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4.3 out of 5 stars
The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2004
Finally, a man who understands the all-too-real threat of the living dead and who posesses the eloquence to present it convincingly! Max Brooks has produced a small wonder of a book in the Zombie Survival Guide, a book which provides the average American reader (through hands-on experience, published scientific research and historical accounts) with a comprehensive guide to surviving multiple levels of zombie infestation. Stripping away popular zombie myths, Brooks cuts through the morass of media misinformation with a book based firmly in the terrible reality of the undead. Easy-to-follow chapters on recommended weaponry, small-unit tactics and defensive fortification provide an easy entrance into the frightening world of the undead for the novice zombologist, while seasoned veterans will appreciate the elaborate instructions on how to survive the dreaded "Class 4" infestation. With a balanced mix of the practical, the historical and the scientific, this book has something for everyone. If you buy only one book on zombology, make it this one.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2004
Finally, a man who understands the all-too-real threat of the living dead and who posesses the eloquence to present it convincingly! Max Brooks has produced a small wonder of a book in the Zombie Survival Guide, a book which provides the average American reader (through hands-on experience, published scientific research and historical accounts) with a comprehensive guide to surviving multiple levels of zombie infestation. Stripping away popular zombie myths, Brooks cuts through the morass of media misinformation with a book based firmly in the terrible reality of the undead. Easy-to-follow chapters on recommended weaponry, small-unit tactics and defensive fortification provide an easy entrance into the frightening world of the undead for the novice zombologist, while seasoned veterans will appreciate the elaborate instructions on how to survive the dreaded "Class 4" infestation. With a balanced mix of the practical, the historical and the scientific, this book has something for everyone. If you buy only one book on zombology, make it this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2004
You're sitting at home, casually watching The Simpsons. You've just gotten a call from your friends, saying that they were going to come by soon and pick you up for a game of bowling. Suddenly, the power goes out. You glance around. You don't really see anything that could have caused this, or that would be of any help. Unworried, you just sit back, and wait for your friends. When the moaning outside starts, you're getting annoyed at them pulling this prank. Then they break down the front door. You angrily storm in, and you see only a group of shambling, clumsy, disease-ridden ZOMBIES!
The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks is a humorous, tongue-in-cheek book about the true zombie (not created through magic, evil spirits, or anything like that, but through a virus called Solanum) and methods to combat, escape from, and defend against them. It sounds very serious, except for the topic, and may make some people reading this start to worry and take precautions. Overall, it's a pretty good read, with plenty of helpful zombie combat strategy and laughs. Just make sure that this information becomes common knowledge when the dead do attack.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2004
When the dead rise and walk the earth to feast upon the flesh of the living, all those gun-control advocates are going to feel pretty silly.
This highly amusing volume is, primarily, a spoof of survivialist manuals, and simultaneously is one of the best and most thorough summaries of zombie-fiction conventions I've ever read. There is a lot going on in this book all at once, and it is surprisingly fun to try to disentangle the threads of just what Max Brooks is spoofing at any given moment. Sure, the book is a goof on survivalist literature, and on the zombie genre, but the completely deadpan presentation (and the fact that the author has clearly thought about both subjects WAY too much) belies a certain respect for both. Is he sending up those of us who stocked up on toilet paper and bottled water prior to Y2K (or bought sheets of plastic and duct tape, all the better to suffocate ourselves to death in hermetically sealed interior rooms in the event of an anthrax attack after 9/11)? Is he laughing at zombie-film fanatics who can categorize monsters by their film antecedents like the CDC tracking the progress of a mutating influenza strain? Or laughing with them? Is he laughing at you, for having bought his book (for whatever your motives)?
I highly recommend this book for horror or zombie film fans. And if you've got a crazy uncle who has been stockpiling ammo out at his ranch (complete with independent water source) against the day when "they" come, get a copy for him, too - even if he doesn't appreciate the humor, he might get some useful ideas for defending the homestead come the revolution.
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on March 22, 2004
This book is insanely funny. I use the word insane because tell a person you are reading a zombie survival guide and look at the reaction you get. Most of the time I got these strangely fearful looks when people asked me what I was reading and I told them. This book was well worth all the looks I got while reading it. First and foremost, the book is extremely well written, the survival guide portion and the zombie attack sections of the book were both written as if they were cold hard facts, not made up from the author's imagination. You really could use this book in case of a zombie outbreak. Check the website for the new movie "Dawn of the Dead". There is a link to this site from the movie site. That in itself cracked me up again at remembering how funny the book was. I didn't know that the autor was the sunof Mel Brooks and a staff writer for SNL, but it doesn't surprise me. This book is well worth the cost, and anyone who reads it, either as a serious novel of just for laughs, will have a great time all the way though.
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on February 12, 2004
This book is essential for the zombie hunter. It is passed off as humor but I believe it is dead serious...when the dead rise there will be three categories of people: food, people who read this book as a parody and hence become food, or people like me who read this book and studied it as a vital survival tool who will turn the tide against the zombie horror. I already have a Katana sword and a machete ready for immediate usage should flight to an undisclosed location become necessary, and my group of anti-zombie fighters is just as prepared should a Class 4 outbreak ever occur.
This book warrants multiple readings and absolutely should be counted as a vital survival guide...the stuff in here is just as useful as the Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbooks, and remember, people label them humor too (the first two are not, but they have gotten worse and worse as the series has progressed), and the attention to detail is outstanding. My only question is the belief on the author's part that zombies can walk on the ocean floor...even granting they do not need to breathe or eat the pressure would crush them completely. Thus, my flight location is an island; I won't reveal the location for fear of hordes of people descending and ruining it for my group. All I know is that if and when the dead rise those who took this book for what it is, a dead serious (no pun intended) survival guide, will be completely equipped for fighting for the sake of saving humanity.
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on January 27, 2004
This book is a good source for anti-zombie warfare. I was interested on it both because of its topic and its author; Max Brooks is Mel Brook's son. I was expecting a book with open jokes and perhaps a parody, but was impressed when I saw how seriously the author dealt with the topic; it was almost convincing, actually. Aside from the smooth writing and interesting detailed information about defeating the undead, I was also quite pleased at how Mr. Brooks would every now and then, while explaining some feature about zombies, pinch us humans with sharp comments, as, for example, in the statement "Americans have a special relationship with handguns" (page 47). People wishing to create good zombie stories should consult this book; also, the "Recorded Attacks" add a touch of realism and perhaps some ideas for good plots. This book may not cause severe laughter, but its refined humor added to very properly divided chapters and good writing are sure worth the money and time.
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on January 19, 2004
Let's face it: at one time or another we've all faced a zombie scare we aren't prepared for. And yes, the local constabulary usually cleans things up with a minimum of fuss, but what happens when things go wrong and the cavalry doesn't arrive? That, my friends, is the day that Max Brooks' "The Zombie Survival Guide" saves your life. With several millennia worth of field experience distilled into a manageable 254 pages, everything you need to know to survive the coming war with the undead can be found in these pages. Your life and the lives of those you love are at stake, act now and be prepared!
OK, so that paragraph was obviously tongue in cheek, but hopefully in conveys some sense of what Brooks' remarkable "The Zombie Survival Guide" is like. While obviously a parody of both the horror genre and civil defense/survivalist manuals, it maintains an "all-business" demeanor, never once cracking the façade to reveal the underlying humoristic intent. The result is a book that is, when taken as a whole, a funny, incredibly thorough work of satire. However, at the same time, page-by-page, it is a rather accomplished addition to zombie horror.
Starting with zombie physiology and then moving on to weapons, tactics, long-term strategy and history Brooks has produced a manual which has a thoroughness that belies the absurdity of its subject. Point by point he discusses the pros and cons of rifles, machetes and flamethrowers, then considers the optimal defensive positions for various types of outbreaks. After an extensive discussion of survival in a zombie doomsday scenario, he lays out zombie outbreaks through history, and what their implications are. Throughout, entries are extensively cross-referenced and alternative courses of action are always weighed for potential risks and benefits.
The remarkable thing about all this is that Brooks has managed to infuse a tension, and urgency into his manual that makes for great reading. Part post-apocalyptic fiction, part "Night of the Living Dead" and part "Saturday Night Live" sketch, this is a book that should hold appeal across a broad range of genres. Thorough without being dry, creepy without being clichéd, and funny without relying on cheap laughs, "The Zombie Survival Guide" is undoubtedly one of the most original books I have ever read, and one that I enjoyed reading immensely. If you appreciate any or all of these genres, or if you just enjoy a well executed, original idea, this is definitely a book you'll want to check out.
And remember...Tomorrow may be too late, read this book today!
Jake Mohlman
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on January 18, 2004
I picked up this book expected to chuckle. I thoght it would be along the lines of the Worse Case books. It starts out with that droll, almost English tounge in cheek humor and rapidly gets serious. It's obvious Max Brooks did some research. Everything you ever wanted to know about zombie lore plus a dollop of human history and nature is thrown in.
The first half of the book talks about dealing with a class 1 through 4 zombie outbreak and offers advice such as don't go down in the basement, don't go to the hospital--there's dead and dying folks there to begin with, keep moving, don't let the zombie get close enough to touch you, and keep quiet until you reach safety.
The second half describes recorded attacks from ancient time until today and it's actually scary. If Max Brooks ever decides to write straight horror fiction I'll buy it. The story about the slave ship full of zombies gave me genuine chills.
Another very amusing and clever touch is the way Brooks never breaks away from the tone of the book. The dedication, introduction, about the author page and acknowlegement pages all
stick to the book's theme. All in all, I'm delighted with this book. It's funny and scary and that is very difficult to pull off. Head to your secure location, turn the lights down, turn the radio off and read this little thriller. Max Brooks, take a bow!
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on November 4, 2003
I saw "Night of the Living Dead" when I was very, very young. And ever since then, I've had dreams about hordes of flesh-eating zombies stumbling after me-clawing, snapping, grasping at their intended next meal: me.
So when I heard about "The Zombie Survival Guide," my curiousity was aroused enough to buy it. And I'm glad I did. it's a highly entertaining read, especially for horror film fans with a particular soft spot for the works of George Romero.
Max Brooks takes an extremely deadpan approach to the material, rarely if ever letting on that this is all in fun and not to be taken seriously. He goes through chapters about the nature of zombies, the weapons and strategies to be used against them, and accounts of "outbreaks" throughout the world as if this were all absolutely true. Consequently, "Zombie Survival Guide" isn't a laugh-out-loud kind of book, but a knowing-nod-of-recognition read that satisfied with its comprehensive, thorough approach to the admittedly ridiculous material. Brooks has thought of all the angles-even things those that dream about zombies never considered. (A crowbar is your best weapon? Really? Well, you learn something new every day.)
If you love monster movies, this is one entertaining book. So buy it! Or suffer the consequences....
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