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A Zombie's History of the United States
Dr. Worm Miller
Ulysses Press, 228 pages

A Zombie's History of the United States
Dr. Worm Miller
Dr. Worm Miller holds a doctorate in cultural zombology from the University of Minneapolis, where he teaches courses in zombie history. A Zombie's History of the United States is his first book. Miller lives in Bloomington, Minnesota.

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A review by David Maddox

Zombies continue their relentless, foot dragging, moaning assault on popular culture. And the concept of the "mash-up" has allowed many to meld two completely unrelated genres to create something entirely new and sometimes amazing. From Wax Audio's musical merging of Ray Parker Jr. and AC/DC to create "Thunderbusters" to Seth Grahame-Smith's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, no media is safe from this new trend.

Worm Miller's A Zombie's History of the United States falls into the written word category and takes the simple premise of retelling early US history, but revealing through hidden files that the early untamed Americas were rife with the undead. Each chapter then chronicles a well-known period but reveals the zombie elements that were the true cause behind them, how the settlers either defeated or succumbed to the zombie plague and how we emerged as the country we are today, despite these newly revealed adversities.

As with most mash-ups of this style, it helps to have a basic knowledge of the original subject matter. The US history portion really doesn't go much more beyond Junior High level education and any info the reader isn't familiar with can easily be found on the internet. Dr. Miller does a fine job of weaving zombie elements through famous historical events.

Readers will discover how the pilgrims fought their first Thanksgiving to stay alive against the hoards of the undead, how Lewis and Clark's expedition was more about finding a cure to the zombie infection, that George Washington was rumored to bite zombies with his wooden teeth and that Theodore Roosevelt was responsible for inspiring the Teddy Zombie before the much more popular Teddy Bear.

However, as clever and fun as some of the tales are, the book does suffer from what just seems to be overlaying of zombies on historical events. The Civil War is fought, and zombies were there. Valley Forge was endured, and zombies were there. The Boston Tea Party erupted, and zombies were there. While some elements do take an interesting twist on known historical events, most seem a trifle lazy with just adding zombies on top of what is already known.

Overall, the book is on the better side of the mash-up world. True US history buffs will probably get a kick out of it and zombie enthusiasts will definitely find it amusing. But it does stand as an interesting example of the direction pop culture is headed.

Copyright © 2011 David Maddox

David Maddox
Science fiction enthusiast David Maddox has been Star Trek characters, the Riddler in a Batman stunt show and holds a degree in Cinema from San Francisco State University. He has written several articles for various SF sites as well as the Star Wars Insider and the Star Trek Communicator. He spends his time working on screenplays and stories while acting on stage, screen and television. He can sometimes be seen giving tours at Universal Studios Hollywood and playing Norman Bates.

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