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Nonfiction for the Gothic Reader
#1
I have to start this thread because I read so much nonfiction. Occasionally, I come across a book that a reader of Gothic novels may enjoy.

I have to recommend Faith and Treason: The Story of the Gunpowder Plot by Antonia Fraser. This history book is about the Gunpowder Plot during the early years of James I's reign. The plot involved 13 Catholic men, mostly nobility, who planned to blow up Parliament with the King and his family inside in order to reestablish a Catholic monarchy. The most famous character from the Plot is Guy Fawkes (remember Guy Fawkes Day and Hugo Weaving in V for Vendetta?) who was actually a minor player in the conspiracy. He just happened to get caught with the gunpowder.

Reading the book is like reading a novel. I've read many Antonia Fraser books, but this one has the most pathos for me. Villains, heroes, priests, brave women, dungeons, hideouts, hopeless causes, and tragedy. One learns a great deal about the English view of Catholicism, which eventually impacts a great number of the early Gothic classics.
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#2
Here's another book that I really enjoyed. I've referred to it before in a review of Wyndspelle (see Book Reviews).

It's called Delusion of Satan: The Full Story Of The Salem Witch Trials by Frances Hill. It was written in 1995 and I know there are newer books that have been published, but this is a relatively short and compelling read. It was actually so disturbing to me though that I could only read it in increments.

Hill does an excellent job of laying out what happened in Salem. The episode was the result of many factors: confused adolescence, Puritan repression and general fear of a scary New World. But what happened was also political. The powerful Putnam family was behind a lot of the accusations and, surprise, a number of the victims were members of rival families. Very convenient that young Ann Putnam and her mother were among the primary accusers.

Good history and psychological analysis that is worthwhile reading for history buffs. Very sad though.
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#3
Here's a 2003 book about Salem written for teen readers. I enjoyed it and it had a good set of end notes too, with the author's opinion of other research out there.

The book is called "Witch-Hunt: Mysteries of the Salem Witch Trials" by Marc Aronson. It's an easy read for anyone who likes history, whether you're an adult or a teenager.
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#4
Quote:I have to recommend Faith and Treason: The Story of the Gunpowder Plot by Antonia Fraser. This history book is about the Gunpowder Plot during the early years of James I's reign. The plot involved 13 Catholic men, mostly nobility, who planned to blow up Parliament with the King and his family inside in order to reestablish a Catholic monarchy. The most famous character from the Plot is Guy Fawkes (remember Guy Fawkes Day and Hugo Weaving in V for Vendetta?) who was actually a minor player in the conspiracy. He just happened to get caught with the gunpowder.

Ah, yes; Guy Fawkes Night. They still have bonfires in the UK on that night, IIRC. A friend in Scotland mentioned it a few years ago.

Generally I read science, particularly astronomy. Also enjoy history pertaining to the 17th and 18th centuries.
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