Tuesday, April 21, 2015

...book review of Hannah Nordhaus’ _American Ghost: A Family's Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest_...

American Ghost: A Family's Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest by Hannah Nordhaus
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Harper (March 10, 2015)

This is a quick review... 

I didn’t exactly know what I was getting into when my fella read a recommendation and told me to read American Ghost: A Family's Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest by Hannah Nordhaus. I trust him so when he said, “I think you’ll like this”, I bought the book without even reading a review. I’ve been on a fiction kick lately; I was pleasantly surprised this was non-fiction. It begins with a ghost story… a myth perhaps?

(click here for a video about this book and the haunting story)-- sorry, for some reason it won't let me embed

The author sets out to write a memoir about Julia Schuster Staab, a mid-19th Century immigrant and the author’s great-great-grandmother whose ghost is said to haunt a hotel in Santa Fe.

The story begins with the alleged haunting and then unpacks the entire history of Julia as well as the author’s life. It includes the author’s recountings of interviews of psychics, mediums, and family members. The memoir is about her family heritage but she is able to make the story of an immigrant woman in the mid-1800s New Mexico a universal story that takes readers from Santa Fe to towns in Germany, from present time to the past in various locations. There are several what ifs while the author attempts to answer the question, “Who is Julia Schuster Staab?” It’s beautifully written and haunting… but less about a haunting and more about women during that time and the choices that they had to make.


  1. I love the sound of this book, thank you for sharing! :)

  2. History AND ghosts? I'm sold. Thanks for the recommendation!