Book Review: A History of Witchcraft

Synopsis: The authors discuss the definitions of witchcraft, and chart witchcraft’s historical, anthropological, and religious manifestations from ancient times to the present. This book also includes an analysis of the importance of the internet and films in the dissemination of modern witchcraft – and the personal tensions as a secretive, initiatory cult becomes an open and recognized religion.

Verdict: Readable, and of a modest length. Seems to be well-researched. A nice, thorough introduction to witchcraft past and present, as well as to the power of the idea of witchcraft. Recommended for anyone interested in this subject – especially at this time of the year!

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Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and Their Journey, by Isabel Fonseca

Shop Indie BookstoresThis website is most concerned with the character of the gypsy, the bohemian, the wanderer. But for a contemporary portrait of the Romani – the group most often labeled as ‘Gypsies’ –  this tome, in which Isabel Fonseca describes the four years she spent with Romani from Albania to Poland, listening to their stories, deciphering their taboos, and befriending their matriarchs, activists, and child prostitutes – is fascinating. Don’t go to this book for any lyrical generalizations: Bury Me Standing draws its strength from its detailed, specific portraits of diverse Romani individuals. Fonseca’s writing is articulate and interesting, but be prepared: The contextual material (mainly involving the political upheavals in Eastern Europe during the latter 20th century) makes for a dense read.

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