art, academic and non-fiction books
publishers’ Eastern and Central European representation

Name your list

ISBN: PB: 9780300238679

ISBN: HB: 9780300229042

Yale University Press

September 2018

376 pp.

23.5x15.6 cm

16 black&white illus.



A History of Fear, from Ancient Times to the Present

The witch came to prominence – and often a painful death – in early modern Europe, yet her origins are much more geographically diverse and historically deep. In this landmark book, Ronald Hutton traces witchcraft from the ancient world to the early-modern stake.

This book sets the notorious European witch trials in the widest and deepest possible perspective and traces the major historiographical developments of witchcraft. Hutton, a renowned expert on ancient, medieval, and modern paganism and witchcraft beliefs, combines Anglo-American and continental scholarly approaches to examine attitudes on witchcraft and the treatment of suspected witches across the world, including in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, Australia, and North and South America, and from ancient pagan times to current interpretations. His fresh anthropological and ethnographical approach focuses on cultural inheritance and change while considering shamanism, folk religion, the range of witch trials, and how the fear of witchcraft might be eradicated.

About the Author

Ronald Hutton is professor of history, University of Bristol, and the author of many books including, most recently, "The Druids; Debates in Stuart History"; and "Witches, Druids, and King Arthur: Studies in Paganism, Myth, and Magic".


"There are several over-familiar images that we jump to when we think of witches, even today: the hat, the broom, the cauldron. Yet this scholarly, engrossing take on the witch travels across centuries and continents to prove that it is a figure that is both more pervasive and more diverse than we might expect" – History Revealed

"The history of witchcraft and its persecution makes for compelling, often terrifying reading... what makes [Hutton's] history unique is it provides a much longer – and broader – perspective. 'The Witch' draws upon previously neglected anthropological and ethnographic findings to set the origins of witchcraft and its subsequent persecution in an ancient and global context" – Tracy Borman, Literary Review