I received this book from Bookriot in exchange for a honest review.
My favorite thing about this book is how varied it is. At the same time that is also what I dislike about the book, but for the most part, it works as an advantage. For starters, because it's so varied I can almost guarantee that everyone who reads it will find at least one thing they liked (as long as that reader has at least a remote interest in zombies). Whether it's feeling personally connected to Erik Bohman for a shared dislike of Diary of the Dead in "Zombie Media" or something much deeper, there is a lot going on in this archive and a lot to enjoy.
One thing I did not like that many of the writers did was overload their pieces with too many sources regarding zombies or making their topics too broad for my taste. It just felt like there was touch ground to cover in the pages allotted to them. So in "Zombie Psychology" I felt completely overwelmed, despite my degree in psychology, and only took away that Freud would have gone crazy psychoanalyzing zombie films. It left me wondering what the point of the piece really was.
On the flip side, some contributors did very well against this issue. In "Zombie Physiology", Jack Raglin analyzed a very long list a films, but condenses the topic to focus on whether or not it is sufficient to just outrun zombies. Whereas, Andre Ruthven takes a different approach and focuses her analysis on Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which makes her piece more easily digested.
Another difficulty with this book was the definition of the concept of 'zombie', which is discussed in the introduction. Each essay takes its own lead in focusing on 'actual' zombies, Haitian zombies, or zombies as media phenomenon. This adds a nice variety, but may be uninteresting to someone with a more specific focus. Zombies as cocktails came up as well, which is an excellent example of how the broad concept of 'zombie' worked in favor of this book (and was a very well-done piece).
Background knowledge was another barrier in this book. Because the pieces range over multiple disciplines and topics (health care, race, politics, demographics, and linguistics, to give a random sample), it's somewhat difficult for a layperson in the specified field to follow along. It's a double edged sword considering if not enough information was given on the subject, I felt lost, but if too much was given I started to get bored and wondered when the zombies would come back in.
So as I said, the variations in terms of topic, style, concept, and outlook all made this book fascinating as well as somewhat confusing. I think this is a remarkable piece and while most of the information went completely over my head, this is a must-read for any and all zombie fanatics. It is an important pioneer in its right, filling a hole that most certainly needed filling in today's literary collection.