Wickwar brings commonsense and rational thought to a subject which is often unnecessarily sensationalized. He ventures to a degree into the psychoanalytical sphere, but only inasmuch as to provide explanations for why people acted as they did. This is combined with excellent historical records and a simple, clean and readable journey through the subject from ancient through the ages. Much is gruesome and truly horrible, but at no time does he attempt to be salacious.
The book is a thoroughly good read and provides a good foundation for any general reader interested in the subject. As to whether or not there is any unexplained validity to the black art, he wisely does not enter into the debate and it seems his views are that it is all nonsense. The one area where he might have elaborated more on is the matter of whether or not many of those accused truly believed in what they were doing?
Wickwar attempted, and succeeded, in producing a rational text without being over dramatic. He was one of the first to write clearly and unemotionally on a subject which continued to hold some excitement, and possibly some ongoing belief. His approach was analytical and scientific, but the result of his work is not a hard-to-read jargon ridden tome, but instead is an easily readable text written in a clear and matter-of-fact manner.
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
Illustrations: 30 b/w illustrations