I left christianity
for my sanity, so I can't leave a comment, but I wanted to let you know of it anyway, since Puritans are very important to my theological traditions and convictions. I hope you don't mind. :)
I recommend two works. The first is a proper, but easy, book -- J.I. Packer's "The Quest for Godliness", and the second is this brief essay
on what a Puritan is. Technically, it should be available online, though I couldn't find it, but I would also want to recommend William Bradshaw's "English Puritanism" (also translated by William Ames from the Latin).
be divorced from the Protestant Reformation as it simply was, in its most basic form, the English branch of the Protestant Reformation. Look to the Reformed (not Lutheran or Arminian) churches on the continent during the Reformation, and you will have the roots of Puritanism, since the first Puritans were those who came back to England, out of exile, after Bloody Mary's death.
Edited to add: P.S. I like your friends only banner -- it made me laugh
ETA (again -- sorry!): You asked about the Salem Witch Trials... It should be mentioned that New England Puritanism is... a problem. Mostly because it was isolated geographically, and so this created different circumstances.Edited at 2008-09-10 04:24 am (UTC)