When most people hear the name of the town ‘Salem’ they immediately think, “Witches!” To be sure, that is the legacy of Salem in the minds of the masses. But beyond the wrongful execution of some young women for practicing witchcraft and sorcery, most people know nothing.

Stacy Schiff is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and a master storyteller. She has turned her attentions to Salem, 1692 to bring to life the real people behind the legend and to investigate how hysteria gripped a town and a nation. Not only were women the focus of the investigations–an inquisition, really–but there were men also. Families turned their backs on each other. Educated people left their senses–certain the devil was at work–and became complicit in murder.

The Wtiches: Salem, 1692 is a certain bestseller and a welcome inquiry into a story and a time that have had, unfortunately, only the most rudimentary understanding in American history.