Industrial Deals Books Holiday Gift Guide Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_plcc_6M_fly_beacon Adele egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Beauty Deals Gifts Under $50 Amazon Gift Card Offer minions minions minions  Amazon Echo Starting at $84.99 Kindle Black Friday Deals Outdoor Deals on HTL

Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2000
Overall, I really enjoyed this book, although I admit, I did have to wade through a lot of irrelevant information such as the tiresome references to Anne Rice books. I appreciated Ramsland's presentation of the different ideas of what a vampire is and what it represents and possible influences. I really don't feel that she was especially "deep undercover" though. She really didn't go too far past what I would consider to be "goth" culture. Whether or not some of the accounts were true or fabricated (i.e. the Wraith story) they were interesting and even occasionally thought provoking. It was a bit tamer than I expected it to be. I'm not sure the author was completely willing to take any serious risks that might have given the story a better climax.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2001
I sat in my chair for a good while trying to figure out a way in which to not completely trash this book, and could come up with none. While the back of the book promises to take one "deep inside the little known yet growing 'vampire' subculture," it instead drags you through page after page of homo-erotic vampire sex stories. Even the chapter on vampire roleplaying (LARP)degenerates into more homo-erotic nonsense by the end. Is there sexuality in the vampire subculture? Most certainly. Are homosexuals and bisexuals a part of this culture? Yes, they certainly are, and they have their stories to tell too. I just wish it would have been for one chapter instead of the entire book.
In many great vampire works we see the sexual tensions of vampires (Between Louis and Lestat in 'Interview with a Vampire' for example). But it is purposefully underspoken and leaves the viewer/reader to wonder about the true nature of vampires, whether real or lore. Ms. Ramsland can't seem to get past Ms. Rice's work and the more sexually promiscuous vampires she has encountered. Her work on Rice's books was certainly more insightful and enjoyable.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Ramsland's name should be familiar to fans of Anne Rice; she's the author of THE VAMPIRE COMPANION and PRISM OF THE NIGHT: A BIOGRAPHY OF ANNE RICE among others. In PIERCING THE DARKNESS, though, Ramsland moves somewhat beyond her academic interest in the Great Mother of the Vampires into the shadowy world of "real" vampires in America. And if a fault can be found with this book, I believe it's here at the most fundamental level, when Ramsland fails to define her terms to a degree which I could find satisfying. Ostensibly she has chosen to follow in the footsteps of another journalist, Susan Walsh, who disappeared in 1996 while investigating vampire cults in Manhattan. However it seems clear to me that Walsh is something of an excuse for Ramsland, and understandably so, since Walsh's story is a cautionary one. Using it as a foundation for her own investigation would be an aid in walking the fine line between investigative journalism and actually becoming involved in the subculture of America's vampires. Unfortunately it's hard to get a fix on Ramsland, and perhaps that's not a bad thing for a journalist in her position who should remain professionally non-judgmental, but I found it disturbing never to know quite what her position was in terms of what constitutes a "real" vampire as opposed to a poseur. Indeed, she has a discussion along these lines with another investigator, but I found no answer there either.
Never mind all that, though, because the book itself is eminently readable and the subject matter fascinating to anyone who enjoys vampires in film and literature. I would strongly caution readers with delicate sensibilities to give this book a pass, though, since it deals with some very disturbing subject matter: descriptions of blood-letting, sexuality which some consider highly deviant, accounts of body modification and the like all serve to make this book a walk on the dark side. Ramsland is innately honest and doesn't flinch from the grotesque or bloody, nor from describing it, though without recourse to sensationalism. And she writes sympathetically about the people she encounters, never putting herself above or beyond them in any way. In fact, one of the most interesting aspects of the book is her own responses to what she uncovers, her fascination with and willingness to enter this milieu.
For those who find the subject worth investigating further, Ramsland provides a good bibliography, and an excellent list of vampire resources both on and off the net. For my money this book is a fascinating read and well worth your time if you're a vampire aficionado. Highly recommended.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2001
The author spends a lot of time discussing her forays into Goth, vampire, and fetish communities, but gives mostly soundbites about the people she encounters. We go from anecdote to anecdote, without really figuring out why people enter these subcultures, and what their everyday lives are like. She meets some nasty, scary types, with some deeply internalized pain and hostility, and does little to help us understand or sympathize with them.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2006
The book is poorly structured - a rambling mess of anecdote and half-baked psycho-babble.

Much of the 'evidence' is based on surfing the net or unverified hearsay.

I think the author tries too hard to present her 'interviews' and meetings in a conversational style whilst trying to maintain the appearance that they are somehow transcribed. Everyone the author interviews has the same 'voice', this does not help the book's credibility.

The result is material that I simply can't take as serious journalism, let alone social-scientific or psychological inquiry. People (generally speaking), even trained academics, do not all present pages worth of cogent, structured answers to casual questions at 2am over coffee.

The 'emails' from Wraith, apparently the character driving the underlying narrative, are (IMO) clearly contrived stories from the imagination. If they are genuine then the author should have picked this before presenting them as somehow valid and worthy of the book's 'intent'. Again, credibility is an issue.

I gave up on this book after 274 pages worth of frustration and cringing. Every time I pick it up to finish it I remember why it has been collecting dust.

Finally, has anyone counted the number of times the name 'Anne Rice' is dropped into the text? Yes, Rice has been influential on some parts of the goth/vampire subculture. That's fine, mention it once and then GET OVER IT!

I had to start wondering why Ramsland had written the book and Rice hadn't....or if Ramsland received commission for mentioning Rice....or if her publisher said 'Well the only way we're going to sell this damn thing is....'.

If you want to learn something about the subculture of vampyrism I would suggest investing in the works that are the authentic products of people who invest their energy in living lives through the symbolic embodiment of vampyrism.

Unfortunately even 'V' has opening remarks by Ramsland...sigh
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 1999
Given that the subject matter is pretty interesting, I found the book hard to read, mostly because of Ramsland's scattered organization, wierd investigative techniques, and uneven coverage. As befits an Anne Rice scholar, she refers constantly (even relentlessly) to Rice's books, even when it makes no sense to. Considering the constant references to Goth culture, it would have been nice if she'd given us a coherent definition of it first. Also,frankly,some parts of the book were just goofy: the "vampire porno" viewing session (which told us what?), her personal experiences with an "emotional vampire" (which was obviously a personal rant), and the whole encounter with Wraith, the 'real' vampire, which left me feeling that she is so gullible that the rest of her book is seriously questionable. Over all, I would still like to know more about this subculture. I just don't want Ramsland to write anything else.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 1, 2004
If you were to go to all these clubs and such like she did, you would find many characters like the ones in this book. Hell, looking through the pic section I surprisingly saw people I know! So there should not be any debate on authenticity along those lines.

However, it aims to shock the reader - and only suceeds in this towards the end in my opinion. It doesn't divulge into the lives of those who are part of a more focused community, for many it's part of a spiritual journey or part of their being since (and before) birth. True many individuals do spend time at these clubs - The music, dress, and BDSM are all aspects of other things that many enjoy. In short, these "Modern Vampires" was welcome in those ones before they were numerous enough to have their own clubs / events.

She mentioned the role-playing games but didn't once state how it influenced the writing of the Black Veil and later caused controversy, those claiming to be "living vampires" feeling as if it would make them seem like roleplayers themselves. Though even in Houses beliefs can be diverse, but they are nevertheless united.

And I don't remember any mention of Psychic vampirism and such.
Many practitioners practice both Psi and Sang.

I have heard that Ms. Katherine Ramsland recently did an interview with Don Henrie ( Vampire from SCIFI network reality show ) [...] hopefully she has asked him some good questions.

All in all, interesting work, which deviated from the point a bit (exploring underground tombs in France with partying goths)
but nevertheless would surprise many who had no inkling these communities exist.

0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2005
If you took a White-bread Christian and plunked them down in the middle of the Goth Club scene--well that is the jist of this book. The author has little understanding of the Gothic Subculture, much less the diverse Vampire culture, and their deeper connotations in modern society.

She is laughable at times, misguided completely at other times, and sadly mistaken when she tries to explain the fasciantion of/for the vampire.

Anyone who has a toe in the Gothic underworld will wince at her naive observations and chuckle when she classifies Vampire: the Masquerade Role Players as potential mental cases.

In the 1970's and 80's when everyone was bashing D&D as 'The Great Evil to the Minds of Our Youth' claiming that roleplaying caused mental problems in youths. These fanatics are the same target audience this book is trying to reach. Basically it states "Vampires are somewhat real...and your kids will be warped by them." Whoever them is, because she bounces from roleplayers, to teen killers, to the Goth NightClub scene. And in her research she never uncovers the reason as to the disappearence of the journalist she is seeking.
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2000
I took this book out of the library, and I read it cover to cover in a single night. I have since read it three times and each time I find more and more that I seem to miss each time I read it. I found Ms. Ramsland's book to be a veritable treasure trove of insights into the vampire subculture and a glimpse into a darker world than most of us dwell in. She uncovers many secrts that Im sure many would prefer had stayed buried, and which, like the vampire myths themselves shall go through the ages to become the basis of many new myths and modern folklore. I would have given this book and its author 10 stars if I could.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2001
I am a part of the culture that this book was based upon, and I met Ramsland once over a glass of wine in a NYC themed resturaunt. She did do a good deal of research on the culture, yet she presented the material that would sell her book, she did not portray the true vampyre culture. The book is to centered around the homosexual communities attraction to the vampyre, and spends to many pages describing a supposed murderer, whom is confessing his sins to Ramsland, which is both lacking in intelligence and in care for the way that the vampyre culture is portrayed in the public eye. Ramsland should have kept to the original concept of "what happened to Susan Walsh?" If you must read this book, be sure to find a used copy, and to be prepared to still be left with the question of if the vampyre culture is serious or a group of underachieving youths whom are looking for an outlet to express themselves.
The vampyre culture is much more than what Ramsland presented in this book. It has roots dating back to the days when the Pagan was the way and may even go further back than that. Granted Ramsland did portray the surroundings of the night clubs very well, she did not find anyone that could give her an inteligent argument as to why people do beleive in vampyres, or why the vampyre is more than jsust an outlet for those seeking an escape from the captivity of everyday life. Ramsland did go through a good deal of trouble to find " real vampyres", however she became more concerned with blood drinking and the purpose of it when she did have a conversation with a "real vampyre". Very disatisfied with the books ending and how it strayed away from the original concept.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Customers who viewed this also viewed
The Science of Vampires
The Science of Vampires by Katherine Ramsland (Paperback - October 1, 2002)

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.