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The American Book of the Dead Paperback – November 22, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Backword Books (November 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0578026937
  • ISBN-13: 978-0578026930
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,359,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"If you read Lolita or A Clockwork Orange without drop-kicking the book out into the garden on a rainy day, this novel is for you." Tessa Dick, author of The Owl in Daylight, and widow of Philip K. Dick

"Reminiscent of Philip K. Dick and Haruki Murakami, a book that boldly explores the future and defies genre." Largehearted Boy

"Really great - reminds me of Philip K. Dick and Kurt Vonnegut." Scott Booker, Manager of the Flaming Lips

Winner: Best Fiction at the DIY Book Festival

Winner: The Gold IPPY Award for Visionary Fiction

More About the Author

Henry Baum is the author of the novels The Golden Calf, North of Sunset, and The American Book of the Dead. He's published work with Identity Theory, Storyglossia, Scarecrow, Dogmatika, Purple Prose, 3:AM, Les Episodes, and others. He also writes and records music under the name Ash Tree. Born in New York City, raised in L.A., with stints in many other places, he now lives in Los Angeles with his wife.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Steve Anderson on February 15, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Novels tagged as apocalyptic sci-fi are usually not my bag, but I gave this one a chance and I'm glad I did. Part apocalyptic sci-fi and part psychological thriller with elements of more accessible literary novels and even neo-noir, this is a deep story that transcends genres. It feels like others' books, with influences ranging from Pynchon to Delillo to Philip K. Dick and more, but it also felt original -- always a good sign.

It started a little slow for me, as Baum has a lot to set up, but then it really took off as the end of society as we know it looms and chapters alternate between the wary hero, writer Eugene Myers, and a childish and deluded American president, Charles Winchell. Without giving too much away, both men believe -- and fear -- they are transforming into a new type of human that the post-apocalyptic future will depend on. Who wins out (or do they?) will tell the reader a lot about where we might be heading. As a line in the book states (I'm paraphrasing), the best sci-fi takes present themes and exaggerates them almost beyond recognition. I know they got me thinking. Baum also manages to avoid getting hung up on religion and politics, choosing to focus on the human nature that binds us all. The revolution is not just societal but evolutional.

My complaints are few. Some narrative and even dialogue had to be expositional in spots owing to the wide-reaching story and context, but Baum does well to blend it all in. The story could've begun closer to the world war that engulfs the planet and wouldn't have suffered too much. But that's more niggling than it sounds. The quality was there in the beginning to carry us along.
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Campbell VINE VOICE on February 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a difficult book to write a review about. It fits no genre description cleanly. This is also part of why it is such a good book. The reviews of this book do not really describe the book I read. They are accurate, but I found a lot more depth to the story than what I expected. I would also like to mention that the daughter and the porn part of the book is really just a sidebar that does not make it past the first half of the book. I was, at least at first, put off by that. The author did not dwell on it, and used it really as a plot device to make a larger point. That point being how much casual violence and sex has consumed us, and cheapened life in America.

I thought this book had multiple story lines happening at different levels. The first one is what the other reviewers have written about. The second reads as the story of a man trying to make it as a writer in a world that has as much use for a writer as it does for poets. I do not know the author personally, but I wondered if I was reading an autobiography about his life as a writer.

Would I recommend this book to a friend? Certainly. The author can write. Some of the sentences and paragraphs were so good that I stopped reading, said to myself "Damn" and reread them again. The story line about the destruction of most of the human race in order to bring about the second coming of Christ is not that farfetched. Especially considering possible GOP candidates in 2012. The idea that the world needs a change and the only way maybe a total reboot is unfortunately one that may happen. In that regard this is a apocalyptic novel.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David Lynch on September 4, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I must begin with a cautionary note: My rating reflects what I perceive as Mr. Baum's ability to challenge human beliefs at the core, perhaps those that many imagined they'd settled for themselves many years before, buried deeply, where they were presumed safe and secure.

If you don't want to be shaken up a bit, or disturbed to the point where you at least pause and reflect on your own core beliefs about what it is to be human, to live, to suffer, to die, and to ponder what comes after, then this might not be a good read for you. I imagine that many will proclaim the work as profane, but that kind of thing has been going on for centuries.

The narrative has twists and turns, and at times you will be as perplexed as it appears the story's protagonist is! However, don't give up on it - persevere to the end. After all, you'll need the exit that the author carefully crafted, to make your way from this crazy little ride!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Remington Whitcomb on July 24, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I admit, I only downloaded this book because I had just purchased my Kindle and it was free on Amazon. How fortunate for me, because it was brilliant. The plot is rich and the characters are wonderfully dynamic, yet still believable. Everything right down to the title of the book is fresh. It is my understanding that Mr. Baum is writing an American Book of the Dead Part II, and I certainly am looking forward to reading it when it is finished. In a genre that has so much potential to produce trite, recycled material, Henry Baum finds a way to deliver an exciting new story to readers. If you enjoy memorizing bible verses, please don't bother with this book. If you are a fan of quality literature, this is a must read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Gauthier on July 16, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I got this book for FREE. I'm amazed at the quality of writing, and at how interesting the plot was, for a free book. Ok, it wasn't just good for a free book. I thought it was very good, with the added bonus that it was free.

1. I didn't have much use for the 1st few chapters. They just didn't do much for me. I thought the writing was good, but the early part of the story didn't pull me in.

2.EVERYTHING after that, I found really enjoyable. I'm guessing that fundamentalist types wouldn't much like it, but that's part of what I liked about it. It's anti-fundamentalist. Very imaginative, very well written. I will keep this fellow in mind, and not baulk at paying for his work in the future.
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