Written by Max Brooks
Published by Three Rivers Press
Pop quiz, hotshot: You’re walking down the street and notice a mass of people running past you with terror in their eyes. A discarded newspaper headline reads “The Dead Walk,” and at the end of the block you see several greasy-skinned, half-eviscerated corpses shambling toward you. What do you do? What do you do? If you happen to know Max Books, or own a copy of his book, there’s nothing to sweat.
The Zombie Survival Guide takes civilians through every stage of an outbreak of the living dead, from first signs that should trip the mental radar, to putting together a new nation in a world gone slightly necrotic. As the author himself states, this book is not intended for those with access to military weapons or armies of their own. Those folks can fend for themselves. This book is meant for the average Joe who wants to live long enough to see the end of the plague.
The book is broken up into handy sections, written in plain language so that anyone can understand. Beginning with a brief history of the disease Solanum, which causes the dead to get up and behave like living folk, Brooks takes the zombie-dealing novice through the symptoms of contracting the virus, the behavioral patterns and physical attributes of the recently undead, and even makes distinctions between the Solanum, Voodoo, and Hollywood varieties of ghouls. Also included is a handy guide concerning the level of zombie outbreaks in your neighborhood.
Section two of The Zombie Survival Guide deals with weapons, where to get them and what to avoid, as well as combat techniques. In this section, common items are broken down into their field-tested usefulness, effectiveness, and skill-level necessary to use each one, along with the author’s picks for the best in each class. The items in this section also come along with common sense-style advice that could just save you or your party from flesh-hungry ghouls.
Following are sections pertaining to defense measures, methods for relocating so not to become a traveling buffet, and interesting techniques for going on the offense against the walking dead. Following, and perhaps the most poignant section, discusses the possibility of the total collapse of society in which living are driven to the brink of extinction. It talks about how to keep yourself off the endangered species list, and how to reform society once there is nothing left. Also included are listings of recorded attacks reaching from as far back as 60,000 B.C. in Central Africa to 2002 in the Virgin Islands. There is even a handy “outbreak journal” for you to fill out for posterity’s sake.
The central message to The Zombie Survival Guide is one of preparation. Be prepared, and you’re more likely to survive an all-out zombie attack. Of course, such a thing couldn’t really happen. Right?
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