Book Review – American Monsters by Linda S. Godfrey

American Monsters: A History of Monster Lore, Legends, and Sightings in America
by Linda S. Godfrey
Release Date: August 28, 2014
Publisher: Tarcher Books


Because I am a staunch horror fan, a part of me believes some monsters in our lore might be real. Bigfoot is a perfect example of this. There have been way too many sightings and photos to deny something exists out there in the woods…it might not be what we think, but there’s something there. It’s this fact-based optimism that drives author Linda S. Godfrey’s latest book, AMERICAN MONSTERS: A HISTORY OF MONSTER LORE, LEGENDS, AND SIGHTINGS IN AMERICA. Chocked full of information and fact with only a hint of speculation, this tome is a cryptozoologist’s dream.

If you are not familiar with AMERICAN MONSTERS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Tarcher Books:

From pre-Columbian legends to modern-day eyewitness accounts, this comprehensive guide covers the history, sightings and lore surrounding the most mysterious monsters in America—including Bigfoot, the Jersey Devil, and more.

Bigfoot, the chupacabra, and thunderbirds aren’t just figments of our overactive imaginations—according to thousands of eyewitnesses, they exist, in every corner of the United States. Throughout America’s history, shocked onlookers have seen unbelievable creatures of every stripe—from sea serpents to apelike beings, giant bats to monkeymen—in every region.

Author, investigator, and creature expert Linda S. Godfrey brings the same fearless reporting she lent to Real Wolfmen to this essential guide, using historical record, present-day news reports, and eyewitness interviews to examine this hidden menagerie of America’s homegrown beasts.

I’ve studied some of the more common monsters known in American folklore, however Godfrey introduces several in this book that I am not familiar with. I love this aspect, as it opened my eyes to new mysteries of the unknown. But in addition, she gives a few fresh takes on some existing creatures as well. This diversity is a big part of the draw for this title and one of the biggest points for its promotion.

AMERICAN MONSTERS is written well. It is not stiff and dry like a text book, but instead is presented more like short tales from a storyteller. This informal tone makes the book a much more enjoyable read, and it helps present the information in a lighter manner.

The book is broken up into three sections: Monsters By Air, Monsters By Sea, and Monsters By Land. Each section is then spliced into several smaller chunks, which are based on specific creatures and/or regions in which the creature is located. My favorite area in this book is the Monsters By Sea section. Sea sightings seem to be older and have more witnesses than any other type of sighting. For this reason, I find they are the most plausible.

AMERICAN MONSTERS is a definite win for me, and I recommend picking it up. Whether you are a veteran cryptozoologist or just a hobby reader, chances are this book will enlighten you in some form or fashion. It is available now in a variety of formats.


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