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.The four sections of In Whose Ruins range over the American landscape, from ancient Indigenous monuments that settlers declared to be the work of a mythical white race; to the faith-infused quest for oil in Pennsylvania; to the removal of Native artworks threatened by a hydroelectric dam on Maryland's Susquehanna River; to the toxic legacy of the nuclear program in the American Southwest. These geographical sites are all sources of power, literal and metaphorical. They are also united by a pattern of erasure: in each case, colonizers who drove out Indigenous peoples and then denied their claim to the land invented new histories to give legitimacy to their actions. As proof, they creatively reinterpreted Native American landmarks and overwrote the stories living Native Americans told to fit their own narratives. Here, the sciences of memory--archaeology, anthropology, history, and linguistics--are shown to be haunted by their complicity in silencing the communities they studied. Engrossing and clear-eyed, this examination of the American tradition of selective remembrance and forgetting shows how the past itself became an exploitable resource--and offers an invaluable torch in the search for a way forward.