In the book, "Damned Women," Elizabeth Reis gives an insight on the experiences of women in New England in the 17th century. She discusses the views of women who claimed that their souls had been affected by evil. Reis argues that these perceptions made the women of Salem in Massachusetts and the regions that surrounded it to be targeted by the law as being practitioners of witchcraft. The law therefore, targeted women more than men, and women viewed themselves as evil. The evil they committed made them sin more than men who considered themselves stronger, thus, easy for them to resist any temptation brought by Satan. The magistrates on the other hand agreed with those sentiments and, thus convicted women for being evil and agents of Satan (Reis 12). Witches were considered as agents of Satan. Reis also observes the changing perception that people had of the devil. She gives the account of the 17th and 18th century where the clergy and the congregation had changed their opinion of evil. The author's observation gives the importance of the Salem trials. It became the turning point for Christian's views. The Salem trials as presented by Reis, however, raise the question on the reasons why women were convicted of witchcraft. Another question that arises is the reason why many women made the most confessions. However, one cannot overlook the significance of the book because it gives the accounts that led to the views of Christians today. The author tries to stay focused and true to her message throughout the book. She uses a first-hand account of the people who were present at the time. The arrangement of the book allows readers to stay focused on the issue being presented by Reis. .
Elizabeth Reis' book highlights events that took place during the 17th century and part of the 18th century. The two periods offer an insight into the changing perception of the people about Satan. Reis goes further into explaining the role that women played during those trials.