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American Ghost
American Ghost: A Family's Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest | Hannah Nordhaus
33 posts | 19 read | 33 to read
The award-winning journalist and author of The Beekeeper's Lament attempts to uncover the truth about her great-great-grandmother, Julia--whose ghost is said to haunt an elegant hotel in Santa Fe--in this spellbinding exploration of myth, family history, and the American West. The dark-eyed woman in the long black gown was first seen in the 1970s, standing near a fireplace. She was sad and translucent, present and absent at once. Strange things began to happen in the Santa Fe hotel where she was seen. Gas fireplaces turned off and on without anyone touching a switch. Vases of flowers appeared in new locations. Glasses flew off shelves. And in one second-floor suite with a canopy bed and arched windows looking out to the mountains, guests reported alarming events: blankets ripped off while they slept, the room temperature plummeting, disembodied breathing, dancing balls of light. La Posada--"place of rest"--had been a grand Santa Fe home before it was converted to a hotel. The room with the canopy bed had belonged to Julia Schuster Staab, the wife of the home's original owner. She died in 1896, nearly a century before the hauntings were first reported. In American Ghost, Hannah Nordhaus traces the life, death, and unsettled afterlife of her great-great-grandmother Julia, from her childhood in Germany to her years in the American West with her Jewish merchant husband. American Ghost is a story of pioneer women and immigrants, ghost hunters and psychics, frontier fortitude and mental illness, imagination and lore. As she traces the strands of Julia's life, Nordhaus uncovers a larger tale of how a true-life story becomes a ghost story--and how difficult it can sometimes be to separate history and myth.
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Cinfhen
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#MOvember I don‘t understand the low Litsy ratings!!!??! This book is part memoir, part Wild West narrative, part ghost story, part Jewish history and it‘s truly fascinating. Hannah Nordhaus traces her families roots from 1800‘s Germany to a little #GhostTown in Santa Fe in the early 1900‘s where her great great grandmother is said to haunt her once elegant mansion which is now a boutique hotel.

TrishB This is the weird algorithm!! As most of the posts aren‘t even ratings. 1mo
ljuliel I read the book and thought it was ok. Not terrific, but not bad. The rating system in here is a bit hard to figure out. You do the 👍🏼👎🏼👉🏽or bail. That‘s why I try to rate with stars if I have the space. When I read this, it reminded me of the tv show Ghost Adventures . I like ghost shows that don‘t go overboard, but that Zak dude is a bit on the edge 🙄. They supposedly investigated this place. (edited) 1mo
Cinfhen I really liked the history @ljuliel I wasn‘t aware that Jews from Germany immigrated out west. It just blew me away. 1mo
See All 9 Comments
Cinfhen The algorithms are SO frustrating @TrishB / I need to be mindful of that when looking up a book on Litsy 1mo
Librarybelle This sounds like a book I would enjoy! Stacking this! 1mo
ljuliel I just looked this up, as your post made me a bit curious. I‘ve always figured that all the folks in our country, no matter what religion or race, generally settled wherever they wanted, whether it was East or West. I found this that tells a bit more about Jewish people settling out West. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_the_United_States 1mo
Tex2Flo How cool to have your own relative be a haunting presence! Intrigued and stacked. 1mo
Cinfhen Thanks for the link @ljuliel ♥️ 1mo
Cinfhen I hope you both pick it up @Tex2Flo @Librarybelle I really enjoyed the journey 1mo
66 likes4 stack adds9 comments
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DarcysMom
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Pickpick
Lauram I‘ve said it before- I enjoy your thoughtful reviews. I‘m going to propose this book the next time I host book club dinner. 9mo
DarcysMom @Lauram 💕💕💕 9mo
51 likes1 stack add2 comments
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DarcysMom
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DarcysMom
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Crazeedi Good job! 9mo
tammysue 👏🏻🙌🏻💜 9mo
70 likes3 comments
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DarcysMom
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63 likes1 stack add
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DarcysMom
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62 likes2 stack adds
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bunny
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Pickpick

A family history with a smidge of a ghost story in it, this was an intriguing look into the past. Definitely recommended for anyone with an interest in genealogy.

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Cinfhen
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#GetMovin Author Hannah Nordhaus traces her family‘s journey from 1800s Germany to the American Southwest, and it‘s fascinating💕Her great great grandmother had a difficult transition and is said to haunt her elegant home, which was later turned into a hotel. Less of a #ghost story this is more of a memoir about the early American settlers❣️👻❣️👻❣️👻 I was hooked...

CaitZ I agree. This was a fascinating book. That hotel is now on my vacation wish list. 2y
Cinfhen I‘m so sad to see the low Litsy rating @CaitZ I really liked this NF ❤️I‘ve never been to Santa Fe, definitely a place I‘d like to visit! 2y
TrishB I think that‘s another bonkers review score! A couple of so-so‘s and 26% 🤷‍♀️ 2y
Cinfhen I hope LT will figure out a new rating/ review system with a few so-so‘s and picks it should be 75% 🤓 @TrishB (edited) 2y
Graywacke Weird math 2y
103 likes7 stack adds5 comments
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shahn77
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Mehso-so

I listened to this book. This is the story of the author's great great grandmother. She is said to haunt her old home which is now a hotel. The writing is fine, but the author didn't really get me interested in this story. She seemed detached from it all and so did I. Also, I didn't really love all the seance stuff. It seemed like instead of doing more in-depth family research, she talked to mediums.

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Elephantango
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This book isn't half bad! It's a measured account of a woman's hunt for answers regarding her roots in New Mexico. And there may or may not be a ghost! If only my family history were that interesting... I'm definitely inspired to DNA swab my cheek!

Laura317 My mom, uncle, daughter and I just did the DNA testing. Trying to find out your family history when little is known is like solving a cold case. 2y
17 likes1 comment
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Hreynolds
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Pickpick

Santa Fe's most famous ghost just happens to be author Hannah Nordhaus' great, great grandmother. An interesting story of her efforts to learn about her family history and understand what might have led her relative to stick around. A great read for anyone who enjoys a good mystery/ghost story...that's all true! #booktober

12 likes2 stack adds
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tarabu42
Pickpick

Enjoyable, rather sweeping history of a city told through the lens of an heir to a founding family. I read this by audio, and found the narrator to be an excellent fit for the story, with a gentle timbre and steady cadence.
Solid 3 stars, I found the author fair and even in her characterizations, the pacing mostly steady, and the timeline generally easy to follow between then and now.

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triskeleseeker
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I've been in a reading slump for weeks, reading almost nothing due to distractions new (I'm pregnant!) and old (neverending dissertation work, now extra-panicked due to baby deadline). Strangely, it's taken this Santa Fe family history/ghost story to break me out; I've devoured most of it in the last 24 hrs. I find it fascinating, perhaps partly because of my love of New Mexico (diss research is there, plus the food is So Good!). Audio is great.

LeahBergen Ooo, congrats!! 3y
triskeleseeker @LeahBergen thank you 😄 3y
9 likes2 comments
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Sweettartlaura
Mehso-so

#bookisholympics #2 #goingforgold

I liked how much the author was able to learn about her great-great-grandparents, and thus how much I learned about the settlement of the American Southwest.

I didn't like how she decried the powers of spiritualists, yet used a lot of them in research. It made her last reflections feel phony and forced.

If you're interested, you'll finish this. If not, you won't miss much by passing on it.

TheSpinecrackersBookClub Woohoo! Keep going 🎉 3y
24 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Sweettartlaura
Mehso-so

#bookisholympics #2
I liked how much the author was able to uncover about her great-great-grandparents, & thus how much I learned about the settlement of the American Southwest.
I didn't like how she dismissed spiritualists, yet spent some time with a lot of them. It made her ending sentiments come off as forced.
If you're interested, you'll finish this. If not, you won't miss much by passing on this one.

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Sweettartlaura
Mehso-so

#bookisholympics #2
I liked how much the author was able to uncover about her great-great-grandparents, and in turn how much I learned about the settlement of the American Southwest.
I didn't like how much she turned to spiritualists, after denouncing it. It made her final musings come off as phony.

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Sweettartlaura
Mehso-so

#bookisholympics #2
I liked how much the author was able to uncover about her great-great-grandparents, and in turn how much I learned about the settlement of the American Southwest.
I didn't like how much she turned to spiritualists, after denouncing it. It made her final musings come off as phony.

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Sweettartlaura
Mehso-so

#bookisholympics #2
I liked how much the author was able to uncover about her great-great-grandparents, and in turn how much I learned about the settlement of the American Southwest.
I didn't like how much she turned to spiritualists, after denouncing it. It made her final musings come off as phony.

review
Sweettartlaura
Mehso-so

#bookisholympics #2
I liked how much the author was able to uncover about her great-great-grandparents, and in turn how much I learned about the settlement of the American Southwest.
I didn't like how much she turned to spiritualists, after denouncing it. It made her final musings come off as phony.

review
Sweettartlaura
Mehso-so

#bookisholympics #2
I liked how much the author was able to uncover about her great-great-grandparents. And I liked how much I learned about the American Southwest as it was being settled.
I didn't like how much the author turned to spiritualists, after first decrying their abilities. It felt forced & phony, & thus so did her final reflections.
If you're interested, you'll finish this. If you're not, you can pass on this and not miss much.

review
Sweettartlaura
Mehso-so

#bookisholympics #2
I liked how much the author was able to uncover about her great-great-grandparents. And I liked how much I learned about the American Southwest as it was being settled.
I didn't like how much the author turned to spiritualists, after first decrying their abilities. It felt forced & phony, & thus so did her final reflections.
If you're interested, you'll finish this. If you're not, you can pass on this and not miss much.

review
Sweettartlaura
Mehso-so

#bookisholympics #2
I liked how much the author was able to uncover about her great-great-grandparents. And I liked how much I learned about the American Southwest as it was being settled.
I didn't like how much the author turned to spiritualists, after first decrying their abilities. It felt forced & phony, & thus so did her final reflections.
If you're interested, you'll finish this. If you're not, you can pass on this and not miss much.

review
Sweettartlaura
Mehso-so

#bookisholympics #2
I liked how much the author was able to uncover about her great-great-grandparents. And I liked how much I learned about the American Southwest as it was being settled.
I didn't like how much the author turned to spiritualists, after first decrying their abilities. It felt forced & phony, & thus so did her final reflections.
If you're interested, you'll finish this. If you're not, you can pass on this and not miss much.

review
Sweettartlaura
Mehso-so

#bookisholympics #2
I liked how much the author was able to uncover about her great-great-grandparents. It's remarkable how much people can leave behind.
And I liked how much I learned about the American Southwest as it was settled.
I didn't like how much the author turned to psychics, mediums, & the like, for someone who purported to not believe in such things. It felt forced, phony, and thus so did her final reflections.

review
Sweettartlaura
Mehso-so

#bookisholympics #2
I liked how much the author was able to uncover about her great-great-grandparents. It's remarkable how much people can leave behind.
And I liked how much I learned about the American Southwest as it was settled.
I didn't like how much the author turned to psychics, mediums, & the like, for someone who purported to not believe in such things. It felt forced, phony, and thus so did her final reflections.

review
Sweettartlaura
Mehso-so

#bookisholympics #2
I liked how much the author was able to uncover about her great-great-grandparents. It's remarkable how much people can leave behind.
And I liked how much I learned about the American Southwest as it was settled.
I didn't like how much the author turned to psychics, mediums, & the like, for someone who purported to not believe in such things. It felt forced, phony, and thus so did her final reflections.

review
Sweettartlaura
Mehso-so

#bookisholympics #2
I liked how much the author was able to uncover about her great-great-grandparents. It's remarkable how much people can leave behind.
And I liked how much I learned about the American Southwest as it was settled.
I didn't like how much the author turned to psychics, mediums, & the like, for someone who purported to not believe in such things. It felt forced, phony, and thus so did her final reflections.

review
Sweettartlaura
Mehso-so

#bookisholympics #2
I liked how much the author was able to uncover about her great-great-grandparents. It's remarkable how much people can leave behind.
And I liked how much I learned about the American Southwest as it was settled.
I didn't like how much the author turned to psychics, mediums, & the like, for someone who purported to not believe in such things. It felt forced, phony, and thus so did her final reflections.

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Sweettartlaura
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Well, I WAS gonna do some shopping. Then this guy decided he needs some love❤️🐱. Guess I'll read a bit longer 📚

Melwilk Good choice! 3y
MrBook 😻 3y
Tanzy13 🐱 3y
LauraBeth How can you say no to that face 😻😻 3y
30 likes4 comments
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Sweettartlaura
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Oooooh, a book about a distant relative haunting the family estate-turned-hotel? And it's nonfiction?! This is turning out to be a great book club pick😍

ImaginativeMom Sounds like an episode of "Ghost Adventures" (only better)! 3y
22 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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Loreen
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Pickpick
3 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Loreen
Pickpick

This book is not what I expected. It's focus is on a famous haunting in Santa Fe and how a descendent of the ghost tries to find out the truth. It's truly a fascinating read for true ghost story lovers.

8 likes1 stack add
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Loreen
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"Motherhood rarely allows for solitude, yet it begets its own kind of isolation: from one's past, from one's youth, from the women we once thought we were and would become."

Elizabeth2 That's a powerful quote. Wow, so true. 4y
Loreen It is. 4y
10 likes2 stack adds2 comments