the Salem colony in present-day Massachusetts.

There is a lot of information packed into 78 pages, yet for those unafraid of truth, the reading is well worth the horror.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 78 pages
Publisher Xlibris
Publish Date 12-Mar-2012
ISBN 9781469181127
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue June 2012
Category Business & Investing


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