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A Zombie's History of the United States: From the Massacre at Plymouth Rock to the CIA's Secret War on the Undead Paperback – December 1, 2010

11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This history book parody, allegedly "a first step toward a renewed awareness and interest in zombie history," is too straight-faced to be amusing. The shambling undead cannot resuscitate what amounts to a bland popular-history book; it rapidly begins reading like the old joke of adding "in bed" after the proverb in a fortune cookie. We see George Washington with zombies, Lewis and Clark with zombies, abolition with zombies, and so on and so forth. Making light of slavery, Agent Orange, and AIDS is risky business, and this book verges on the offensive with its cavalier and distasteful treatment of such subjects. Some episodes are blatantly disrespectful, like the ballroom assassination of zombie-rights activist David Z (who preferred the term "differently animated"). Concluding with recommendations to exterminate zombies entirely, or use them in place of animals for testing, and warning of the potential use of weaponized zombies in terrorism, the "Zombie's History" reads like any other tiresome polemic...with zombies. (Jan.)
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From Booklist

It was only a matter of time. Zombies have become so popular and have crossed so many genre borders that it was inevitable, sooner or later, that someone would write the “untold history” of the living undead in America. Thankfully, this is no slapdash zombie book. The author, billed as Dr. Worm Miller (in reality, Joshua Miller), has produced a completely convincing pseudo-history. From its cover illustration of zombies attacking George Washington as he crosses the Delaware to its clever insertion of the undead into real historical events (Miller explains what really happened to the “lost colony” at Roanoke and why John Wilkes Booth really killed Abraham Lincoln) to its dead-on mimicking of textbook format and style, the book feels remarkably similar to straightforward historical writing. Miller doesn’t play the material for over-the-top laughs, either; this isn’t Dave Barry’s Zombie History of the United States. Played straight, as though it were relating real historical events, it is compelling and unsettling, like Max Brooks’ World War Z (2006) or even Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds. --David Pitt

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Ulysses Press (December 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569758603
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569758601
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #674,289 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Miller was born, raised, coddled, and educated in the frosty wastes of suburban Minnesota before moving to Los Angeles. He writes film criticism for, as well as comedy pieces for and He is a script writer for Fox Digital Studios and the co-writer of several movies he doesn't want you to see.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. Sell on December 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
I just finished reading this book and I am mightily impressed. My sister got this for me knowing I am a bit of a history buff. I am not so much into zombies, but they are okay. I don't hate them or anything. I am a bit amazed at how well this book melds zombie into the whole history of America, like they'd always been a part of it. So well in fact, a couple times I needed to hop onto the internet to see just how real and accurate something described in the book in fact really was. The chapter on the Lewis & Clark expedition was a big one of these (and pretty funny, too). I loved the inclusion of Dr. Benjamin Rush, considered America's greatest physician at the time. I could totally see him working toward a zombie cure had they been around. My personal favorite, though, had to be the chapter on Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt. He was such a badass sans zombies, with them he's just extra awesome sauce. Not in some "wacky" silly way, though. I have to say that's probably what I like best about this book, it creates an America filled with zombies but in such a grounded and believable way while still managing to be laugh out loud (lol? irl? yes) funny. This was a great gift, probably my best this year, but not something I would have thought to buy for myself. If you love American history (or obviously zombies) buy this book for yourself.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By princelyfrank on December 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
This was a fascinating book, written in the style of Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States," telling familiar stories from history but acknowledging the important roles played by groups that are usually left out of those stories. Zinn acknowledged the downtroddren, the poor, and minorities. Miller gives zombies their due.

Using the initial premise that the zombie virus was already loose in North America when Columbus arrived (with zombies co-existing with Native Americans who had learned to co-exist with them), this book creates a rich alternate history of the U.S., one in which our national heroes (like Ben Franklin, Davey Crockett, and Teddy Roosevelt) all deal with zombies in one way or another as zombies' role in American society change and evolve from historical to era or era.

Miller is obviously a knowledgeable historian (the book credits him as a Professor of Zombology, although I assume he actually teaches either American history or creative writing, perhaps both), and the way he weaves zombies into both familiar and obscure episodes of U.S. history is at once fascinating, hilarious, and bizarrely plausible. Apparently America used to have wild herds of zombies roaming the countryside. Then, as westward expansion occurred, zombies were pushed further west, hunted to near extinction, and then pushed into hiding as an exploited underclass (in this book, zombies are a metaphor for every minority under the sun, from slaves to immigrants to communists to homosexuals, to hilarious effect and with intricate detail). In the modern age, zombies have been nearly erased from the historical narrative by our nationalist, corporate media and are forgotten by the average America.. But of course, like a real zombie, the zombie virus will never really die.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Evan on January 13, 2011
Format: Paperback
Absolutely utilizes Zombies in the way they were intended - as a tool for satire and social commentary. If you think you're all zombie-d out, think again, this book is a great read and really surprised me with its scope and breadth. It thoroughly explores its theme and goes in some unexpected directions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Deucebot on March 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
I'm not a big "zombie" person. I know they're all over the place right now, and that's fine, but it's not really a fad that interests me. I've been convinced to read a few zombie-themed books, but only when they give you something a little more. And this book does.

If the amazing, brilliant World War Z owes its core to Studs Terkel, then A Zombie's History of the United States owes its heart to Howard Zinn.

Anyone with an elementary-school-level understanding of American History will get a kick out of how the author explains how zombies were present at famous moments in our nation's history. The book does a great job of weaving zombies into these moments and creates a consistent mythology of a great country built on hard work, entrepreneurship, and a pretty poorly-kept secret about the undead. I particularly enjoyed the sections on Lewis and Clark, Thomas Jefferson and the Cold War.

If you're like me - the kind of person who reads history books - pick this one up. It's a little lighter, a little funnier, and a great break from the serious fare you and I are used to. It's not transcendent or anything, but it's a great effort.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ziralover on February 12, 2011
Format: Paperback
My husband gave me this book to read as he's a bit of a zombie fanatic. I've never really been a zombie (or horror) movie fan, so I didn't think I'd really like it. I was wrong. This book is great fun. It reminded me of being in college and reading Howard Zinn for the first time. It evoked that feeling I had back then when you realize that the things we learn in school aren't always as they say. Only this time, with Zombies. If you're a fan of zombies or American History, I recommend you check this out. I think teachers should add this to their curriculum for all their students.
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