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In this important book, Elaine Breslaw claims to have rediscovered Tituba, the elusive, mysterious, and often mythologized Indian woman accused of witchcraft in Salem in 1692 and immortalized in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. Reconstructing the life of the slave woman at the center of the notorious Salem witch trials, the book follows Tituba from her likely origins in South America to Barbados, forcefully dispelling the commonly-held belief that Tituba was African. One of the earliest to be accused of witchcraft in Salem Village, Tituba was the first to confess, leading to a series of events that saw nineteen people executed and over 150 imprisoned. A landmark contribution to women’s history and early American history, Tituba, Reluctant Witch of Salem sheds new light on one of the most painful episodes in American history, through the eyes of its most crucial participant. (paperback, 1996)
“An imaginative reconstruction of what might have been Tituba’s past.” –Times Literary Supplement
“A fascinating theory about the origins of the witch hunt that is sure to influence future historians … a valuable probe of how myths can feed hysteria” –The Washington Post Book World
“A fine example of readable scholarship.” –Baltimore Sun
“Elaine Breslaw has accomplished admirably what generations of witchcraft specialists have failed to do at all: explore the background, role, and profound influence of the Indian slave Tituba on the Salem episode. Based on exhaustive research and keen analysis, Tituba, Reluctant Witch of Salem is a major contribution to the burgeoning literature of witchcraft studies.” -Alden T. Vaughan, Professor Emeritus of History, Columbia University