New books about zombies and hordes of the undead seem to appear nearly every week. They are in popular fiction, re-imagined classics such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, graphic novels, and even children’s literature. Yet, one of the more captivating aspects of the surge in zombie literature is in nonfiction.
Many of the nonfiction books concerning zombies begin with the premise that they are real. Of course, these works tend to be satirical parodies, but they are interesting nevertheless. One of the more popular titles in this fairly new genre is The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks. The book is a thoroughly detailed parody of a survival guide, written to help teach readers how to prepare for and weather zombie outbreaks. It even includes a section relating historical accounts of attacks.
After the success of Zombie Survival Guide, Brooks followed up with World War Z: an Oral History of the Zombie War, a collection of personal accounts from survivors of a worldwide zombie outbreak. Written in memoir style, survivors from various countries recount their experiences of encounters with the undead, and the chaos that ensued. Part of the appeal of World War Z is the intimate feel of the stories; they sound real and believable.
Both of Brooks’ books insert zombies into real historical and political events, a popular trend in this genre. Other books expand on this theme even further.
Worm Miller’s A Zombie’s History of the United States purports to uncover the hidden involvement of zombies in key events of America’s history. Miller analyzes encounters with the undead from a massacre at Plymouth Rock to today’s secret war against development of zombie-related terrorism.
In Theories of International Politics and Zombies, Tufts University professor Daniel Drezner examines how various theoretical political systems would respond if zombies appeared and began to attack the living. Among the political entities he discusses are national governments, the United Nations and nongovernment organizations (NGO). Though the purpose of the work is to introduce students to international political theory, it is interesting that he chooses a zombie outbreak as his medium to appeal to readers.
Jonathan Maberry, author of several works of zombie-focused horror fiction, explains how to detect zombie attacks forensically in Zombie CSU: the Forensics of the Living Dead. The book covers zombie attacks from scientific, psychological and legal viewpoints, and it urges readers to use this information to protect themselves from the undead.
For fans, the current renaissance of zombie literature is an exciting trend. The variety and volume in this growing genre offer something to capture the interest of just about any zombie fan’s taste.