Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Ancestral Shadows: An Anthology of Ghostly Tales Hardcover – April 1, 2004

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$41.94 $13.50

The Underground Railroad
The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

American historian and advocate of political-cultural conservatism Kirk (1918-94) also wrote fantasy fiction, including the 19 ghost stories that this volume collocates for the first time. Although they have the old-fashioned psychological and descriptive texture of great turn-of-the-twentieth-century ghost stories, they are uniquely theological. A Catholic, Kirk was an orthodox believer in good and evil, sin, repentance, salvation, and, especially, judgment. Most ghosts in his stories are characteristically and actively agents of God's judgment. They literally quash the evil and save the good. Occasionally, in the case of some spirits in "The Invasion of the Church of the Holy Ghost," ghosts are agents of Satan, but such aren't as powerful as God's ghosts, for evil can't be as powerful as goodness. Some of Kirk's confections display their theological programming too obviously, but when powered also by a great character, such as Manfred Arcane, minister without portfolio of the Commonwealth Hamnegri and hero of two stories (and two of Kirk's three novels), they are rich and exceptional masterpieces. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Russell Kirk (1918–1994) was an eminent literary and social critic who rose to national prominence in 1953 with the publication of his book The Conservative Mind. The founding editor of Modern Age and The University Bookman, he wrote more than thirty books, including his memoirs, The Sword of Imagination (Eerdmans).
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 410 pages
  • Publisher: ISI Distributed Titles; 1st edition (April 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080283938X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802839381
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,012,704 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Maxwell Goss on November 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Russell Kirk was not only an exceptional historian, moralist, cultural critic, and man of letters. He was also a superb prose stylist, as anyone who has read The Conservative Mind or The Sword of the Imagination knows. In Ancestral Shadows, a collection of ghostly tales written over a period of roughly twenty-five years, Dr. Kirk displays his mastery of the English language as he weaves startling and often stirring "tales of the preternatural." Eerdmans Publishing has done the reading public a real service in bringing out this handsome volume.

As Vigen Guroian notes in his helpful introduction, Dr. Kirk is widely regarded as having developed the gothic genre by imbuing it with a distinctive moral and metaphysical character. In "A Cautionary Note on the Ghostly Tale," included in this volume, Dr. Kirk himself writes: "Alarming though (I hope) readers may find these tales, I do not write them to impose meaningless terror upon the innocent...What I have attempted, rather, are experiments in the moral imagination." In this he succeeds admirably. The reader of his ghost stories is treated not only to terror and suspense, but to an occasional, delicious glimpse of the eternal order underlying our own.

The heart of the book is found in "A Long, Long Trail A-Winding" and "Watchers at the Straight Gate," a pair of tales about Frank Sarsfield, whose character is modeled after that of Dr. Kirk's hobo friend Clinton Wallace. These stories are eery and beautiful; I confess I never expected to feel uplifted by a ghost story. Other favorites of mine include the early "Ex Tenebris," which conveys, delightfully and gruesomely, Dr. Kirk's contempt for the modern bureaucrat, and "An Encounter by Mortstone Pond," a poignant reflection on the mystery of human existence.
Read more ›
Comment 33 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
The publication of "Ancestral Shadows" is a major event for fans of the ghost story genre and Russell Kirk but also for the reputation of the literary supernatural tale. Russell Kirk (along with the recently deceased Jack Cady) ranks as one of the few top-notch, modern American ghost story writers, and for far too long Kirk's stories have been out of print. This book collects all but a very few of Kirk's lesser tales (which are available for die-hards and completists in the pricey but gorgeous recent Kirk collection produced by Ash-Tree Press in two volumes).
The stories in this collection include many of the best ghostly tales ever written, including "Lex Talionis," "Fate's Purse," "Watchers at the Straight Gate," & "The Invasion of the Church of the Holy Ghost." Not to mention Kirk's masterpiece, "There's a Long, Long Trail A-Winding"--if you can read this one alone in your home after dark and, once you finish it, not be driven to turn on every light in the house (and maybe your stereo as well), then you're a braver soul than I. Kirk indulges several of the genre's conventions and breathes new life into them while giving us a whole host of wonderful characters as unforgettable as the denizens of a Dickens novel. The collection does include two or three stories that drop below the high standard of Kirk's usual tales, but this in no way diminishes the his accomplishments as a virtuoso writer crafting prose that is as cultivated and engaging in its own way as that of Flannery O'Connor or F. Scott Fitzgerald.
The dust jacket blurbs--of the rare, substantive variety--lend much legitimacy to Kirk's status as a significant literary figure, culled as these blurbs are from such diverse sources as Ray Bradbury, Madeline L'Engle, T. S. Eliot, Thomas Howard, and Robert Aickman.
Read more ›
Comment 27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent compilation from the very talented but now sadly deceased Russell Kirk. Dr. Kirk writes about ghosts but there is Hope and Joy to be found in his stories. The story which stands out most in my mind is "There's A Long, Long Trail A'Winding " which is about a drifter's search for some meaning and sense in his life. If you have ever spent a long, lonely night in a big deserted mansion then you wil realize that things are not always what they appear to be.There is true Joy and Redemption to be found in this tale which is a rarity in your everyday ghost story. RIP Dr. Kirk.The Literary world lost a great talent with your passing.
Comment 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Many know Kirk only as historian and political philosopher, father of the modern American conservative movement through such books as THE CONSERVATIVE MIND FROM BURKE TO ELIOT (1st ed. 1953), and that was without doubt his most lasting legacy. But he was also an extraordinary author of Gothic tales, all of which carry profound messages about personality, ethics, and the eternal conflict between good and evil, often in the same person. If you like fascinating ghost stories, this collection is for you!
Comment 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Russell Kirk was a thoughtful and principled paleo-conservative, a species nearly as extinct as the liberal Republican. Like H.P. Lovecraft, Kirk could be called a reactionary born in the wrong time, but his tales of ghosts and the supernatural are terrific and well-written. Unlike Lovecraft, Kirk's universe is dominated by a struggle between Good and Evil, and there is such a thing as Cosmic Justice. My favorite story here is "There's a Long, Long Trail a-Winding," which would have made a great "Twilight Zone" episode. Another story, "Sorworth Place," was made into an episode of Rod Serling's Night Gallery.
Comment 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?