A History of Witchcraft Sorcerers, Heretics & Pagans

Jeffrey B. Russell, Brooks Alexander

An authoritative and concise history of witchcraft from the ancient world up to the present day.

Witchcraft has always been a fluid and intriguing belief system that has enchanted and sometimes terrified humanity. Now in its third edition, A History of Witchcraft has established itself as the authoritative history of witchery and the occult. Beginning with magic in the ancient world, Jeffrey B. Russell explores the definition of witchcraft in its many diverse forms, from the worship of the Greek goddess of magic, Hecate, and the witch crazes of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries to the development of modern witchcraft by Aleister Crowley and Gerald Gardner in the early twentieth century.

Brooks Alexander analyzes the development of witchcraft and neo-paganism in the present day, charting the dissemination of modern witchcraft through media and the tensions that arise when a secretive cult becomes an open and recognized religion. This updated edition features a new chapter exploring the challenges that witchcraft has faced in the past decade, including the rise of social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, the COVID-19 pandemic, and new neo-pagan groups.


Jeffrey B. Russell


Jeffrey B. Russell (1934-2023) was professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Brooks Alexander


Brooks Alexander is the author of Witchcraft Goes Mainstream and has written numerous articles on witchcraft and neo-paganism and their effect on contemporary religious movements. He lives in Texas.