American Ghost

American Ghost : A Family's Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest

3.42 (2,043 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

"A haunting story about the long reach of the past."--Maureen Corrigan, NPR'S Fresh Air

"In this intriguing book, [Nordhaus] shares her journey to discover who her immigrant ancestor really was--and what strange alchemy made the idea of her linger long after she was gone." --People

La Posada--"place of rest"--was once a grand Santa Fe mansion. It belonged to Abraham and Julia Staab, who emigrated from Germany in the mid-nineteenth century. After they died, the house became a hotel. And in the 1970s, the hotel acquired a resident ghost--a sad, dark-eyed woman in a long gown. Strange things began to happen there: vases moved, glasses flew, blankets were ripped from beds. Julia Staab died in 1896--but her ghost, they say, lives on.

In American Ghost, Julia's great-great-granddaughter, Hannah Nordhaus, traces her ancestor's transfiguration from nineteenth-century Jewish bride to modern phantom. Family diaries, photographs, and newspaper clippings take her on a riveting journey through three hundred years of German history and the American immigrant experience. With the help of historians, genealogists, family members, and ghost hunters, she weaves a masterful, moving story of fin-de-siecle Europe and pioneer life, villains and visionaries, medicine and spiritualism, imagination and truth, exploring how lives become legends, and what those legends tell us about who we are.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 336 pages
  • 160 x 231 x 33mm | 499g
  • New York
  • English
  • Illustrations, unspecified
  • 0062249215
  • 9780062249210

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Back cover copy

La Posada--"place of rest"--was once a grand Santa Fe mansion. It belonged to Abraham and Julia Staab, who emigrated from Germany in the mid-nineteenth century. After they died, the house became a hotel. And in the 1970s, the hotel acquired a resident ghost--a sad, dark-eyed woman in a long gown. Strange things began to happen there: vases moved, glasses flew, blankets were ripped from beds. Julia Staab died in 1896--but her ghost, they say, lives on.

In American Ghost, Julia's great-great-granddaughter, Hannah Nordhaus, traces her ancestor's transfiguration from nineteenth-century Jewish bride to modern phantom. Family diaries, photographs, and newspaper clippings take her on a riveting journey through three hundred years of German history and the American immigrant experience. With the help of historians, genealogists, family members, and ghost hunters, she weaves a masterful, moving story of fin-de-siecle Europe and pioneer life, villains and visionaries, medicine and spiritualism, imagination and truth, exploring how lives become legends, and what those legends tell us about who we are.
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Review quote

"The more Nordhaus digs into the history and explores the supernatural dimensions of the story, the more complex and intriguing it becomes. American Ghost is a multi-genre work that succeeds on a number of levels."--Denver Post
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Rating details

2,043 ratings
3.42 out of 5 stars
5 14% (278)
4 34% (698)
3 36% (739)
2 13% (265)
1 3% (63)
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