Read by Jodie Harris
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For much of the twentieth century, a series of terrible events—abuse, both physical and psychological, and even deaths—took places inside orphanages. The survivors have been trying to tell their astonishing stories for a long time, but disbelief, secrecy, and trauma have kept them from breaking through. For ten years, Christine Kenneally has been on a quest to uncover the harrowing truth.
Centering her story on St. Joseph’s, a Catholic orphanage in Vermont, Kenneally has written a stunning account of a series of crimes and abuses. But her work is not confined to one place. Following clues that take her into the darkened corners of several institutions across the globe, she finds a trail of terrifying stories and a courageous group of survivors who are seeking justice. Ghosts of the Orphanage is an incredible true crime story and a reckoning with a past that has stayed buried for too long, with tragic consequences.
“Sometimes the world’s secrets have to wait for the right person to turn up to reveal them. Across ten years of hard and painful investigation, Christine Kenneally discovered, explored, and here reports on a great sink of human misery visited upon unprotected children by the very people who were honored for caring for them. It’s a chilling book, but a brave and important one—and a gripping read. It bears comparison to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago.”Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb and A Hole in the World
“In the orphanages Kenneally investigates, sanctimonious, seemingly pious adults physically, emotionally, and sexually abused children, imagining that the children exposed to their shameful barbarism would forget the ‘morally upright’ adults’ horrific crimes. A cautionary tale about the long-term impact of adults’ cruelty to children—how perpetrators’ brutality, even when half-forgotten—nonetheless haunts victims with bodily pain, mysterious fears, and eventually, maybe, powerful understanding.”Jessica Stern, senior fellow, Harvard School of Public Health
“Kenneally has pulled off an astonishing feat in Ghosts of the Orphanage. She has produced a haunting, literary page-turner that is also a work of deep and urgent reportage. The reporting is tenacious and jaw dropping, but it is the characters who will stay with you long after the book is done.”Jessica Garrison, author of The Devil’s Harvest
“Kenneally… paints a beyond disturbing picture of human cruelty in this shocking exposé of decades of abuse of children housed in orphanages across multiple countries in much of the 20th century…This harrowing true crime story is essential, if deeply difficult, reading.”Publishers Weekly, starred review
“A powerful work of sociological investigation and literary journalism.”Kirkus Reviews
- On Sale
- Mar 21, 2023
- Hachette Audio