American Ghost

  • by Hannah Nordhaus
  • Narrated by Xe Sands
  • 8 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The dark-eyed woman in the long, black gown was first seen in the 1970s, standing near a fireplace. She was sad and translucent, present and absent at once. Strange things began to happen in the Santa Fe hotel where she was seen. Gas fireplaces turned off and on without anyone touching a switch. Glasses flew off shelves. And in one second-floor suite with a canopy bed and arched windows looking out to the mountains, guests reported alarming events: blankets ripped off while they slept, the room temperature plummeting, disembodied breathing, and dancing balls of light.
La Posada - "place of rest" - had been a grand Santa Fe home before it was converted to a hotel. The room with the canopy bed had belonged to Julia Schuster Staab, the wife of the home's original owner. She died in 1896, nearly a century before the hauntings were first reported. In American Ghost, Hannah Nordhaus traces the life, death, and unsettled afterlife of her great-great-grandmother, Julia, from her childhood in Germany to her years in the American West with her Jewish merchant husband.
As she traces the strands of Julia's life, Nordhaus uncovers a larger tale of how a true-life story becomes a ghost story and how difficult it can sometimes be to separate history and myth.


What the Critics Say

"Perceptive, witty, and engaging, Nordhaus observes that 'it's not so much the ghost that keeps the dead it is the story.'" (Publishers Weekly)
"Narrator Xe Sands exquisitely captures the author's earnest interest in Julia and her family. Sands's clear voice and refreshing cadences add an authenticity that listeners will find engaging." (AudioFile)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A true American tale

Where does American Ghost rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is one of the top 10 stories I have read (listened to) so far

Who was your favorite character and why?

Probably the author herself - she explores the story of her great great grandmother (Julia Staub) who must have suffered from clinical depression (although the author never explicitly says so) and was one of the first German families to settle in the area. The author offsets depressing stories of her other German relatives who were killed in the Holocaust by whimsical tales of consulting several mediums in her search for Julia's story.

What about Xe Sands’s performance did you like?

I loved her voice and enjoyed her storytelling very much. Clear, consistent reading.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I have traveled to Santa Fe several times and have always been fascinated by the story of the German Jews who settled there. In the Palace of the Governors history museum there are several portraits of these early settlers and now after reading the book, I can't wait to return there to match names to faces.

Any additional comments?

If you are looking for a story full of ghost sightings and other paranormal activity, this is not the story for you. However, if you are looking for a well-researched story of one woman's search for her family's past and are intrigued by this kind of tale (as I am) this is the story for you.

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- rosegold "Retired and loving life in Colorado"

Good book with a deceptive title

What did you like best about American Ghost? What did you like least?

I could have gotten into the story of this woman's ancestors and her journey into reassembling their lives as pioneer/merchants in the Victorian Age if it weren't so loooong!

The title promises a ghost story but there is very very little of that at least before the tenth chapter (out of thirty one) which is where I "gave up the ghost".

The book is well written, the subject is very well researched and the story is told with clarity and enthusiasm. The narration was superb - Ms. Sands should narrate all the audio books as far as I'm concerned - a breath of fresh air!

If you are into this kind of geneaological journey and/or the pioneers of the American Southwest, then this book is for you. As one of the other reviewers said: "Not my cup of tea."

What did you like best about this story?

The actual ghost story.

Which scene was your favorite?

I presume it would have been the actual ghost investigation but I didn't get far enough.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?


Any additional comments?

Titles with "ghost" in them are going to lumped in (at least in most readers minds) with the plethora of true ghost stories that are on the market now.

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- Amazon Customer "moon"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-10-2015
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio