Judge Sewall's Apology


Our idea of a Boston Puritan is all black hats and scarlet letters, so this absorbing biography is a welcome correction. Samuel Sewall was one of the judges at the Salem witchcraft trials. He was also a diarist and the first American to emerge full-blooded from the historical murk—a man with a vivid love life, sensitive conscience, and surprising open-mindedness. Francis uses a novelist's touch to reconstruct Sewall's life and times, and to recount how his generation bridged the gap between the zealotry of the first settlers and the modern instincts of their Revolutionary sons.

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