Cover Image: In Defense of Witches

In Defense of Witches

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Member Reviews

This is a good book for people putting their toe into feminist writings. It’s very approachable and it is meticulously cited. I personally didn’t vibe with it because I thought there would be more “witches” in it and because a lot of the arguments made in the book are things I’ve already seen in other works. However, as I said, I do think this is a solid book for people interested in learning more about the issue!
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This was an interesting take on the witch trials and the ways women are still on trial. I loved it! 

I received an advance copy. All thoughts are my own.
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Mona Chollet's In Defense of Witches is an interesting cultural history about the persecution of women through exploring the history of witch hunts. I found the pieces about the history of witch hunts to be really interesting, but the writer loses a bit of steam when exploring current day misogyny and persecution. Overall, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to people looking for offbeat feminist texts.
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Thanks to St Martins and Netgalley for the early copy.

Due to some health issues I didn't get a chance to read this one and could not get into it.  I had to just move on from it.
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A super interesting deep dive into the history of women accused of witchcraft. Loved the feminist take, and this is super timely given what is going on here in the USA.
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As someone with a history degree, one of the most irritating questions I get asked is along the lines of “why do you care about history, it happened so long ago, what’s the point?” I could write an entire book answering this, but instead, I’ll throw a copy of In Defense of Witches: The Legacy of the Witch Hunts and Why Women Are Still on Trial by Mona Chollet at you and tell you to read it instead.

In this book, author Mona Chollet looks at the history of witch trials and why they’re still relevant today. I took multiple courses on witchcraft in university and love reading about this topic and connecting the dots between why women, in the past and now, have been persecuted against. We’re either too old, too ugly, too mysterious, too reserved (or too slutty), or a combination of all of the above. If we look at someone the wrong way, are in the wrong place at the wrong time, or wear something deemed ‘inappropriate’ by whoever is making The Decisions™️ that day, we’re to blame for everything. In the past it was a woman’s fault for her neighbor’s crop failure, today, we’re to blame for our own assaults. The madness never ends.

Regardless of the decisions that women make, people (*cough powerful, straight white men*) will find something to complain about. The chapter in this book on a women’s decision to have children hit close to home for me, as it’s something I’m constantly asked about. The decision to remain child-free is very personal, yet I’m vilified for it time and time again.

The first half of the book focuses on the history of witchcraft, whereas the latter half focuses on feminist issues and their ties to witches. Topics explored include age, children, marriage, independence, and more. It’s equal parts history lesson and social commentary, and is sure to get you riled up.

Thank you to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for a digital ARC of In Defense of Witches: The Legacy of the Witch Hunts and Why Women Are Still on Trial by Mona Chollet via NetGalley. It went on sale on March 8, 2022, and can be purchased wherever books are sold.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for granting me an advanced reader's copy.

If you are looking for a book about feminism.. this is that book. If you are looking for a book about the history of witches, you may want to pass. 

There are some historical witchy happenings at the beginning and end of the book, yes. However, the majority of the book is about women's rights, the struggles women have had to endure throughout the years, and how some of that plays into witches. 

It was not what I was expecting by any means, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it. 
Every single topic felt relevant to me as a woman, and I am happy to have read it. The title may have been misleading, but it is definitely a must read for all women.
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First, thank you so much for the chance to read this book! It brought me back to college when I studied classics and several of my classes focused on how women were portrayed as witches - we even read passages from the Malleus Maleficarum!

Overall, I did enjoy this book and learned a bit - but it was long and repetitive. I don't know if that was partially due to the translation, but I felt like it could have used a bit more editing to get to the point, with details, but without rambling a bit. 

However, I did enjoy this and appreciate the chance to have read it!
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I thought this book was going to be a little different than it was. I was expecting the whole book to be about witch hunts in Europe and America. I was expecting lots of info about the Salem Witch Trial.s You did get some info but not as much as I thought.

However, I am glad I read this book. I think it was amazingly researched. The author did such a good job. With everything going on in America right now this book is so relevant. It blows my mind how woman have been treated. A woman wants to leave her man....he could turn her in as a witch? It's insane. I know if I was alive back then I would have been one of those women accused of witchcraft. 

As a woman without any kids parts of this book hit different. It's nice to know I'm not alone. It is also true I've been asked when I'm having kids. I think this is a type of book you can read more than once and learn/pick up on something you didn't the first time.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the copy of the book! My opinions are my own.
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If you have ever been interested in the witch trials, persecution of women, the stereotypes of women in their own power or connected to this book. There is so much more to it than that, but to unravel all that is spoken in these pages is difficult. It is hard to read knowing that there has been so much unnecessary hate and violence. There are so many emotions and thoughts to process after reading it. Really makes you pause are rethink things. It is a much needed book in these times. I am very grateful to have read it. Highly recommend.
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who were the women who were accused and often killed for witchcraft? What types of women have centuries of terror censored, eliminated, and repressed? 
This book was simply fantastic. The author dives deep into the kind of women that were accused of witchcraft. And spoiler alert, none of them were really witches. This should be mandatory reading for everyone, especially in today's society
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Really interesting book when it focuses on the history of witches, witchhunts, historical oppression of independent women, and the use of witches as a feminist metaphor.  The book becomes a bit more mundane in the last third when it covers important issues like marriage, the medical establishment, looks, etc. but from a more straightforward non-witch focused point of view.  Also quite interesting to see a French point of view on feminist theory and issues.
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A non-fiction book celebrating the witch as a symbol of female rebellion. I wanted to love this one SO MUCH but it didn’t do anything for me. It kind of felt like there weren’t any new ideas in here - just making some links that we already knew. Thank you Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for my copy!
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In the Defense of Witches is a modern look at the of women throughout history up to modern day. It gives many examples of the way women were tread upon as well as the weight put on their aging.

This was an interesting read filled with tibits of history that I was unaware of while looking at the effects this had on women of that day and today. The author puts together many arguments on how these critiqued areas of a women's life and her personality can be linked back into what led to many women being tried and ultimately put to death as witches. Not as many were found dancing naked in the moonlight as you might expect; some of these were simply women who decided to think for themselves rather than taking a man's word as gospel.

I recommend this to anyone looking into the history of witchcraft and the wrongly persecuted women to better understand what they experienced at the hands of men who couldn't control them. Age range of 14+ as there is some sexual topics not sutable for younger readers.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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DNF. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC of this book. I really love reading about witches, but this was more about feminism. Which I usually like too, but this was way too heteronormative & I gave up about halfway through.
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This book really was as a lot! All about women, mother, daughters and sexism. If you are interested in stereotypes or how current or hundreds of years ago witch hunts went and why, this is a great book for you..
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An interesting history of witches throughout history. The author gives us an in-depth look at how the fear and persecution of women as witches occurred, and what were the real reasons behind that persecution. I found that part of the book fascinating and extremely informative.

The rest of the book, while interesting and well supported, struck me as redundant to the level of boredom. I understood what the author was saying and agreed with a lot of what she said, but I wanted her to move on from the repetitive narrative. 

Therefore, while I did enjoy the book, I also lost interest at many points. If you are interested in the history of why women were called witches and persecuted, this in the most researched and interesting book I have read. 

When the author diverts to defending a woman’s right to make her own decisions, especially her decision to remain childless, I found too intense and prolonged, although filled with excellent rationale. It’s a good book, but overlong.
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Interesting book with an absolutely captivating title. I felt as if the overall book meandered slightly from my expectations, however certain areas were very interesting and I was able to enjoy the book overall.
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This is an important book. Violence and hatred against women has been perpetuated throughout time and continues to be a huge problem globally. If we are going to do something about this, we need to be well informed on the tropes used against us. This book makes me feel better informed to take on the fight of gender equality and female empowerment. It gave me all of the feelings- anger, sadness, inspiration. I highly recommend this book.
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The introduction was so good, and the rest of the book was not what I expected based on the title. A great exercise in feminist thought, even if the author's feminism doesn't align perfectly with my own, but more like the author's thoughts on feminism with some witch history dripped in here and there versus the legacy of the witch hunts and why women are still on trial.

Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review (less)
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