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Penguin's Journal of the Mundane
Here Be Swimming Bird
EWZSG Part 3 
13th-Jul-2008 11:21 am

The next chapter is called "On the Attack" and, by now, you should already have serious doubts about any combat advice from Max Brooks. The chapter starts off with a set of tips that are for the most part workable but perhaps somewhat unrealistic. Then he goes into your offensive combat loadout:

Primary firearm (rifle or semiautomatic carbine)
Fifty rounds of ammunition
Cleaning kit
Secondary weapon (preferably a pistol)
Twenty-five rounds of ammunition

This is completely asinine. This is just enough ammunition to harass a group of zombies, not sweep them from an area. And if your primary weapon can't go 50 rounds without needing to be cleaned, you should find another one.

As usual, the rest of the recommended kit is more like a skimpily-outfitted camping trip kit than one suited for combat. There's an extended section for what every group of ten people should have, and although most of it makes sense, some of it is of dubious value (two grappling hooks? Seriously?).

The transportation section is a short blurb that basically undoes the "vehicles are too noisy" whining of the "On the Run" chapter, throwing this in as an advantage since you're hunting the undead, not avoiding them, although it warns not to "become too dependent on your vehicle," whatever that's supposed to mean. It also recommends "removing the rubber from a bicycle's tires" to make noise, too. Yeah, that's what I want to do when surviving the Zombie apocalypse: Ruin the wheels of my only source of transportation.

Brooks then goes on about hunting in different terrain types. The Plains section is my favorite.

Another slight but still potential danger is posed by the odd zombie who may be lying in the tall grass. Undead who have lost their legs or had their spinal columns severed can remain undetected until it is too late. If your team is traveling through tall grass, travel slowly, watch the ground, and listen for any rustling or moans.

They're zombies, Max, not fucking rattlesnakes. If you find one trying to grab your pants, I've got the perfect solution right here.

This is a close-combat nightmare. Sniper rifles and other long-range weapons such as crossbows will be next to useless. Equip your team with carbines and/or shotguns.

I imagine that Carlos Hathcock, if he was still alive, would disagree.

The rest details certain strategies for eliminating zombies. Most seem decently workable, although once you start getting into the underwater hunting section any nitpicks are more with the illustrations and practical uses of certain weapons (do you really want to impale a zombie on a hook, bring him to the surface, and shoot him in the head? I wouldn't want that hook back).

EDIT: In lieu of a proper Part 4, a bit on protective clothing is up next here.
20th-Jul-2008 08:42 pm (UTC)
These are all very interesting points. The zombie-fanbase has, for the most part, been very complimentary of this book, so it's nice to read a review that takes a critical approach to the book without getting caught up in the fanboy-ness of it all.

I'll be mentioning your review in my Mail Order Zombie podcast (http://www.mailorderzombie.com).
21st-Jul-2008 11:55 am (UTC)
Wow, that's unexpected. And cool. Thanks!
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