- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 8 hours and 37 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Tantor Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: March 10, 2015
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00TSRW3WO
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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American Ghost: A Family's Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest Audiobook – Unabridged
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The story was interesting as a history, and I was especially engaged when the author told of her encounters with mediums, spiritualists, and ghost hunters - some of who seemed fairly on target and others who were clearly way off base.
Sometimes the story dragged on a little in its exploration and seemed to deviate off track, but when exploring something nebulous like a legendary haunting, I guess the author was justified in wandering a little. I recommend this book for people who like reading about interesting family histories - of a resilient, driven, prosperous (and possibly tyrannical) man, and a wife who, after being taken out of her element succumbs to the stress, the strain of loss and loneliness, and pioneer life to which she was ill suited.
The (true) story takes us through generations of a very successful and wealthy German Jewish family, both on the frontier and in their travels around the United States and Europe, but always returning to the saga of Julia Staab (the great-great-grandmother and/or ghost in question) and her husband and children. The story is fascinating and is "interrupted" (delightfully, in my view) by Ms. Nordhaus's visits with various and sundry mediums, some of whom seem, well, less than authentic in their efforts to communicate with Julia. Ms. Nordhaus perseveres and actually learns a great deal about the family, even though some major mysteries are left unsolved. The very fact that the family's tale isn't wrapped up in a box with a pretty bow, and the fact that the story is a mix of sadness and humor, makes it more realistic.
I can't give it five stars for two reasons -- first, there's a rather lengthy digression about a sister of Julia who died in a concentration camp. It's not a frivolous digression, but it's a digression nonetheless. Second, there's a sort of touchy-feely "soliloquy" towards the end of the book that I could have lived without. That said, I very much enjoyed the book.
This is a true story and one that is pretty amazing as well. It takes you from Europe to the South-West and back again. The author did a great job of investigating all matters of these people's lives. She truly did all the leg work by going to each location. This keeps the book's flow going and it moves right along in a seamless manner.
The only thing I didn't agree with - was her 'conclusions' about certain events. She put her own focus of reality onto these people. First at the beginning she was sure of this or that fact only to find out she was wrong. Later on she uses psychics and other methods of trying to learn about Julia and her family. I don't mind psychics at all. However, I don't think you can 'assume' they are always correct.
However, since this is her very own relative and it's her book - she, as the author, has every right to put forth her own ideas and assumptions whether they are right or wrong. As a genealogist - you must rely strictly to facts that have proof on documents. As a person who is just trying to learn about her family - you don't have to rely only on documents or proof. There is room for speculation and/or conjecture in just story telling.
Basically - if you like true stories about real people from the past - I don't see why you wouldn't like this book. It does take you on a journey and ends up with results that were unknown & unexpected. I think Julia would be proud of her descendant for caring enough to do all the research and asking the hard questions.
Hopefully this is one ghost who can now be at peace and who can move on to where-ever ghosts go to.