Zombies: A Cultural History

Author(s): Roger Luckhurst

Social Sciences | No Category | Reaktion Books

The zombie has shuffled with dead-eyed, remorseless menace from its beginnings in obscure folklore and superstition to become the dominant image of the undead today. In contemporary visions of global apocalypse, such as the films 28 Days Later, I Am Legend and World War Z and the phenomenally successful TV series The Walking Dead, the zombie has reached its apotheosis. Zombies have infected the cinema of nearly every nation, from France to Australia, Argentina and Brazil to China and Japan.

This absorbing history, now available in paperback, tracks zombies from their emergence in nineteenth-century writings about the Caribbean, through their slow transmission and mutation into the popular pulp fictions of America in the 1920s and '30s, to the arrival of the cinematic zombie, and reveals how after 1945 the walking dead swarmed into comics, pulp novels, b -movie cinema, horror fiction and video games.


Review: Luckhurst s wide-ranging history of this cult phenomenon is a richly detailed and eminently readable, nuanced, and rigorous story. He outlines the different shapes the complex, colonially driven monster takes in its century-long journey through the imperial American sub-Zeitgeist including its surprising global resurrection in the new millennium. Everyone from Zora Neale Hurston to 1950s pulp comics to esoteric space scientists and Kirkman had a hand in fashioning the imaginary creature we know today as the zombie. --Victoria Nelson, author of Gothicka and The Secret Life of Puppets"

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“As Roger Luckhurst declares in his alternately solemn and zany book,…..zombies represent the predicament of those who have been “depersonalised, flat-lined by the alienating tedium of modern life”. 

Peter Conrad  - The Guardian (JC BookGrocer)

General Fields

  • : 9781780236698
  • : Reaktion Books, Limited
  • : Reaktion Books, Limited
  • : September 2016
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Roger Luckhurst
  • : Paperback
  • : 224