American Ghost


National Bestseller
Denver Post Best Book of 2015
“20 Books We’ll Read in 2015” – ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
“7 Must-Read Books for March” – ELLE MAGAZINE

American Ghost is beautifully written and self-aware, a memoir that tells a story and searches for broader lessons. …. not just the story of a haunting, but a story that will haunt its readers.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Astonishing…. Every aspect of the account is enlightening, well written, and entertaining. [A] touching and uplifting work.”
Library Journal (starred review)

“Nordhaus attacks her subject with the same scholarship and lively writing that made her nonfiction debut, The Beekeeper’s Lament, a beloved best-seller. Her second interweaves ghost hunts with memoir, Western lore, history, travelogue and family annals.”
Dallas Morning News

“A colorful and engrossing quest…. In exhuming Julia’s story, Nordhaus asks questions mere enthusiasts might not: Do tales like Julia’s ferret out truths or bend them to fit contemporary molds?…. Such introspection deepens her genealogical quest into a satisfying philosophical one as well.”
Elle Magazine

“[A] funny, moving, and suspenseful tale.”
The Week

“Complex and intriguing…. American Ghost is a multi-genre work that succeeds on a number of levels.”
The Denver Post

“[A] graceful and ominous family history…. American Ghost is a purview into a Jewish subculture no less rich, factious or historically relevant than the Pale of Settlement or the Lower East Side.”

“In this captivating book, award-winning journalist Hannah Nordhaus examines the story of her great-great-grandmother Julia, who is said to haunt a hotel in Santa Fe as a dark-eyed ghost in a long black gown.”

“Whether you believe in ghosts or are just intrigued by their persistence in popular culture, American Ghost is itself a haunting story about the long reach of the past.”
Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air

“In this intriguing book, [Nordhaus] shares her journey to discover who her immigrant ancestor really was — and what strange alchemy made the idea of her linger long after she was gone.”
People Magazine

“Hannah Nordhaus braids personal memoir with historical research and resolute ghost hunting in a narrative that investigates the restless spirit of her great-great-grandmother Julia Schuster Staab.”
Boston Globe

“Part travelogue, part memoir, part ghost story, part history. . . . Nordhaus offers a deeply compelling personal account of her attempts to better understand her own family. . . . The book’s unique blend of genres and its excellent writing make it hard to put down.”
Booklist (starred review)

A “unique collision of family history, Wild West adventure, and ghost story…. Perceptive, witty, and engaging.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Nordhaus’s chronicle of her unlikely pioneer ancestors is fascinating and frequently surprising. Ultimately, American Ghost is a reflection on how the unresolved questions in our own histories can be even more haunting than ghosts.”
Shelf Awareness

“Incredibly moving…. For anyone who loved reading Time-Life Mysteries of the Unknown books as a kid before setting them aside in favor of the triple fact-checked reporting of The New Yorker, American Ghost is a treat that appeals to both the mystery-craving and truth-loving parts of the brain. Written with heart, sensitivity, and intelligence….”
5280 Magazine

“A fascinating and nuanced account of her ancestral ghost story and her complicated clan.”

“Hannah Nordhaus writes a detective story, although it’s not fiction, and a ghost story, although it’s not a chiller. It’s biography and history and the product of investigative research, yet everything of power, even scholarly process, must come from the heart, and so does this story.”
Washington Independent Review of Books

“A spirited memoir of one of the earliest Jewish pioneer families in the American West…A delightful travelogue…reads like a novel.”
Jewish Book Council

“An engrossing vehicle for learning historical details about Territorial-era Santa Fe within a compelling narrative.”
New Mexico Magazine

“All of us are haunted — by vestiges of the past, and, as Hannah Nordhaus poignantly observes in American Ghost, by the ghosts of who we thought we were or thought we would become.”
Boulder Weekly

“Nordhaus’s lyrical memoir…untangles truth and legend, the tale of success and the hardships of life, the woman and the ghost.”
Jewish Woman Magazine

“[A] chronicle of German-Jewish immigration to the American Southwest, a reckoning of family secrets, and an account of the author’s personal ghost hunt.”
Santa Fe New Mexican

“A gripping account of frontier life from an immigrant Jewish woman’s perspective. It is the author’s connection of the past where she explores the story, trying to separate the history and the myth.”
Working Mother

“Nordhaus takes us on a journey back in time — by any means possible — in order to draw a better picture of who her great-great-grandmother was…”
Washington Post

“Hannah Nordhaus’s carefully sifted and exquisitely well-told reconstruction of a frontier family… is a different sort of Western, a deeply feminine story with a strong whiff of the paranormal—Willa Cather meets Stephen King.”
Hampton Sides, author of Blood and Thunder and In the Kingdom of Ice

“I don’t believe in ghosts, but I believe in the beautiful literary afterlife Hannah Nordhaus has given her great-great-grandmother. American Ghost is a perfect blend of compassionate empathy, hardheaded journalism, and lucid writing.”
Mary Doria Russell, author of The Sparrow, Doc, and Epitaph

“Tenaciously researched and beautifully written, American Ghost gives flesh to a lost story, exhumes a bygone world, and animates the ways in which the past haunts all of us. Hannah Nordhaus has performed a lyrical feat of dead-raising.”
Benjamin Wallace, author of The Billionaire’s Vinegar

American Ghost is at once an engrossing portrait of a forgotten female pioneer and a fascinating meditation on the fine line between history and lore. Hannah Nordhaus has crafted a seamless blend of gripping mystery, moving family confessional, and chilling ghost story.”
Karen Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy

“Hannah Nordhaus approaches the legend of her great-great-grandmother’s ghost with the insight of an historian and the energy of an inspired detective. A fine tale well told. I loved every word.”
Anne Hillerman, author of Spider Woman’s Daughter

Read the first chapter of American Ghost on Scribd.