In Defense of Witches: The Legacy of the Witch Hunts and Why Women Are Still on Trial

Macmillan Audio. Mar. 2022. 7:47 hrs. ISBN 9781250839589. $19.99. SOC SCI
Chollet’s thought-provoking text posits that although women are no longer burned at the stake as witches, much of the anti-woman sentiment that sparked past witch hunts is alive and well. According to Chollet, 50,000–100,000 women were tortured and murdered as “witches” throughout history. Most of them were single, widowed, childless, beyond childbearing years, or in control of their own fertility during a time when society tied a woman’s worth to her ability to bear children or care for a husband. With many real-life examples or media portrayals of historic and contemporary oppression and misogyny, this could be a demoralizing and overwhelming listening experience. The encouraging tone throughout, however, urges listeners to create a world where bodies and minds are never associated with this type of historical past again. Alix Dunmore’s lovely accent and warm delivery add to the hopeful tone of the production, and her precise, careful pacing helps listeners absorb the many references.
VERDICT Filled with hundreds of endnotes, this original and entertaining work would make a great book club choice.
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