Ghostland by Colin Dickey
An American History in Haunted Places

66%

5 Critic Reviews

“What does it mean to whitewash the spirits of a city?” Dickey asks. “Does Virginia have ghosts that it is not yet ready to face?” An intriguing but somewhat uneven exploration of things unseen.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

"Dickey is one of the sharpest and most erudite writers around, and his new book makes for a perfect Halloween read."—Men's Journal

An intellectual feast for fans of offbeat history, Ghostland takes 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 Colin Dickey

See more books from this Author
Colin Dickey is the co-editor of Failure! Experiments in Aesthetic and Social Practices. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Cabinet, TriQuarterly, and The Santa Monica Review. A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, he now lives in Los Angeles. Author photo by Seth Sherwood.
 
Published October 4, 2016 by Viking. 331 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Religion & Spirituality, Travel. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Ghostland
All: 5 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Below average
on Jul 31 2016

“What does it mean to whitewash the spirits of a city?” Dickey asks. “Does Virginia have ghosts that it is not yet ready to face?” An intriguing but somewhat uneven exploration of things unseen.

Read Full Review of Ghostland: An American Histor... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Good
on Oct 26 2016

His book is a fascinating, measured assessment of phenomena more often exploited for sensationalism.

Read Full Review of Ghostland: An American Histor... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Tiya miles on Oct 27 2016

“Ghostland” amounts to a lively assemblage and smart analysis of dozens of haunting stories, some better known than others. In each chapter, Dickey spins riveting tales and then carefully unwinds these narratives...

Read Full Review of Ghostland: An American Histor... | See more reviews from NY Times

LA Times

Above average
Reviewed by Tom Zoellner on Oct 14 2016

But the scholastic throat-clearing quickly gives way to a bravura performance of storytelling, in an elegant prose style throughout that does not sacrifice intelligence for readability.

Read Full Review of Ghostland: An American Histor... | See more reviews from LA Times

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Tiya miles on Oct 30 2016

“Ghostland” amounts to a lively assemblage and smart analysis of dozens of haunting stories, some better known than others.

Read Full Review of Ghostland: An American Histor... | See more reviews from NY Times

Reader Rating for Ghostland
77%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 22 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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