Book Review #139 – Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places, by Colin Dickey

Hello everyone!

Here is my review for a great non fiction title. It’s Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places, by Colin Dickey.

Get the book from Book Depository



Colin Dickey is on the trail of America’s ghosts. Crammed into old houses and hotels, abandoned prisons and empty hospitals, the spirits that linger continue to capture our collective imagination, but why? His own fascination piqued by a house hunt in Los Angeles that revealed derelict foreclosures and “zombie homes,” Dickey embarks on a journey across the continental United States to decode and unpack the American history repressed in our most famous haunted places. Some have established reputations as “the most haunted mansion in America,” or “the most haunted prison”; others, like the haunted Indian burial grounds in West Virginia, evoke memories from the past our collective nation tries to forget.
With boundless curiosity, Dickey conjures the dead by focusing on questions of the livinghow do we, the living, deal with stories about ghosts, and how do we inhabit and move through spaces that have been deemed, for whatever reason, haunted? Paying attention not only to the true facts behind a ghost story, but also to the ways in which changes to those facts are madeand why those changes are madeDickey paints a version of American history left out of the textbooks, one of things left undone, crimes left unsolved.
Spellbinding, scary, and wickedly insightful, Ghostland discovers the past we’re most afraid to speak of aloud in the bright light of day is the same past that tends to linger in the ghost stories we whisper in the dark.



  • who isn’t fascinated by haunted places?
  • very educational
  • tells history from a very interesting perspective
  • interesting view on America and its own past



  • will disappoint those looking for scary stuff



I learned about this book from some article about beautiful covers from 2016 titles. It’s not surprising because, I mean, just look at it. The synopsis really intrigued me and it seemed like something out of my habits, even for non fiction. I’m not really a big fan of reading about history or historical events. They’re always so factual and I feel like some magic or bedazzle is missing. So, I had my fears going into this one. Maybe it was the topic and how much I love/fear ghosts but I really enjoyed this book. I liked how it compiled different kinds of haunted places and the various reasons for ghosts to be present. Honestly, the more I read, the more I was convinced that they really are real. But my favourite thing about this was how the author analised american history through its haunted places. The whole idea that America is so haunted because of its past of stealing and occupying what’s not rightfully its, makes a lot of sense and it really made me think. It’s way better rooted and explained than what I possibly write since it’s been a while since I’ve read it but it has stuck with me and I would recommend this book for that fact alone. The author made a pretty good job at picking fascinating stories and, that mixed with an interesting tale of personal journey and straightforward information. It’s not as scary as one would expect from such a title and subject but nevertheless, super interesting.

Do yourself a favour an pick this one! You probably won’t regret it.

See you next time,



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