Theories of International Politics and Zombies Paperback – Jan 23 2011
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Honorable Mention for the 2011 PROSE Award in Government & Politics, Association of American Publishers
"Drezner . . . comes up with an intriguing intellectual conceit to explain various schools of international political theory. He imagines a world overrun with zombies and considers the likely responses of national governments, the U.N and other international organizations, and nongovernment organizations (NGOs). . . . This slim book is an imaginative and very helpful way to introduce its subject--who knew international relations could be this much fun?"--Publishers Weekly
"A light, breezy volume, TIPZ is a valuable primer in international relations theory for laypeople, and thank God for that--it's been a long time coming. But Drezner's real genius is that he's written a stinging postmodern critique of IR theorists themselves, applying the full force of their structured reasoning to topics as diverse as Michael Jackson's breakdancing zombies, Peter Jackson's lesser film canon, and romantic zombie comedy flicks--'rom zom coms,' as he puts it. It's both a pedagogical text and a lampoon of pedagogy. . . . Theories of International Politics and Zombies is one hell of an important tome."--Adam Weinstein, Mother Jones
"Besides offering a condensed and accessible survey of how various schools of international-relations theory would respond, he reviews the implications of a zombie crisis for a nation's internal politics and its psychosocial impact. He also considers the role of standard bureaucratic dynamics on managing the effects of relentless insurgency by the living dead. While a quick and entertaining read, Theories of International Politics and Zombies is a useful introductory textbook on public policy--as well as a definitive monograph for the field of zombie studies."--Scott McLemee, Inside HigherEd
"If the dynamics of international politics have conventionally been understood in terms of the quick and the dead, Daniel Drezner invites us to consider another way of being--undead, or 'differently animated.' This ontological category emerges from the world of popular culture in which the 'zombie canon has a distinctive place. In drawing together the interpretation of popular culture and international politics, Drezner provides much food for thought--the food in this case being human flesh, of which zombies are notoriously fond. . . . [D]rezner elucidates the often-arcane world of international theory in an interesting and highly amusing way. He also shows how close the relationship between politics and popular culture is, how the latter can convey social and political critique in the most unlikely ways, and why satire remains such an important form of that critique."--Stephanie Lawson, Times Higher Education
"Juxtaposing George A. Romero with Donald Rumsfeld to make real-world 'predictions,' Daniel W. Drezner's Theories of International Politics & Zombies . . . explores feasible scenarios for the political stage contrasted with an undead threat, the objective being to render just 'how valid--or how rotten--such scenarios might be.' No man seems better qualified for this exposé than Drezner, whose bio credentials list him as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Zombie Research Society."--Fangoria
"In addition to wargaming various zombie scenarios, Drezner's book serves as an entertaining primer on the distinctions between several theories of international politics."--Katherine Mangu-Ward, Reason
"In the end, Drezner's task is to lead a tour through academic Graceland, pretending political theories are serious business, while mocking academia's obsession with political theories, which any person with common sense knows too often fail to predict real world outcomes. A political science book about zombies is funny not because of the zombies, but because political science treats them like everything else. The juxtaposition of the two brings out the best in both."--Jessica Palmer, Biophemera blog
"[Theories] of International Politics and Zombies is clever, nicely dissecting the strengths and weaknesses of different theories and offering observations about how, for instance, constructivists should destroy all previously published-zombie-apocalypse movies, lest people actually act as selfishly as most characters in those films do. While most zombie narratives start after government has failed, Drezner is far more optimistic that through cooperation, humanity would survive a zombie outbreak."--Samantha Nelson, A.V. Club
"Smart, funny, creative, and thought provoking, Theories of International Politics and Zombies is a worthwhile and engaging read, and is essential reading for all political leaders if the fight against zombies is ever to be won."--Sara Yasin, LSE British Politics and Policy blog
"[A]n amusing primer on IR theory, a comprehensible introduction to the tenets of liberalism, neo-conservatism, social constructivism, bureaucratic politics, realpolitik, and insight into their plausible responses to a new type of threat."--San Francisco Book Review
"It's attractive quality is, of course, its flesh-eating meta-theme, but the work is successful for its clear, comparative introduction to international relations theory. . . . Drezner's work frequently leaves the reader hungry for more discussion."--Choice
"Overall, this is an accessible first introduction for students unfamiliar with the philosophical side of international relations."--Christopher Housenick, Political Studies Review
"Drezner's easy prose and simple explanations will make his book a favorite among college students, and academics will appreciate his consistent references and bibliography. The simplicity of the book and the theme of zombies will likely make international politics less intimidating and more accessible to beginners."--Anna B.Creagh, Leonardo Reviews
From the Back Cover
"One of the most creative books about international relations you will ever read and one of the smartest."--Peter Beinart, author of The Icarus Syndrome
"Bless Dan Drezner for this book which punches huge holes in the hokum of American foreign policy thinking. Our theories in this business have been thin and often very costly, and if it takes Drezner's 'zombie attack' to puncture their bloat, so be it. Besides, the book is fun."--Leslie H. Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations and former New York Times columnist
"Drezner is to the zombie attack what Thucydides is to the Peloponnesian War--he is its great chronicler. As witty as he is insightful, Drezner has taken old ideas and traditions in international relations and brought them back to life."--G. John Ikenberry, Princeton University
"This book fills a gnawing gap in the international relations literature and adds flesh to those bones by communicating key international relations theories in a fresh, fun, and effective way."--Daniel Nexon, Georgetown University
"This interesting, thoughtful, and engaging book nicely integrates the classics of zombie work with theories of international politics to make sense of human--and nonhuman--behavior. This is the only international politics textbook that will make students frequently laugh and think at the same time. Indeed, this textbook is food for brains, which may, of course, only attract more zombies."--Stephen Saideman, McGill University
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The book's style is scholarly yet witty; here's the author discussing the "theory" that zombies are not biologically, but socially, inclined to feast on human brains: "Given the tendency of zombies to travel in packs and mobs, first-image theorists would hypothesize that this decision to eat humans is a classic case of groupthink, the tendency for individuals to prioritize group consensus over a thorough vetting of alternative ideas and proposals.... Based on their grouping behavior, it could be argued that the living dead care the most about reaching a consensus among themselves about their social purpose." Despite its entertaining subject matter, this book is not a "for dummies" textbook; for example, if you have never encountered a payoff matrix and are unfamiliar with basic game theory, you will quickly become frustrated (but what better way to learn than through a "-and Zombies" book?).
This book is a lot of fun! With an easy going and lighthearted approach, this book introduces readers to how the various foreign policy ideologies would deal with evil doers. It is a great read for any political junkie.
I thought it would be lots of fun, but I was wrong. The book was very dry and too inflated, for my tastes. It wasn't entertaining at all.
It did provide an interesting look at how the major political philosophies would respond to a Zombie infestation, and also how it would affect military, trade, bureaucracies, business and social groups -- but it was buried inside a text of university words that sucked all the fun right out of the book.
I was hoping for a smart book with an absurdly entertaining slant, but it was more text book political science than entertainment.
It's all well and good knowing how to react to a zombie apocalypse on an individual level, but anyone who combines the politics and zombie nerd genes as I do will have wondered how the UN, WHO, CDC and other acronyms would react.
Drezner's book more or less explains what would happen- how international and national bodies would react, and explains what different political theories predict would happen. It's genuinely fascinating, I read this book in one sitting (it just took me forever to get around to writing the review!)
At times the book read more like a film review than an academic work- there is a lot of discussion of Romero's films, as well as Max Brooks' books, and I haven't seen the films or read the books...yet. I suspect this would make an excellent companion to Brooks' WORLD WAR Z.
The book is genuinely funny too (in a dry way); not even the puns made me groan. Some of it is a little injoke-y, which I think would make the book a little daunting to anyone with no prior interest in or knowledge of international politics.
My one caveat about this book is I'm not sure how much of it is easily accessible by someone with little or no formal education in politics. I studied a helluva lot of politics as part of my degree, so I had no trouble with this book, but it certainly didn't read like a "for dummies" or introductory guide.
If I had read this book while in college, I suspect it would have been my go-to book when I was writing essays for my politics modules. Anyone sick of listening to boring lecturers drone on about realpolitik must read this book- as well as any die-hard zombie nerds. I suspect the references will provide me with enough reading to keep me entertained until the zombie apocalypse.
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