Ghost Dances: Proving Up on the Great Plains

Author(s): Josh Garrett-Davis

Biographies & Memoirs

Growing up in South Dakota, Josh Garrett-Davis always knew he would leave. But as a young adult, he kept going back-in dreams and reality and by way of books. With this beautifully written narrative about a seemingly empty but actually rich and complex place, he has reclaimed his childhood, his unusual family-and the Great Plains. Among the subjects and people who bring his Plains to life are the destruction and resurgence of the American bison; his great-great-grandparents' twenty-year sojourn in Nebraska as homesteaders; Native American "Ghost Dancers," who attempted to ward off destruction by supernatural means before the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee; the political allegory to be found in The Wizard of Oz; and current attempts by ecologists to "rewild" the Plains. GHOST DANCES is a fluid combination of memoir and history and reportage that reminds us that our roots matter-and might even be inspiring and fascinating.


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A gifted young writer takes a singular journey back to his native Midwestern American Plains.

"Alienation and authenticity commingle in this memoiristic meditation on American's lonesome midsection....Garrett-Davis writes evocatively of "the latent fury in this monotonous [Plains] landscape" and finds some juicy tufts of lore to graze on."-- Publishers Weekly

Josh Garrett-Davis has an MFA from Columbia and is currently a PhD student in American history at Princeton.

General Fields

  • : 9780316199841
  • : Little, Brown & Company
  • : Little, Brown & Company
  • : September 2012
  • : 216mm X 135mm X 32mm
  • : United States
  • : October 2012
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 256
  • : Josh Garrett-Davis
  • : Hardback
  • : 978.3092