Book Reviews

Book Review: A History of Magic and Witchcraft

A History of Magic and Witchcraft

Sabbats, Satan and Superstitions in the West

Is it fair for me to say, we all believe in something? Even if we choose to believe there is no God or any religion of any kind, isn’t that alone a choice and belief? Every culture has their ideals that are passed on generation to generation. This book, A History of Magic and Witchcraft identifies the differences and takes the reader through notions that may never be introduced to them otherwise. Thankfully we have books.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book gets a five star because it is absolutely deserving. An exquisite cover with rich content that is superbly written. I do have a big pet peeve though that almost kept me from reading this book for a review. I want to add my rant to my review now. However, there was no way in hell I could give this book anything less than a five.

I borrowed a digital download from Netgalley. This particular title is sold as Hardcover, Paperback and Kindle. I do understand how an author may not want to give up their hard work for free. I get it. I also know there are crooks and thieves that are up to no good. However, when an author or publisher goes to such great links to add their novels to Netgalley for readers to review, something should be taken into consideration. When I borrow a book from Netgalley it disappears after a period of time. I can not copy, sell or trade that digital download. Nor would I want to do that to any author. And, I would like to be appreciated enough as a reviewer to be given a nicely organized copy to read.

I still consider this book to be an incredible reading source. A History of Magic and Witchcraft would make a wonderful addition to any library.


This book feels to me as a explanation of beliefs and where they may have originated from. How people and cultures use religion as a life force. A part of every day life and death. How Gods play a role in culture and with individuals. In their lives and how they may have developed ethics and morals from those beliefs.

To read about Gods and Goddesses, deities and the incredible religious stories many of us have been told all our lives, in this fashion is calming. The information is laid out without hesitation to be reported as history. In comparing one set of beliefs with another highlighting different concepts, cultures and views. Be it true, fiction, fable or myth is for the reader to decide. I wont sell the beauty of this book based on my own personal beliefs. I will say this…it is written so fantastically the reader will want to take in every single word. It is also one to have in a collection to be used as reference or for resource.

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A History of Magic and Witchcraft

Sabbats, Satan and Superstitions in the West
by Frances Timbers

Broomsticks and cauldrons, familiars and spells: magic and witchcraft conjure vivid pictures in our modern imaginations. The History of Magic and Witchcraft offers a window into the past, illuminating the lives of ordinary people and shining a light on the fascinating pop culture of the pre-modern world.

Blowing away folkloric cobwebs, this enlightening new history dispels many of the misconceptions rooted in superstition and myth that surround witchcraft and magic today. Historian Frances Timbers brings together elements of Ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, Christianity, popular culture, and gender beliefs that evolved throughout the middle ages and early modern period and contributed to the construction and eventual persecution of the figure of the witch. While demonologists were developing the new concept of Devil worship and the witches’ sabbat, elite men were actually attempting to practice ceremonial magic. In the twentieth century, elements of ceremonial magic and practices of cunning folk were combined with the culturally constructed idea of a sect of witches to give birth first to modern Wicca in England and then to other neopagan movements in North America.

Witchcraft is a metaphor for oppression in an age in which persecution is an everyday occurrence somewhere in the world. Fanaticism, intolerance, prejudice, authoritarianism, and religious and political ideologies are never attractive. Beware the witch hunter!

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