Report on ‘American Witches’
Drogo’s Book Report on American Witches; A Broomstick Tour Through Four Centuries by Susan Fair
I am very pleased that Susan’s book on Witches was published! I am a fan of her book theme subjects and her witty yet friendly writing style. Her preface on being accused as a child of doing (or worse being) something terrible was relatable as an emotional personal experience. Indeed as Arthur Miller pointed out with the Crucible, being called a witch was similar to being called a communist in modern days; even today many of us are called both, and people still think that both are evil due to cultural conditioning.
Susan begins her book with the 2nd European Colony in north America, Jamestown; which makes sense for the scope of the book as indicated by the subtitle segment “Four Centuries”. Jamestown was the first English Colony, but the Spanish Colony of St. Augustine was actually first about 50 years earlier (RIP Dr. Albert Manucy, Spanish-American historian, love you gran-dad). As to how many witches were in the Spanish St. Augustine Colony, or if anyone was accused of witch-craft, I do not know. Considering the Spanish were responsible for THE Inquisition, it is certainly possible.
Anyway, that is my only criticism of the book, which does not at all ruin my enjoyment of her stories, and respect for the importance of the subject. Some critics are quick to criticize humor with serious subjects, but often they just lack a healthy sense of the importance of being able to laugh when others cry. People respond to tragedy in various ways, depending on their social conditioning, or psychological reaction to conditioning which they dislike.
Susan’s sense of humor in her style is delightful to those of us with an ‘Edward Gorey’ or ‘Tim Burton’ gothic satire sensibility. It is our love for dark or scary subjects which makes our glee pleasant and not harsh. Her descriptions are excellent, and at times so darkly honest, that levity is welcomed.
“What was mended one day, would the next day be in pieces.” This is the chaos magic of entropy, which haunts the weary world, even to this day. The mystery of magic in history, and the persecution of accused practitioners, is still a current issue. I recommend this book to anyone that loves the subject of ‘witches’.