My poor girlfriend, who has done her best to humor my sometimes odd interests, pointed out a new book for me on the shelf during a trip to the library earlier this year. She knew I enjoyed zombie films and the book, "The Zombie Book -- The Encyclopedia of the Living Dead,' looked like it was right up my alley.
She was completely right.
Nick Redfern and Brad Steiger wrote the book, which Visible Ink Press published in 2014. It attempts to be a near-comprehensive tome on all things zombie. It contains a few ommissions and missteps but on the balance is indispensable to anyone interested in the topic.
It become obvious after reading the introduction that the publishers and writers intended to capitalize on the success of AMC's 'The Walking Dead' and of course the usual suspects such as George A. Romero's films receive entries. But there is a lot more going on.
The book contains several entries on historical and mythic topics related to the subject of zombies. The writers discuss the experiments of Giovanni Aldini, which included using electricity to stimulate the nervous systems of corpses, for example.
There is also information on topics that are far more peripherally related, such as the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia. There is an entry on attempts to create a chemical weapon dubbed a "gay bomb" which the military supposedly intended to sexually stimulate enemy troops to an abnormal degree.
Some of the entries, however, don't quite mesh with the subject. A piece on Icelandic troll legends, while interesting, seems utterly unrelated.
No book on any subject is utterly comprehensive, and this one is no exception. There are a few gaps in the discussion of zombie films, for example. But overall this is a fun, informative book and worth seeking out.