The full name for this book by Max Brooks is The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead. First of all, I’d like to say that I knew what I was getting into when I started reading this book. I knew that the Zombie Survival Guide was not a novel in the traditional sense. I read the description and I even read a lot of reviews on Amazon.com before deciding to read it.
Published in 2003, the Zombie Survival Guide quickly became a hit and I imagine it will be an important reference for zombie culture and fiction for a very long time. The book is written as a tongue-in-cheek guide to surviving a zombie apocalypse. It’s an in-depth guide to surviving in almost every situation and environment that you can imagine. It uses examples from past zombie outbreaks to illustrate and justify the survival strategies and techniques outlined in the book. This is the fictional part of the book that I enjoyed but apart from brief reference throughout the guide, the stories made up a relatively short section of the book at the end called Recorded Attacks.
This is not a list of all zombie attacks throughout history. This simply chronicles all attacks for which the information has been recorded, survived, and been released to the author of this book.
The guide itself, as I mentioned already, is very detailed. It tells you what you need to prepare down to the number and type of weapons each person should carry, whether they are alone or in a group, what type of clothing they should wear, how they should travel and where they should hole-up and/or start to rebuild society.
The Zombie Survival Guide is your key to survival against the hordes of undead who may be stalking you right now. Fully illustrated and exhaustively comprehensive, this book covers everything you need to know, including how to understand zombie physiology and behavior, the most effective defense tactics and weaponry, ways to outfit your home for a long siege, and how to survive and adapt in any territory or terrain.
At first, it was quite interesting but it got a bit repetitive, even if the actual details might change a little the prose was the same, the concept varied little. I got through the guide, though. It became a bit of a slog but I was rewarded a bit by the Recorded Attacks. They were short and fun but basically without substance.
I think Max Brooks did a great job in creating something unique even if I didn’t enjoy it. I felt that it was an attempt to define a zombie canon. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought that it was the Zombie Survival Guide was a way to make a quick buck on the back of his other zombie books but The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead came first. With the success of the book and the movie World War Z, I think many people will read this guide hoping for more of the same and they will probably be disappointed.