This newest collection of great ghost stories sticks pretty closely to the title as advertised: an actual ghost is present within most the stories which refuse to haunt other avenues of the supernatural. The editor's intention is admirable and clearly stated early on: "I felt it best not to shy away from some obvious choices. In my view, some very good anthologies of ghost stories are weakened by a desire to pick surprising, neglected or substandard stories by the best writers in the genre, or second rank stories by largely forgotten writers. As a result, the editors produce anthologies for people who collect such anthologies and who already own the classic tales. While this book aims to provide something for such readers, it aims more at the person who will buy only one such book for private reading or study, and for those who want one volume that brings together the very best examples of the genre". He also mentions authors he couldn't get for copyright reasons: Blackwood, Machen, de la Mare, Hitchens, Onions.
He addresses what I perceived to be a fault with the new Library of America anthology by Peter Straub: too many second tier stories by famous authors. And while his own anthology corrects this fault to a degree, it lapses into other errors. Some of the most famous stories are not always the author's best or there are other works that ought be equally famous and are much less anthologized (though hardly unknown): I would take MR James "Casting the Runes" before yet another inclusion of the overly available and disappointing "Oh, Whistle". As "The Monkey's Paw" is probably the best ghost story ever written both in its economy of story and proper eeriness, I have no problem with its ghostly presence. But Fitz-James O'Brien's "What Was It?" is not very frightening and Henry James' "The Jolly Corner" is well written and famous but a ghost story in name only. So if I would complain it would be of overall taste, a hard thing to defend or even define.
Newton writes a very admirable introduction to the whole topic of ghost stories and gives readers many directions for further reading. But if I were to choose a single anthology that does what Newton aimed to do, I would choose Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural (Modern Library) or the Dark Descent anthologies. Both are unsurpassed in picking the best written, scariest stories and are still in print. But yet another anthology that seriously aims for quality and frequently achieves it should not be shunned either, like an old dark house in a deserted part of town.