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The American Book of the Dead

3.36 of 5 stars 3.36  ·  rating details  ·  312 ratings  ·  48 reviews
Eugene Myers is working on a novel about the end of the world. Meanwhile, he discovers his daughter doing porn online and his marriage is coming to an end. When he begins dreaming about people who turn out to be real, he wonders if his novel is real as well. Which isn’t good news: the radical and demented President Winchell is bent on bringing about worldwide destruction. ...more
Kindle Edition, 248 pages
Published November 1st 2009 by Backword Books (first published 2009)
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I feel like I owe Henry Baum, the author of The American Book of the Dead, a sincere apology. You see, he contacted me early last year about his book, thinking that it might be something that I would enjoy. I agreed to review the book, but told him that our first child was due soon and that it might be a while before I got to the book. Undeterred, he went on and mailed me a signed copy, scribbling a note on a card wishing me the best of luck with my soon-to-be daughter and that there was "no rus ...more
Beata Bowen
One of the most unique approaches to storytelling I've ever come across! It's a book about that same book, which already has been written, but the author does not remember actually writing it.... Was it written in the past or in the future? Was it written at all? It could have been a whole lot more confusing if it weren't for the fact that the book is about an apocalyptic event, which feels uncomfortably likely to happen (felt a whole lot more likely when Bush was still president, but who knows? ...more
Cheryl Anne Gardner
The year was 2020. Except as I write this the year is 2008.

Don’t try to make any sense out that, by the end you will understand, but for now the first person narrator/author of the book is just letting you know that he basically wrote a premonition, not a novel. Now I certainly don’t mind a little Nostradamus, even if the narrator claims it’s merely Cliff’s Notes from the future, and after the “end is near” prologue, we move into a more traditional narrative and a more linear timeline. In chapte
Hufh...Akhirnya... selesai juga baca buku ini.
Rasanya alurnya kok lambat bener ya. Trus penggambaran penulis tentang apocalypse-nya juga ga menggigit. Apa karena baca versi inggrisnya ya, sedang bahasa inggris q dibawah rata-rata? Haha..
Kemaren maksudnya sih biar sekalian belajar bahasa inggris :p
Kalau biasanya membaca novel selesai dalam beberapa jam, saya perlu berhari-hari untuk menyelesaikan buku ini.
Tapi wajar saja, soalnya novel yang dibaca kan juga bahasa indonesia, he.

Saat membaca bagian
Kevin Armstrong
I first discovered this book through the author's postings on, an online stew of esoteria where issues of potential apocalypse and alien visitors live far inside the norm. This novel makes an apocalyptic thrust with measured humaneness and a good deal of wistful irony through it's narrator: a writer writing an apocalyptic novel that begins to come true. Co-mingling psychic interventions with 'realist' style is never easy to pull off. Baum handles it with real aplomb in terms ...more
This was an amazing read. I think this gets comparisons with The Illuminatus Trilogy! because of the metatextual voice and magical realism that deals with temporal influences, but I think a better comparison would be The Satanic Verses. This had a great feel throughout the book, a building sense of something great, just like Rushdie does. And I think like SV, some people may find the ending abrupt. If you need resolutions to look all tidy, this isn't the book for you. But if you have the type of ...more
Interesting. Very interesting. I finished this last night and waited until almost a day later to review this because of the ending. At first I was annoyed, saying "Are you kidding me?" Now, thinking about it, I shake my head and laugh, because how else could it end?

I loved this book: The unique way it was written, the main character, Eugene with his view of the world, and how easily worldwide destruction could occur and is realistic!

This one will stick with me for a long time - isn't that what
Richard Barnes
This book is mad. Well written, with an engaging (if frequently whinging and complaining) narrator character, but still pretty mad. A book that tells the story of the book as it is being written (while the worlds ends).

It reminds me of something like Heinlen's Stranger in a Strange Land - this book rambles all over the place, but ultimately, it's an interesting place to be.

And - what's more, it was free.

Download it to your ereader now and give it a go.

Lenox Parker
goddamn this is an excellent book.

this story is dark, anti-establishment, and creepy and yet it sticks with me.

anytime someone asks me for a recommendation to read something interesting and different--regardless of genre--i always find myself suggesting they read TABD. awesome.

i'm terrible at writing book reviews, but i can rate this book at the top of my lists.

If you can make sense of the prologue you will enjoy this time twisting post/pre apocalyptic story, I actually think this story would do fantastic as a film.
One of the best books I have read in a long time. I loved it
I initially thought I was going to be confused by this book as it was about an author who writes a book about the future and the it turns out the future is how he has written it. He also starts to dream about people and decides that the messages he receives in the dreams are real and heads off to meet and save these people. Once I had my head around this the book was good.

The book is about a dystopian future with a religiously fanatical President whose aim is to kill off the masses and rise as
David Major
This book developed and changed as it went on, in ways that kept me thoroughly engaged. Intelligent and thoughtful, while at the same becoming increasingly surreal and worthy of a Dali painting. SF meets some very strange headspaces here. I like that kind of thing.

We start with a father discovering his daughter starring on a porn site, then take off into a political and psychological voyage through a World War started by a fundamentalist president whose father is the archetype of all elitist new
Ron Fritsch
As I read Henry Baum's The American Book of the Dead, I couldn't help but wonder if it was science fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy, dystopian fiction, or some other kind of non-realistic fiction. Early on, the narrator insists it's none of the above. Ultimately, I decided there was no need to answer the question.

For me, the most intriguing characters in this story are Charles Winchell, the President of the United States, his controlling (or not) father Benjamin, and the President's wife, A
I really did have to push myself to finish this book, and when I finally, at long last, got through it, I felt cheated. The ending, in my opinion, jumps the shark. Basically, this guy, Eugene Myers, writes a book that is somehow published before he finishes it.

I didn't like the narrator at all. He came across as self-serving and egotistical. Oh, and the author needs to go look up the word "evolve" in a dictionary. Any old dictionary will do. Cause he misused that word pretty much throughout the
Henry goes to great lengths to depict a future that is not just possible, but probable, building it up on a stage that’s meant to fall. The beauty of it is, by the time I got to the end, I wanted it to fall. I wanted the apocalypse to happen. Not because of President Winchell’s twisted dogma, but because of the implications of what might happen thereafter: That humanity, when facing the abyss, will awaken to a greater consciousness and progress, rather than destroy itself. The book gets a little ...more
Sift Book Reviews
While I appreciated the quality of the writing and the originality of the story, I couldn't really get in to this book. Don't get me wrong, I can tell that many many others will enjoy The American Book of the Dead immensely, but it's one of those books that just isn't for me. (Henry Baum has excellent company where this is concerned; many bestsellers fall in to this category.)

I think this book would be perfect for those who enjoy heavily philosophical sci-fi and for those who don't necessarily n
Ana Campanha
What an odd book to review! This is actually a completely insane story. It mixes aliens + world war + religious motivations + time travel... I don't really know how to define it. It skips from subject to subject until we get a feeling we know what the main plot is. Then it just starts all over again. Crazy, crazy, crazy!

Some parts were nice and you have this urge to know more about all the nonsense that is going on. But there are parts that are a bit boring and just "more of the same". Anyway, I
It's an interesting idea - a guy in 2008 writing a book about his future self who is writing the same book. There are a few twists and turns along the way like this which are pretty original and surprising. However, the rest of the book is just OK - the plot is a bit predictable in parts and the ending was quite weak. It was pleasant enough to read if you're happy to suspend disbelief and put up with some weak narrative, just not as well executed as I think the central premise deserved to be.
The American Book of the Dead,
By Henry Baum

Many writers have sailed off on the premise of a writer writing a book which turns out to be the book written—the one that you’re holding in your hands (in this case, The American Book of the Dead). Fiction’s shores are littered with these wrecks of self-indulgence. Henry Baum, who nests more than a few matryoshka dolls inside the concept, pulls it off mostly, in this cleverly plotted, and at times demanding, book.

John Plunkett
Book started off very promising with interesting premise - a writer writing about the apocalypse as if it has already happened although he is actually writing it in advance.

About a third of the way through it degenerates badly as the author seems to be in an incredible rush to get things done. The author also gets away from scenes and starts explaining everything instead.

Very disappointing.
Joel Tumes
The next American president is the anti-christ and will destroy the world (but you already knew that right?).
An eschatalogical tale of the apocalypse, drawing on the fringe beliefs of end-of-days cults and conspiracy theorists and presented as prophetic metafiction. If that piques your interest at all, as a bonus it's distributed for free on the internet (legally I mean).
Jessie Verino
I received this free from a Kindle promotion. The concept is intriguing. The story vanilla. Even with all the "action" in this story, it all felt bland. Like I was an observer, being prevented from immersing myself in the story, just like the narrator. The ending only accentuates this. I didn't dislike the story, but I can't say that I liked it, either.
Jordi Balcells
Más que cargarse la cuarta pared, se las carga todas. Es un libro raro, muy raro. No sé por dónde pillarlo.

Se lee fácil y rápido, pero no tiene mucha cohesión que digamos: parece que el autor no sabía muy bien a dónde iba y la trama se desarrolla a bandazos.

Poco más que decir, se puede descargar de
An interesting take on the end of world scenario. It started slow for me, but I found myself enjoying it more than I thought I would. I would rate the book better were it not for the ending. I didn't appreciate the conclusion at all. It lacked substance and I felt like the story fizzled to a conclusion.
Moxie Mezcal
Apocalyptic lit in the tradition of Wilson & Shea's Illuminatus!, TABOTD explores the double-edged roles that religious faith and warfare play in the human drama. An impressive blend of conspiracy theory, satire, philosophical musings, and intense mindfuckery.
Phil Thompson
I really wasn't expecting much from this book but found it to be a bit of a page turner. The whole thing about immanetizing the eschaton and alternative time lines was well done. I'm looking forward to reading part two but I'm saving that for a while
I could not force myself through this unappealing and boring book. Sometimes if I stick with a book it gets better as it goes on, but in this case I gradually came to dislike the narrator so much that it was impossible to continue.
I really liked this book. It was hard to understand at the beginning, but once I got into it it got really interesting. It's kind of a mind bender, and I had to re-read the beginning after I finished it.
Sarah Nicolas
I reviewed this book for Sift Book Reviews. I don't want to to skew the ratings by posting twice, but for the review you can go here:
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