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The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead Paperback – November 1, 1998

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Editorial Reviews Review

J. Gordon Melton has the credentials: he's a religious historian, author of 25 books about religion and vampires, president of the American chapter of the Transylvania Society of Dracula (founded in Bucharest, Romania), and chairman of the committee that put on Dracula '97: A Centennial Celebration in Los Angeles. The Vampire Book is meticulously researched and well organized. Included are an article on the cultural history of the vampire; a historical timeline; addresses of vampire societies all over the world; a 55-page filmography; vampires in plays, opera, and ballet; a 13-page list of vampire novels; and an extensive index. The A to Z entries, each with a short bibliography, include vampire lore in more than 30 different geographic regions and a comprehensive "who's who," and cover topics ranging from fingernails to sexuality, the Camarilla to Szekelys. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The third edition of this comprehensive encyclopedia of vampires and vampire lore is exhaustive, covering vampire esoterica, vampire novelists, historical figures like Vlad the Impaler, and much more, and featuring an extra decade of vampire knowledge that allows Melton to incorporate the Twilight phenomenon and acknowledge the cultural importance of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and other developments in the bloody field. Melton's (The Encyclopedia of Religious Phenomenon) research is meticulous and readers with even a passing interest in vampires will be amazed by the staggering wealth of information presented. However, Melton's volume is redundant in the extreme and some of what he includes (such as entries like the London of Dracula's Time) are only tenuously related to vampires. At times, it's difficult to tell if Melton has an extremely dry sense of humor or none at all, since his entries are so obsessively single-minded. Ultimately, readers who really want something to sink their teeth into will find this indispensible, but more casual enthusiasts will likely be overwhelmed.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 960 pages
  • Publisher: Visible Ink Press; 2nd Revised & Expanded edition (November 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157859071X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578590711
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 2.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,777,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

J. Gordon Melton is the Distinguished Professor of American Religious History at the Institute for Studies of Religion, Baylor University, and the Director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion also based in Waco, Texas.

He is the author of more than 35 books, the great majority reference works or scholarly texts in American religious history, including the "Encyclopedia of American Religions" (eighth edition, 2009), and most recently "Religious Celebrations: An Encyclopedia of Holidays, Festivals, Solemn Observances and Spiritual Commemorations" (2011). He has also written several reference books in Dracula and vampire studies including the award winning "The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead" (third edition 2010).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By mirasreviews HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
Written by religious scholar and head of the Transylvania Society of Dracula's American chapter, J. Gordon Melton, "The Vampire Book" is an impressive attempt at a comprehensive reference work on vampire lore, from the emergence of documented vampire folklore in the 11th century to the present fascination with vampires in literature, film, and our popular culture. This mammoth volume (919 pages) begins with an forward by Martin V. Riccardo of the Vampire Studies network in which he presents an informative overview of the history of vampires in world cultures. Author J. Gordon Melton's preface addresses the important and sometimes perplexing question: What is a vampire? And there is a chronology of important events in vampire history from the year 1047 to 1997.
The bulk of "The Vampire Book" is 802 pages of encyclopedia that addresses a wide variety of subjects, in alphabetical order, relevant to vampire culture in literature, film, theater, folklore, history, and gaming. Entries for people include writers, actors, directors, and vampire scholars. As an example, the long entry for "Blood" recounts the significance of blood in ancient Biblical and secular traditions and vampire mythology. "Greece, Vampires in" presents the history of vampire legend in Greece. Each entry is followed by a list of sources. Among novels, films, and authors, only works that are considered significant or pivotal are given a separate entry. For example, the "Blade" comic book serial has its own entry. The 1998 film "Blade" does not, although it is alluded to under some other subjects. There are some black-and-white photographs scattered throughout the book, and there is a 16-page color insert in the center.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Alicia W on April 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book provides an A to Z, completely thorough guide to all things relating to vampires. From aconite, to Dark Shadows, to the Vampire Lestat Fan Club, to vampire characteristics.
This book also seems to talk about two aspects of vampirism. The Hollywood side, and the real side - including myths, legends, historical accounts, authors of fiction novels, vampirologists, vampire researchers, poets, etc. The Hollywood side of this book covers television shows (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dark Shadows), movies (Interview with the Vampire, Blade, those old 70s porn flicks, Bela Lugosi, etc. even stuff I've never heard of), famous vampire actors and actresses, film directors. While it does seem that the book is dominated by the Hollywood aspect of the vampire, it does talk about everything you can think of relating to the vampire in every culture and legend. Vampires in Africa, Australia, Russia, China, Spain, Bulgaria... The book discusses in length about fangs, blood, skin, methods of killing the vampire, immortality, flying, so many to list.
It's quite a heavy book, too. It contains a timeline of real vampire events, when books were published, when historical vampire figures (Vlad, Bathory, to name the obvious) were around, when vampire criminals did their crimes and were punished, all this dating back to the 1400s atleast. Its about 2.5 to 3 inches tall, and has a giant reference in the back, including websites to visits, theatrical plays to see, works of fiction to read, businesses that sell vampire memorabilia or occult items, magazines to subscribe to, or who to write to.
It is definately worth the price. This book is my best vampire book on my shelf. Anyone who has ever loved the vampire needs to get this book!
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By TammyJo Eckhart VINE VOICE on March 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
While the photos and drawings are great, the organization is good, and a strong attempt has been made to be inclusive and correct, I found several errors in the book, oddly about television more than anything else. Also, while I am, in fact, a storyteller for a Vampire: the Masquerade game each summer for a great group of players/actors, I found it odd just how much information from this gaming system was in the book (and also with errors) compared to other entries. Yes, the game is popular but it is just a game. Also I was disappointed that the movie guide is not a separate book. The other "lists" were great however. It isn't really a book you can enjoy reading straight through, is any encyclopedia? But if you know a term or an actor or director or writer, you can easily look them up here.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Richard Ballard on November 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
Mr. Melton's 852-page book is truly encyclopedic. It is well-indexed. It includes brief discussions of vampiric cultural history, "What is a Vampire?", and vampiric chronology. It provides individual detailed discussions of worldwide vampire-related topics. The book's Appendices provide comprehensive listings of vampire "resources", filmography, drama, and novels.
The book's encyclopedic organization *does* present a problem to the "front-to-back" reader. Identical material is repeated in related entries because each entry is meant to stand alone. This repetition is quite evident to the front-to-back reader.
One criticism: the sexual aspects and psychology of vampirism were not discussed in the detail they merit. Vampires control their (usually opposite gender) victims magickally, and vampires have (usually recurring) physical relationships with their victims. In some cases vampires kidnap and imprison their victims. These sexually dominant aspects of vampirism are emphasized in vampiric literature, drama, and cinema. Furthermore, vampires draw blood, a concern in today's environment of sexually-transmitted diseases. A more complete discussion of vampire sexuality and today's vampire cult practices would have been welcome.
This book is difficult to read, but will assist you in your next Trivial Pursuit game!
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