American Scary

A History of Horror, from Salem to Stephen King and Beyond
by Jeremy Dauber

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From the acclaimed author of American Comics and Jewish Comedy comes a highly entertaining book that examines the American obsession with horror—and what it tells us about ourselves.
In American Scary, noted cultural historian and Columbia professor Jeremy Dauber takes the reader to the startling origins of the horror...
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Published By Algonquin Books

Format Hardback


Number Of Pages 480

Publication Date 10/01/2024

ISBN 9781643753560

Dimensions 6 inches x 9 inches

Praise for American Scary:

"America is the world's biggest haunted house and American Scary is the only travel guide you need. I loved this book.”

— Grady Hendrix, author of How to Sell a Haunted House and The Final Girl Support Group

"American Scary—a rigorous history of American horrors, real and fictional—is clear-eyed, unflinching, comprehensive in scope and detail, and entertaining as hell. A remarkable achievement."

— Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and The Cabin at the End of the World

“Vividly written and encyclopedic in scope, American Scary traces the history of horror through sources both classic and surprising, from Washington Irving and Jordan Peele to Emily Dickinson and the literature of the Holocaust. Jeremy Dauber uses his engaging style and deep knowledge of the genre to illuminate the question that lies beneath the gore: the way the things we fear reflect who we are, as individuals and as a nation.”

— Ruth Franklin, National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author of Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life

“Scary-smart, scary-deep. Dauber understands and captures that the true threat of American horror is us, the audience. His book is equal to the best of the genre it chronicles.”

— Joshua Cohen, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Netanyahus

“Dauber serves up a lively, vivid examination of American history through the chilling lens of the horror genre—or perhaps it's an examination of horror through the twisted lens of American history. Unmatched in its scope and brilliance, American Scary is a vital and wildly entertaining chronicle that will keep you hooked—and maybe a little scared—in the best way possible.”

— Robin R. Means Coleman author of Horror Noire: A History of Black American Horror from the 1890s to Present

"The American character defies description in many cases, but we are an obvious nation when it comes to our fears. With depth and dexterity, Dauber gets at the heart of our delusions of damnation, our obsessions, and confessions. American Scary synthesizes for both scholar and fan what it is we're afraid of, and why we always come back for more. A must-have for any horror completist."

— Meg Elison, author of Number One Fan

Praise for American Comics:

"The first book about comics that covers events I was there for, where I’m not shaking my head at how wrong it is. A really good history of all the different strands of comics that came together over the last hundred and twenty years to become American Comics."

— Neil Gaiman

"An entertaining and richly detailed new history of comics . . . both opinionated and frequently funny . . . the story Dauber tells is a mighty one."

— Michael Tisserand, New York Times Book Review

"Until now one could only dream of an engaging, analytic history encompassing the entire medium. That sounds like a job for Superman, but Jeremy Dauber has gotten there first . . . His perceptive, critical overview is enlivened by a jaunty style that bops from the political cartoons of Thomas Nast in the 1860s to the demise of an equally influential gadfly, Mad magazine, in 2018."

— Michael Saler, Wall Street Journal

"An entertaining, big . . . comprehensive survey of the comics industry, from its inception in early twentieth-century newspapers to the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe megamovie crossover empire."

— Scott Bradfield, New Republic

"Dauber lets his love for the medium shine through . . . [and] makes a compelling argument that we can view, through the lens of comics' content, how America sees itself."

— Cliff Cumber, Washington Independent Review of Books

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