In this examination of landscape and memory, four sites of American history are revealed as places where historical truth was written over by oppressive fiction—with profound repercussions for politics past and present.
With this expertise and prior research, Puglionesi makes a perfect guide through the strange myths, characters, and environments that best reflect the insidious exploitation inseparable from American dominion ... One of the highlights of In Whose Ruins is Puglionesi’s attention to the complicated marriage between Bamewawagehikaquay, or Jane Johnston, and Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, today remembered for chronicling many Native American folktales, though, as we know now, rather inaccuratel...Puglionesi tells their story, which is really more the tale of Johnston, in the most deft writing in the book. The laser-sharp historical focus on this marriage persuades the audience of her thesis more clearly than some of the more conceptual and thus, more removed, passages that follow ... we follow Puglionessi’s thesis to some unnatural avenues ... Puglionesi’s previous work gives her unquestionable expertise on this subject matter, but at times there is perhaps too much credence given to the idea that these oilmen truly believed in these stories of divine intervention and inspiration ... to take up Puglionesi’s convincing and illuminating reading of American history and land, it seems to be inevitable that a public reckoning with these ghosts, real or not, is necessary. If this accounting did come to pass, it could herald the beginning of an American without these ghosts, where the ugly histories are not concealed, but brought out into the sun.
... vigorous, constantly revealing ... Page after page, Puglionesi finds some strange twist on history used to justify theft and genocide, and it makes for a fascinating tale ... A first-rate work of historical research and storytelling.