on April 5, 2004
Wow, I finished the book last friday, then I went to watch Dawn of the Dead(Remake) on Saturday. Having read this book makes you feel like a true "zombie outbreak expert"! I liked this a lot, really really entertaining stuff. I didn't give it 5 stars just because some notions about zombies that I personally like some other way(things that deal with memory, physiology, etc). And yes, most of the chronicles at the end are by themselves very good micro-stories that could really scare you when in the appropriate circumstances.
With this book you'll learn all the "do's" and "do not's", you'll learn to "feel" if something is happening, what to do if you're catch unprepared,how to defend yourself and your loved-ones, how to fight, how to hunt them, how to destroy them, what they are capable of, what they really are, and most important, how to remain alive.
So, if you are ready, pack your stuff(don't forget your zombie survival guide!), get your shaolin sword sharpened and the sniper rifle tunned, and by all means escape... FAST, QUIETLY, FAR AWAY !!!
on March 3, 2004
I received a birthday package from a friend of 20 years that contained, 2 movies and a book. The movies didn't surprise me at all, but the book... lol. It truely made me laugh. I couldn't believe it.
A long time fan of Zombie movies, I had never really thought to read up on them. This book had pretty much everything you need to know summed up so nicely. I think now, after reading the book,I just might survive a Class 1 or 2 zombie attack if it ever were to happen. If its a class 3, I think I might be in trouble.
The book is very detailed on the pros and cons of weapons, best survival enviroments and supplies. It even lists what one needs for her own protection on her own or in a group setting.
The book also answered some questions about zombies that always nagged me in movies. Case in point, in the movie Dawn of the dead: Why weren't these zombies rotting? They were in that mall for months! Well.. I got my answer!
The book also eliminated the idea that a flame thrower would in fact take care of all your zombie problems. I know better now!
Its a good read, surprisingly funny and really is what the book is what it claims to be. A survival guide.
Even though my friend sent The Zombie Survival Guide to me as a joke, I feel more empowered. Lets put it this way, I have made plans on what kind of Zombie Fortess I want to build and made sure the certain people I need to help... they all know where to go when the sirens die down.
Thank you Max Brooks!
on December 26, 2003
With its title, this book clearly targets a narrow audience of dedicated "tactical" horror fans. Much of what made this book, and even more, customer reviews of it, enjoyable to me was my uneasy feeling that the author and some reviewers might be taking it as non-fiction, and the even more disquieting, if exceedingly remote, possibility that they might be right.
So "The Zombie Survival Guide" is meta-fiction, in which the reader's speculation into the real state of mind of the author, other readers, and his own credulity or lack of credulity is as or more important than the text itself.
From another perspective, the book is an audacious cheap writing trick, little more than a few dozen pages, in the form of a "history" of zombie outbreaks, of dashed together story outlines and the barest hints of the story's characters, padded to short book length with an extensive array of weapon and tactics "what if" scenarios which must have been pure fun to write, and published in time for Xmass. However well it succeeds in bookstores and online, Max Brooks is sure to be the envy of hundreds of less successful and would-be writers who have toiled to flesh out their ideas into a conventional fictional form, when all they really sought was to have fun writing about zombies! Viewed in this light, even the book's failures in research in such areas as archaic and modern arms and armor, and the basic biological absurdity of brain-infecting viruses that permit muscles to function with no source of metabolic energy, are laudable.
Hats off to Mr. Brooks!
on November 12, 2003
In 1997, I survived what this book describes as a "Class One" outbreak of the Solanum, or "zombie," virus. I am currently ateending a weekly support group for similar individuals. We discussed this book at our last meeting, and the unanimous consensus is that this guide is an invaluable resource in preparing for and surviving a zombie outbreak. From both my own personal experience and the stories of others, I know for a fact that following the directions contained in this guide can mean the difference between life and death, or worse, walking death. In addition, many of the preparation techniques have become a part of my daily regimen in the years following my ordeal.
However, this guide does possess one failing: When distinguishing between victims of the Solanum virus and so-called "voodoo zombies," the author severely downplays the danger inherent in encountering one of these creatures. While it is true that voodoo zombies do not consume human flesh or transmit their condition to the living, they are nonetheless often in the employ of amoral and dangerous individuals, who will not hesitate to use them as part of illegal and evil acts. A member of my group, a survivor of such an incident, was very vocal in her condemnation of that section of the book. Furthermore, if organizations hostile to the United States were ever to obtain and replicate a sample of the so-called "zombie powder" used in the creation of these creatures, the supposedly impossible situation of a zombie army directed against America could well become a reality. Thus, in good conscience, I cannot give this book a full five stars.
on November 3, 2003
Watch out Stephen King.
Another reviewer was right when he/she said this book isn't laugh out loud funny. It's not. But it is very amusing, considering it's not tongue in cheek at all. It's tone is straightforward and very serious. Survivalists, bodyguards, law enforcement and military personnel might get a kick out of how some of their standard weapons and statics are used against zombies because some of the advice rings very true for real defense encounters. And I think horror fans, especially fans of George Romero or the Resident Evil videogames will really like it. It's classic textbook zombie stuff, right down to zombie physiology. ;)
But by far, the best and scariest part of the book is the Recorded Attacks section near latter part of the book. These short stories are hella creepy and make for some great camp fire yarns. They are so very well done, especially the one about the gangs in L.A., for a second, you'll be wondering if it's really a parody.
I was expecting something crappy and cheap, but I was surprised. It's a neat little read.
on October 8, 2003
Finally, a decent tome to guide the common man through any zombie armageddon. It is near-perfect, and it offers overall sound advice. Brooks is entirely wrong, however, when it comes to the M-16 (modern variants, incl. the M4) v. AK-47 question. The reliability issues that Brooks cites haven't applied to the M16 in over 25 years. If kept clean and happy, the M16A4 and the M4, are many times more accurate and reliable than the AK-47. In fact, some would say that it is more suited to combatting the living dead than the living, as long-range accuracy is key. Moreover, the M16A4/M4 are common to American military and law enforcement, and no domestic zombie survivalist should pass one up. The author also ignores the proven zombie-killing action of the modern tomahawk: smaller than an ax, bigger than a hatchet, and easier to use than either. One last point, although Brooks is correct in saying that large vehicles are potential death traps, nobody should overlook the break-out power of a good solid trash truck. It won't get you far, but it will get out of the neighborhood in a hurry.
on December 29, 2003
This book is a must have for any fan of the living dead horror genre. Max Brooks deftly weaves historical and scientific fact with zombie fiction into a convincing backdrop for this satirical look at worst case scenario survival.
While The Zombie Survival Guide is not laugh out loud funny, it's dry humor is more apt to start the gears turning in your head. The funniest part of the book happens after the last page is turned. The reader is left with a compulsion to start researching the facts and historical accounts outlined in the book. (Incedentally, solanum is a real virus. Fortunately, it only affects potatoes though.)
The Zombie Survival Guide is highly recommended for those who can appreciate dry cerebral humor. And in the off chance that the living dead do finally overun the Earth, the instructions described would be sound advise for survival.
on April 18, 2004
When there's no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the Earth. That's reason enough for everybody to head to their local library or bookstore to bone up on the skills needed to deal with the undead. This book is an excellent, if somewhat darkly humorous, guide to surviving a zombie attack. Very timely in light of the recent rash of undead sightings at the theatre and video stores. I would advise people who have read or plan to read this guide to not get too cocky while in the U.K. though as this book doesn't seem to apply the the zombies found in 28 Days Later. I especially liked the Recorded Attacks section at the end. That alone was worth the price of admission. Max Brooks now needs to focus his attention on some of the other classic monsters and tell us how to survive them as well. Beware the Solanum.
on September 25, 2003
I picked this book up as in impulse purchase. I never do that, even with stupid things like batteries, but I felt drawn to the book. Its really, really funny by dint of how deadpan serious it takes the subject of zombies. It's internally consistent, which helps a whole lot. Here's a sample line (from Attacking-Strategies-Underwater Battles-Scanning the Surface): "Hooking on scuba gear and blindly diving into zombie-infested water is a wonderful way to mix the two childhood fears of being eaten and drowning." Fun, strangely engaging, and it'll look good on your shelf.
on October 6, 2003
The word parody is thrown around alot with this book but I tend to look on it more as a satire that sits way to close to the truth. The truth being the survivalist movement. I found it to be more of a satire of the survivalists and it rings very true after the Y2K hullaballoo. The zombies are thrown in just to have something to survive. This is a funny book but don't expect huge belly laughs. Truth be told, when the zombies do rise, this book may prove valuable. (Tongue firmly planted in cheek.)