Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The Official Zombie Handbook (UK) by Sean T. Page

This book came out in 2010, so this review may seem a tad out of date but bear with me anyway. To be honest this book has been on my list of books to review ever since I read it. Sadly, it kept getting pushed back as other stuff jumped ahead of it in the review queue. So why bother review it now? Well I have just recently finished reading the sequel to it, War Against The Walking Dead, which I want to review very shortly. The Official Zombie Handbook (UK) and War Against The Walking Dead are so closely linked together that it seemed a shame to review one and not the other. Anyway, I am sure there must be some of you out there who haven't read this book, so this review is primarily for you. For those of you who have read this book, here's my thoughts on it.
The UK in brackets after the title is important, as this book is aimed firmly at residents of the United Kingdom. Essentially, The Official Zombie Handbook (UK) is a survival guide to help you live through the first 90 days of a zombie apocalypse. Author Sean Page believes if you can survive the first three months, you'll be well on your way to surviving far longer. The book opens with a section on basic information about zombies, what they are, how to kill them, along with examples of zombie sightings thoughout history (yeah, right!).
Section two is one that I found fascinating - what kind of response to a zombie apocalypse in the UK can we expect from various forces, like the government, the police, the armed forces and the criminal underworld. The bottom line is, forget the others and look after yourself as best you can. From all that I've read and seen on TV and movies, that would seem to be good advice wherever you live!
The next section on zombie defence takes up the bulk of the book and covers everything from food and shelter to weapons and transport as well as advice on foraging and fortifying your home or wherever it is that you decide to stay. A lot of this common sense but in a global catastrophe like this too often common sense is replaced by blind panic and totally illogical decisions. The chapter on weapons rates each weapon in four categories - durability, ease of use, availability and damage with a score of 1 to 5, giving an overall score out of 20. Apparently, the best melee weapon to use, with an impressive 18/20 is the hammer, found in most households. Cricket bats (or baseball bats) and ice climbing axes score highly with 16/20 apiece. Given the scarcity of firearms in this country, ranged weapons are limited in their scope, which isn't surprising, but if you can't get hold of a gun (and don't forget, guns need ammo - lots of ammo!) your next best bet is the crossbow, with a rating of 14/20. Just one point behind it is the nail gun - good news for all you DIY enthusiasts.
The final section deals with surviving in the UK, looking at the pros and cons of staying put or travelling around. There is a detailed look at the various modes of transport and how they'd be affected by a zombie apocalypse. This section also includes advice on which places would make the best place to hole up and defend. Victorian sea forts score very highly.
It is almost impossible not to compare this book with Max Brooks' Zombie Survival Guide as it covers a lot of similar territory. However, whereas the Zombie Survival Guide was mainly targetted at Americans, Sean Page redresses the balance with a guide aimed mainly at us Brits. There are a few illustrations in the book, which to be kind, are adequate at best. The prose is easy to read, although is marred by too many typo errors - not as bad as some books I could mention but just enough to be annoying.
I bought my copy from The Zombie Shop for £7.99, after reading Adam's review of it. See here - http://zombieshop.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/official-zombie-handbook-uk-by-sean-t.html If you don't already own this book, and you live in the UK, I can highly recommend it. Even if you live outside the UK, you can still find some useful info in here. This is one of those books that should be in every zombie survivalist's library. I'd give this book an 8 out of 10 rating.

14 comments:

  1. Cheers Bryan, I've just finished the 'Osprey' zombie book. Well it's in that 'special' libary we all have in the smallest room. It was OK, but I fancy this one also. Who knows!

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    1. I quite enjoyed the Osprey book but I did wish it was much longer. This has a page count of 188, most of which is text.

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  2. I'll get it just for the UK guide, you never know when you'll need it, nice review Bryan.....

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  3. Thanks for the review Bryan, I might just have to get this, but I think I'll wait for your review of the sequel

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    1. I'm planning on reviewing the sequel next Wednesday, Colin. Sunday will be tied up by my Monthly Musings.

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  4. Having read the sequel "War Against the Walking Dead", I really should read this book, shouldn't I ?
    It's now on the list...

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  5. Nice Review Bryan, it sounds like an interesting book, I wonder if hell do one based in Australia..lol

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    1. It would seem highly unlikely, I reckon, TE.

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  6. Now definitely on the list! I've not long read Max Brooks' guide (World War Z was brilliant!) but love the idea of one written primarily for the UK.

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    1. Much as I loved Max Brooks' "Zombie Survival Guide" the sections on guns had little relevance to most of us across the "pond". So well done to Sean for thinking of us.

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  7. Thanks for highlighting this book. I'll give it a try nice to see some UK based fiction

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    1. I hope you enjoy it, Simon. Who knows, it might just save your life come the zombie apocalypse!

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