The best books for surviving a zombie apocalypse

Who am I?

Like many of my generation, my formal introduction to the zombie genre started with George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead. Stories of the zombie apocalypse, and the arterial sprays, dismemberments, and eviscerations that accompanied it, have fascinated me ever since. But, I'm also a psychology professor. Although I was initially captivated by the carnage of the undead, I quickly found that the mindsets of the survivors were equally fascinating. More than anything, I love seeing how fictional worlds represent real-world psychological concepts.


I wrote...

Parenting in the Zombie Apocalypse: The Psychology of Raising Children in a Time of Horror

By Steven J. Kirsh,

Book cover of Parenting in the Zombie Apocalypse: The Psychology of Raising Children in a Time of Horror

What is my book about?

Parenting is difficult under the best of circumstances—but extremely daunting when humanity faces cataclysmic annihilation. When the dead rise, hardship, violence, and the ever-present threat of flesh-eating zombies will adversely affect parents and children alike. Depending on their age, children will have little chance of surviving a single encounter with the undead, let alone the unending peril of the Zombie Apocalypse. The key to their survival—and thus the survival of the species—will be the caregiving they receive.

Drawing on psychological theory and real-world research on developmental status, grief, trauma, mental illness, and child-rearing in stressful environments, this book critically examines factors influencing parenting, and the likely outcomes of different caregiving techniques in the hypothetical landscape of the living dead.

The books I picked & why

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Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep?: A Neuroscientific View of the Zombie Brain

By Timothy Verstynen, Bradley Voytek,

Book cover of Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep?: A Neuroscientific View of the Zombie Brain

Why this book?

Work smarter, not harder. If you want to survive a zombie apocalypse, you'll need to understand the behavior of the undead. And it all starts with a necrotic brain. If you know why zombies hunt, infect and kill their victims, you can devise effective strategies for avoiding and moving among the undead and, if necessary, killing them. I loved that the neuroscience in this book is very real, even if the zombies are not (yet). It is one of the best applications of nonfictional content to a fictional world available today — a must-read for lovers of brains, both alive and dead.


The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead

By Max Brooks,

Book cover of The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead

Why this book?

I will never survive a zombie apocalypse. I'm pretty sure my last words will be, "OMG, Zombies! I'm going to take a selfie! Arrgghh." But for those with good sense and practical intelligence, plans for defeating the undead will need to be developed and set in motion. That's where The Zombie Survival Guide comes in. Max Brooks' offering is a fascinating "how-to guide" for living in a world overrun with the living dead. This book has it all, from weapons and combat techniques to offensive and defensive strategies. The information in this book is invaluable for those prepping for the inevitable plaque of the undead. 


The Art of Eating through the Zombie Apocalypse: A Cookbook and Culinary Survival Guide

By Lauren Wilson, Kristian Bauthus (illustrator),

Book cover of The Art of Eating through the Zombie Apocalypse: A Cookbook and Culinary Survival Guide

Why this book?

An undead-rising means that there will be no early-bird buffets, no fast-food drive-throughs, and no food delivery services. And all of the Michelin chefs will be zombies, incapable of providing star-level dishes. But that doesn't mean you have to eat poorly! Wilson's and Bauthus' book details the culinary techniques and recipes needed to meet even the most finicky eater's gustatory and nutritional needs. The names of the recipes are worth the read alone! My personal favorite is "The Wok-ing Dead Stir-fry," although "Life's Chard, but it will be OKale" is a close second. 


The Invisible String

By Patrice Karst, Joanne Lew-Vriethoff (illustrator),

Book cover of The Invisible String

Why this book?

Families will be torn apart during the zombie apocalypse, both literally and figuratively. Distance or death will separate children from most (if not all) of those they love. In either case, feeling linked to those no longer near will be an essential part of the healing process. The picture book, The Invisible String, is a story of love, separation, and loss. It handles the topic beautifully. I recommend it often, especially to those wanting to help children cope with the death of a loved one.


Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse: First Aid Kit Building and Mini Med School for Preppers

By Ryan Chamberlin,

Book cover of Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse: First Aid Kit Building and Mini Med School for Preppers

Why this book?

When the dead roam, this book will function as a med-school, first responder, and training physician all rolled into one. That's a good thing, for medical professionals will be at ground zero for the zombie apocalypse. And most won't survive the first few days of the dead, as preserving life will seem more paramount than preserving death. And by the time staff figure out that both are equally important, it will be too late. Nevertheless, those who survive the apocalypse's initial stages will eventually need medical care. Even a minor wound could prove deadly if poorly cleaned. I found the information and practical advice in the book fascinating and potentially helpful under dire circumstances.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in zombies, the zombie apocalypse, and survival?

5,309 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about zombies, the zombie apocalypse, and survival.

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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