Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews


If Howard Zinn were interested in ghosts, he may have written something like Colin Dickey's Ghostland. Sort of a Ghosts' History of the United States, Dickey's survey of haunted houses, hotels, prisons, parks, and more reveals the unquiet legacy of our unspoken and often unspeakable past. This thoughtful and meticulously researched work does exactly what popular history should: it entertains while edifying.

 

 

— Sparks

Description


One of NPR's Great Reads of 2016
A lively assemblage and smart analysis of dozens of haunting stories absorbing and] intellectually intriguing. The New York Times Book Review

An intellectual feast for fans of offbeat history, Ghostlandtakes readers on a road trip through some of the country's most infamously haunted places and deep into the dark side of our history.


Colin Dickey is on the trail of America's ghosts. Crammed into old houses and hotels, abandoned prisons and empty hospitals, the spirits that linger continue to capture our collective imagination, but why? His own fascination piqued by a house hunt in Los Angeles that revealed derelict foreclosures and "zombie homes," Dickey embarks on a journey across the continental United States to decode and unpack the American history repressed in our most famous haunted places. Some have established reputations as "the most haunted mansion in America," or "the most haunted prison"; others, like the haunted Indian burial grounds in West Virginia, evoke memories from the past our collective nation tries to forget.
With boundless curiosity, Dickey conjures the dead by focusing on questions of the living how do we, the living, deal with stories about ghosts, and how do we inhabit and move through spaces that have been deemed, for whatever reason, haunted? Paying attention not only to the true facts behind a ghost story, but also to the ways in which changes to those facts are made and why those changes are made Dickey paints a version of American history left out of the textbooks, one of things left undone, crimes left unsolved.
Spellbinding, scary, and wickedly insightful, Ghostland discovers the past we're most afraid to speak of aloud in the bright light of day is the same past that tends to linger in the ghost stories we whisper in the dark.

About the Author


Colin Dickeygrew up in San Jose, California, a few miles from the Winchester Mystery House, the most haunted house in America. As a writer, speaker, and academic, he has made a career out of collecting unusual objects and hidden histories all over the country. He's a regular contributor to theLA Review of BooksandLapham's Quarterly, and is the co-editor (with Joanna Ebenstein) of The Morbid Anatomy Anthology. He is also a member of the Order of the Good Death, a collective of artists, writers, and death industry professionals interested in improving the Western world's relationship with mortality. With a PhD in comparative literature from the University of Southern California, he is an associate professor of creative writing at National University."


Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9781101980194
ISBN-10: 1101980192
Publisher: Viking
Publication Date: October 4th, 2016
Pages: 336
Language: English