Ghost Dances by Josh Garrett-Davis
Proving Up on the Great Plains

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Growing up in South Dakota, Josh Garrett-Davis knew he would leave. But as a young adult, he kept going back--in dreams and reality and by way of books. With this beautifully written narrative about a seemingly empty but actually rich and complex place, he has reclaimed his childhood, his unusual family--and the Great Plains.

Among the subjects and people that bring his Midwestern Plains to life are the destruction and resurgence of the American bison; Native American "Ghost Dancers," who attempted to ward off destruction by supernatural means; the political allegory to be found in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz; and current attempts by ecologists to "rewild" the Plains, complete with cheetahs. Garrett-Davis infuses the narrative with stories of his family as well--including his great-great-grandparents' twenty-year sojourn in Nebraska as homesteaders and his progressive Methodist cousin Ruth, a missionary in China ousted by Mao's revolution. GHOST DANCES is a fluid combination of memoir and history and reportage that reminds us our roots matter.

About Josh Garrett-Davis

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Josh Garrett-Davis has an MFA from Columbia and is currently a PhD student in American history at Princeton. Ghost Dances is his first book.
Published August 21, 2012 by Little, Brown and Company. 309 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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After becoming firmly established in his new life in the East, Garrett-Davis nevertheless finds himself gazing at the Bronx Zoo's captive bison, struggling to grasp the narrative of his own life on the Great Plains.

Jul 01 2012 | Read Full Review of Ghost Dances: Proving Up on t...

Publishers Weekly

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While some narrative themes feel forced (he likens the custody battle his divorced parents fought over him to the legal battle fought between fossil-hunters and Native American landowners over a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton), Garrett-Davis writes evocatively of “the latent fury in this monotonous...

Jun 04 2012 | Read Full Review of Ghost Dances: Proving Up on t...

Full Stop

After recounting the tales of all those who at one point in history called themselves natives of the Plains, Garrett-Davis moves on to constructing the future of the Plains in the final section.

Sep 28 2012 | Read Full Review of Ghost Dances: Proving Up on t...

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