Theories of International Politics and Zombies
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Theories of International Politics and Zombies

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  593 ratings  ·  94 reviews
What would happen to international politics if the dead rose from the grave and started to eat the living? Daniel Drezner's groundbreaking book answers the question that other international relations scholars have been too scared to ask. Addressing timely issues with analytical bite, Drezner looks at how well-known theories from international relations might be applied to...more
ebook, 168 pages
Published January 1st 2011 by Princeton University Press (first published December 21st 2010)
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Brian
Take an insightful professor of international politics with a great sense of humor, mix in the entire canon of zombie lit and cinema, and you have the recipe for a delightfully fun and irreverent look at the "what ifs" of a world gone mad with brain eating hordes.

Drezner's preface to the book uses a Graceland tour guide as the analogy to what his treatise hopes to be; and it works. His posits are well researched and plausible - even though he is dealing with a subject matter pure fiction. Yes, h...more
Harrison
I'm not entirely proud to say I read this. Still, it was far better than I expected. I honestly checked it out for the International Politics angle rather than the "braaaaains" angle. I took several courses in International Relations while in college and I always had problems keeping the distinctions between the various schools of thought straight. This book explained them in a way that made sense, and was entertaining. Still, Drezner could've gone deeper into explicating the theories without lo...more
Deniz Cem Önduygu
I started this book with high expectations, partly because of its great cover design, but mainly because I was excited by the sense of humor of an author putting together the topics of international politics and zombies. Never have I been so wrong.

Ever since I first heard about the book, I'd been envisioning a tongue-in-cheek, sarcastic or absurdist attitude; instead, the author is almost apologetic about writing such a book, repeatedly explaining why he dared to bring these topics together and...more
Christopher
So, you all have read the Facebook challenges about what you would do if the zombie apocalypse comes. You know what your weapons are, who your teams are. I assume you've been to the ZombieSquad webpage and built your bug-out-bags.

But what will our leaders do? How will nations act when cross-border zombie infiltration and infection becomes a problem?

This book looks to answer those questions. By surveying popular media portrayals of zombies and human responses and combining that data with leading...more
Mike
I heard an interview with the author of this book on public radio and it sounded great. Use the idea of a zombie outbreak to explain the different schools of thought in international relations. How would a neo-conservative think the world would respond to this crisis? And how does this same neo-con believe we should respond? What about those from realist or liberal schools of thought? And so forth.

Problem is, I think it made a much more interesting and funnier interview than it did a book. It's...more
Benny
It's quite an amusing book, and I had fun reading it. It also clarified the basic principles of some schools of international relations that I hadn't been exactly clear on. However, I think you'd have to be a) very much MORE into international relations than I am and picking up on some of the subtle cleverness of his presentation, b) very much LESS into international relations and the social sciences in general than I am, and have this as a true introduction, or c) very much more familiar with t...more
Thea Zhu
Love the author's idea, though its execution wasn't what I have expected, but here I mostly have to "blame" my personal taste for the little let-down.

This book was recommended to us from our tutor for international relations. I thought I'd give it a try, since studying the theories was mandatory to pass the corresponding class. It explains the basic ideas behind the theories very clearly and is also written in way that is easily to read. I also liked a lot that the author really implemented the...more
Yair
This felt like a Cliff Notes version of a dry international text, spiked with zombies a la Grahame-Smith. It was often a bit dry and strained and nowhere near as enjoyable as, for example, World War Z, but Theories of International Politics and Zombies was still a quick enough read and laugh-out-loud funny enough in enough places I'll generously give it four stars.
Tree
All around interesting read. I bought it to learn a little about international politics. And zombies. And I actually learned about both! It actually made the material... come alive, shall we say? It's definitely food for brains, which beats brains for food.
Anna
This is not a book about zombies. It is a short academic examination of political theories and their different perceptions of and reactions to a cross-border emergency situation--it just so happens that the emergency example pulled out of the hat is 'zombie outbreak', though it could just as easily have been Martians or the Spanish Flu. So if you're interested in political philosophy (or studying it & having a tough time), you might well enjoy this as a quick look-over of different schools o...more
Artur Coelho
No prefácio a Synthetic Worlds, Eduardo Catronova aponta para uma tradição nas ciências sociais de escolher um tema divertido ou absurdo e fazer um paper aplicando teorias e técnicas de análise metodológica, aliviando o tédio de congressos cheios de comunicações interessantes mas... áridas. No caso de Castronova a coisa resvalou e de possível artigo divertido sobre as economias dos mundos virtuais transformou-se em objecto de investigação e carreira académica.

Drezner aplica o mesmo raciocínio às...more
John
I read this book as part of a research project on zombie fiction and survival narratives, hoping to get a sense of how something like a zombie-apocalypse might be dealt with in a "real-world" scenario. I can't say that this book offered much insight in that regard, since it didn't show a very sophisticated knowledge of the zombie genre or a serious interest in "outbreak" scenarios. Instead it relies on old movie cliches and zombie-puns to provide an entertaining summary of basic concepts in inte...more
Schnaucl
This book is not what I expected. I think I was expecting something about how major nations would act in the event of a zombie apocalypse. Most novels are focused on a small area or even a nation but there isn't much about how the leadership of the nation would interact with other nations (if such interaction is possible). That's not what this is.

This is mostly a book about various political theories. I must admit up front that my tolerance for pure theory is pretty low. Rawl's veil of ignorance...more
John Defrog
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more fun academic book than this. It’s a essentially a thought exercise that examines different academic theories/philosophies on international relations and politics (realpolitik, liberalism, neo-conservatism, social constructivism, etc) and how each would respond to a sudden zombie outbreak. Drezner has a lot with fun with it, to the point of using the plots of zombie films and books (Romero’s films, World War Z, and so on) as guidepost scenarios to direct the...more
Holden Attradies
A really awesome book. The first time I "read" it was via audio book and I felt pretty lost. But having given it a second read through with a hard copy where I was able to more slowly digest all the big words and terms (rather than let them fly by) I found I understood and enjoyed it WAY more than my last go through.

I think what I like most about it is how he ties in the best works of the zombie genre and bases his reactions of the world around that, not on how he expects zombies to be. One thin...more
Amy
I wish I had Drezner as a professor in college. He's humorous, introduces new content clearly without being condescending, and provides sufficient reasoning to support his ideas. This was a really fun prep read for a project we had our students do on international relations theory, and the application to a zombie apocalypse made it tangible for the students.

I read Drezner's foreign policy blog regularly because he is able to represent complex content in a simplified manner.

I also read this at th...more
Carrie Robison
I wish I knew more political theory wonks to whom I could recommend this book.

While a passing familiarity with U.S. politics and international relations would be helpful to enjoy ALL of the jokes, it certainly serves as a great (and funny) introduction or refresher to international political theories.

Francisco Márquez
"Theories of International Politics and Zombies" is equally educational as it is hilarious. But it's defect lies in it's assumption that every Zombie movie/book/what-have-you is created and written with a deliberate, sociological purpose, when lots of them are written with either a superficial hedonistic purpose, or for mockery (i.e. Shaun of the Dead). The research field on zombies is so limited to this that it's hard not to succumb to these, nevertheless it becomes a crippling limitations in s...more
A
Our society is increasingly recognizing the importance of zombies in the arts, science, and every day life. This is an important addition to our understanding of the undead, particularly the international political (and to some extent sociological and psychological) challenges posed by them.

My main criticism is the minimal focus on zombie economics. This field seems hitherto minimally explored. There is substantial room for economics to improve our understanding of how to deal with a zombie apo...more
Alex Sarll
Normally, I consider books with 'and zombies' tacked on the title to be the lowest form of wit - but normally those books don't come from Princeton's press. This is an expert's admirably thorough piss-take of his field, which might also prove quite handy should the dead rise.
Rich Cranford
A great intro or primer for international relations theory with zombie movies used rather than historical case studies or current events to illustrate theories. Very informative for personnel without significant IR background and provides interesting insight into application of IR theory to 21st century security challenges (albeit somewhat superficial coverage of these topics). However those conversant with IR theory will most likely find the zombie vehicle more annoying than clever...and after...more
Däv
This book is hilarious. A good tool if you want ti introduce IR theory to the uninitiated but also a fun light read if you are already familiar with much of the theoretical content.
Julie Jansen
The premise of the book is fun, but I had a hard time getting into it. It reminded me of one of those extremely technical grad school papers with tons of footnotes and references to various other sources (but fun ones in Drezner's book, I'll admit). Drezner seemed to reference Max Brooks's "World War Z" most of all when describing various international politics topics from "the Realpolitik of the Living Dead" to "Neoconservatism and the Axis of Evil Dead," although zombie authors and directors f...more
Bridgitte
Wow there is a lot when you scratch the surface of the zombie thing. 58 percent of philosophers believe in zombies on some level. Most of my research has drawn academic articles from philosophers... articles on consciousness, materiality, what makes us human, etc. Fascinating stuff.

I'd give this book a 3.5 if I could. I was hoping for a book that interrogated how zombie lit/film is a metaphor for social/political concerns. That's not what this book is, but it's funny. Dry humor .... how differen...more
Jamelle
BIlled as just another zombie book, Dan Drezner's "Theories of International Politics and Zombies" is more of an international relations primer, for those interested in a quick and easy to understand explanation of major theories and issues in IR. It's funny, at parts, with the occasional rhetoric hiccup (for which I blame political science). And given its length and subject matter, it is best read as a companion piece to Max Brooks' "World War Z," which does an excellent job of fleshing out the...more
Randall Myers
Fun read, a bridge linking the world of must see zombie flicks and reads to the realm of the world stage and politics. Just the right blend of humor and fiction one needs for a good read.
that cute little red-eyed kitten
I love the idea of this book, and found it in parts quite entertaining. Especially the chapter on social construction was good. But I think one has to be quite above average interested in social theory/political science on the one hand, and zombie movies and litterature on the other, to not be left with the impression of a rather boring book, despite all its promise of the opposite. I thought I was interested enough in both to enjoy this, but as it turned out, I wasn't. However, if you're a fan...more
Dylan Alexander
An entertaining short (and shallow) primer on basic international relations theory in the context of combatting the zombie menace. It's overpriced, but I can forgive that because it's a small run university press issue and because it has quotes like this on how it would difficult to prevent all possible sources of zombie infestation from arising:

"It is unlikely that any government would be both willing and able to block all relevant research efforts into biological, nuclear, and computer techno...more
Ben Miller
I was duped into learning more about International Politics than zombies. Entertaining and accessible.
Carola
This started out as a fun concept. This book did an okay job at explaining basic international politics theories to the uninterested, but I still found it a disappointment. The introduction was promising, but the rest of the book focused too heavily (in my opinion) on zombies in fiction and not enough on international politics. The author should've either made it clear that fiction plays a main role and focus on that, OR take the joke to the next level and focus more seriously on international p...more
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“Indeed, one concern would be that the initial neoconservative response to a zombie outbreak would be to invade Iraq again out of force of habit.” 11 likes
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