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The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead

Max Brooks

Reviewed by Colin Odell and Michelle Le Blanc

Paperback 272 pages (September 24, 2004)

Publisher: Gerald Duckworth & Co. Ltd

ISBN: 071563318X £8.99

Frequenters of discount bookshops will undoubtedly be familiar with the plethora of SAS/CIA/FBI/B&Q survival guides available – you know the thing: how to eat like a prince when stranded in a carnivore infested jungle in deepest South America armed only with a toothpick and a tube of Brylcreem. Normally said tome is small and non-inclusive, or the size of a small shed and unlikely to be of any practical use in the field unless you use it as a shelter. And then there’s the whole “What’s the point?” factor, bearing in mind you are unlikely to have a supply of toothpicks, have little interest in male hair-grooming products and are, frankly, unlikely to find yourself in a carnivore infested jungle in deepest South America. Silent garrotting techniques are of limited use in the back-streets of Bolton (arguably) and preparing red-back spider soufflé (a culinary delight) inappropriate in suburban Dudley. No, my friends, what you need is a real survival guide, one that is useful and relevant to you and your immediate family. One that doesn’t require 6th Dan Aikido or elaborate military equipment (although that could prove useful – don’t knock it), one that will save your life, not make you look macho on a paint-balling weekend in Bognor. You may mock but you are under the imminent threat of invasion by the undead, which is where The Zombie Survival Guide comes in. Zombie attacks have been with us for some time and ignorance is the zombie’s best weapon – people don’t want to face the prospect of decapitating a loved one or the fact that the dead can rise and eat the living. The Zombie Survival Guide goes some way to address the myths, explain the latest scientific theories on the spread of the zombie virus and, most importantly, advise on what you can do to escape a fate worse than death… and death as well.

Packed full of useful tips and eye-witness accounts The Zombie Survival Guide helps you to make those tough decisions: do you stay city bound where there are better supplies, high-rise flats providing stair destruction potential (always a good one to stop the shambling dead) and hope of contact with other survivors, but offers possible enemies, more zombies, greater risk of disease and the chance that the army might nuke you off the face of the earth? Or go to the desert – big visibility, fewer zombies, but no supplies and the heat will kill you off in a day? The choices are difficult but meticulously described so you can make an informed decision. Then there are weapons: Uzi’s might look cool in urban gangster films but in reality you want massive, accurate cerebral damage. Chainsaws look very Evil Dead but are, frankly, a liability. Remember the golden rule: swords don’t need reloading.

The Zombie Survival Guide is a well thought out and amusingly illustrated straight-faced pastiche of the whole survival guide phenomena. In many ways it’s the earnest tone that’s the scariest – it could happen now! Comes complete with an outbreak section in the back for you to note your direct encounters and make your own zombie diary, should you still have a pen come the day that the gates of hell open onto the Earth…