Encyclopedia of the Zombie: The Walking Dead in Popular Culture and Myth

Pulliam, June Michelle & , eds. 381p. Greenwood. 2014. Tr $89. ISBN 9781440803888; ebk. $89. ISBN 9781440803895. LC 2014000163.
Gr 8 Up—Blending familiar icons with lesser-known but equally fascinating items, this comprehensive collection documents 225 notable representations of zombies in popular culture. Arranged alphabetically, each entry, ranging from several hundred to several thousand words, offers well-researched background information and specific details that will undoubtedly keep both casual readers and fans of the subject engaged; "see also" cross-references at the end of each entry further enhance the reading experience. Thorough yet concise examples from television (The Walking Dead, Dead Set), film (Night of the Living Dead, Zombieland), literature (Richard Matheson's I Am Legend), and folklore (Mesopotamian epic "Gilgamesh"), and cultural phenomena, such as zombie walks and video games, illustrate how pervasive zombie culture continues to be. Although heavy on text, the volume includes numerous black-and-white photos that break up the dense passages, but the lack of color is noticeable, and those expecting vibrant images of gore will be sadly disappointed. The book's purpose, however, is not to titillate but rather to examine and explore the subject's cultural and historical significance from a scholar's perspective. Two appendices—one chronicling zombie films from 1920 to 2014, the other listing academic books and articles on the subject—as well as a "Further Reading" section present additional research opportunities while simultaneously providing credibility and validity to the growing interdisciplinary field of zombie studies.
VERDICT Strong in content but lacking eye-catching visual appeal, the resource will be best appreciated by serious zombie connoisseurs.

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