Many examples of nightmares are presented and explained. The content of nightmares is given unusually detailed attention, and the latest science on nightmares is succinctly reviewed. Tables in every chapter summarize existing findings and conclusions on nightmares, and strategies for dealing with nightmares are described. In this novel view, McNamara shows why, rather than being harmful, nightmares can be a helpful adaptive system. The special theme of spirit possession, which frequently occurs in nightmares, is discussed and related to similar themes in horror movies and horror fiction.
"…the author illustrates findings in clear tables and graphs and includes an extensive list of references…Well written and including a wealth of information…Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals."
"In the tradition of dream studies, McNamara breaks new ground for future theories about the nightmare. The nightmare resembles any other adaptive system, in its functional design and the problem it addressed for ancestral populations. For readers, fascinated with the origin of nightmares, the brain's physiology and current trends in neuroscience, McNamara's book offers a concrete and perhaps less bleak look at nightmares."
Draws us into the world of nightmares, explaining what is known, suspected, and still mysterious about them, as well as why they might not be a sign of disorder but, instead, like a fever - unpleasant yet adaptive and even life-giving.