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Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places (2016)

av Colin Dickey

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
7483730,815 (3.63)22
Dickey, piqued by a house hunt in Los Angeles that revealed derelict foreclosures and "zombie houses", embarks on a journey across the continental United States to decode and unpack the American history repressed in our most famous haunted places. With boundless curiosity, Dickey conjures the dead by focusing on questions of the living -- how do we deal with stories about ghosts, and how do we inhabit and move through spaces that have been deemed haunted? Paying attention not only to the true facts behind a ghost story, but also to the ways in which changes are made to those facts and why, Dickey paints a version of American history left out of the textbooks, one of things left undone and crimes left unsolved.… (mer)
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» Se även 22 omnämnanden

Visa 1-5 av 37 (nästa | visa alla)
Pretty decent. Don't know exactly why it didn't really get me though. Oh well. ( )
  Eavans | Feb 17, 2023 |
Debunks many of the most famous ghost stories in the US, from the Winchester Castle to Gettysburg to the French Quarter in NO, but still managed to creep me right out. This is a unique and interesting approach to US history. ( )
  IVLeafClover | Jun 21, 2022 |
Wasn't at all what I was expecting, though I admit I only briefly skimmed the synopsis before borrowing it. Part of me repeatedly felt almost let down by how Dickey would present the bones of a ghost story, only to turn around and thoroughly debunk it. I was also a little taken aback by how deeply rooted racism and classism appear to be in tales of hauntings, though why I should be surprised I have no idea. I feel educated, though not in a way that makes me feel warm inside. That wasn't the point, though, I can now see.

(Though I did enjoy the section about Stull Cemetery, if only because it featured in Supernatural. I wonder how many gawkers and troublemakers that story arc might have sent there to explore.) ( )
  clrichm | May 13, 2022 |
Although I enjoy the concept of this book, there's just something about the author's tone that grates at me. I found myself getting less interested in the Book the further I got into it. The histories are often vague, but then there are tangents branching off into unnecessary detail.

Don't read this if you're looking for good ghost stories- the author spends more time dissecting and debunking them. (And although the book jacket assures that this book will be "spellbinding, scary, and wickedly insightful," I cannot say that it is any of those to me.) ( )
  bookwyrmqueen | Oct 25, 2021 |
I tried so hard to finish this book, but from the moment that the author quoted Freud in his introduction I knew it wasn’t meant to be. Dickey makes history exactly what it isn’t: dry. Don’t get me wrong, he’s obviously done an absolutely impressive amount of research but it does little to improve what I can only call “word soup.” If I wanted to read a book condemning social practices and shortcomings of the past I’d go looking for it, but I wanted to read a book of ghost stories and how they influenced American culture and how American culture influenced them. This isn’t that book. I managed to be bored while reading about the Winchester Mystery House. A feat, I assure you. Best of luck if you try to read this one. ( )
  cthuwu | Jul 28, 2021 |
Visa 1-5 av 37 (nästa | visa alla)
The most fascinating moments in “Ghostland” are Dickey’s etymological musings (on terms like “haunt,” “cemetery,” “ruin porn” and “ghost town”) and his many turns down unusual paths of American history. His discussion of the links between 19th-century Spiritualism, the early feminist movement and contemporary New Age beliefs; his account of the red dwarf who is said to have haunted Detroit since the city’s founding, in 1701; and his recognition that ghost stories can aid the work of historic preservation: All of these are absorbing. While many of the ghost stories he recounts can be found in academic treatments as well as lighthearted local guides, with “Ghostland,” Dickey achieves a capacious geographical synthesis that is both intellectually intriguing and politically instructive.
tillagd av Lemeritus | ändraThe New York Times, Tiya Miles (betalvägg) (Oct 27, 2016)
 
Throughout history, ghost stories have been used to make money, offer a moral, mark a location, and explain the unexplainable, among many other functions.... An intriguing but somewhat uneven exploration of things unseen.
tillagd av Lemeritus | ändraKirkus Review (Jul 31, 2016)
 
Grouping haunts into four categories—houses, hangouts, institutions, and entire towns—he shows how the persistence of these ghost stories, especially when their details change with the times, say more about the living than the dead.... Dickey embeds all of the fanciful tales he recounts in a context that speaks “to some larger facet of American consciousness.”
tillagd av Lemeritus | ändraPublishers Weekly (Jul 4, 2016)
 

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The main work of haunting is done by the living. - Judith Richardson
Ghostland lies beyond the jurisdiction of veracity. - Nathaniel Hawthorne
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August 1933, a summer's day in Manhattan's Lower East Side.
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A paranormal event without a story is tenuous, fragile. What makes it “real,” at least in a sense, is the story, the tale that grounds the event. That sense of the uncanny, of something not-quite-right, of things ever-so-slightly off, cries out for an explanation, and often we turn to ghosts for that explanation.
A spinster and one who seemed to resist time in a place as restless as New York City, Gertrude Tredwell embodies a set of ideas—and anxieties—about women, domesticity, and modernity. Likewise, in the ghost of threadbare Samuel Tredwell we have a story of disinheritance and filial failure that reflects how we as a culture treat men who don’t live up to certain concepts of masculinity. Add to this the overbearing portrait of Seabury himself, and what the Merchant’s House offers is an uncanny portrait of the American family, one that frustrates our basic assumptions about how a father and his children should act.
Our ghost stories center on unfinished endings, broken relationships, things left unexplained.
We like to view this country as a unified, cohesive whole based on progress, a perpetual refinement of values, and an arc of history bending toward justice—but the prevalence of ghosts suggests otherwise. The ghosts who haunt our woods, our cemeteries, our houses, and our cities appear at moments of anxiety and point to instability in our national and local identities.
Our country’s ghost stories are themselves the dreams (or nightmares) of a nation, the Freudian slips of whole communities: uncomfortable and unbidden expressions of things we’d assumed were long past and no longer important.
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Dickey, piqued by a house hunt in Los Angeles that revealed derelict foreclosures and "zombie houses", embarks on a journey across the continental United States to decode and unpack the American history repressed in our most famous haunted places. With boundless curiosity, Dickey conjures the dead by focusing on questions of the living -- how do we deal with stories about ghosts, and how do we inhabit and move through spaces that have been deemed haunted? Paying attention not only to the true facts behind a ghost story, but also to the ways in which changes are made to those facts and why, Dickey paints a version of American history left out of the textbooks, one of things left undone and crimes left unsolved.

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