Zombie Reviews



How will the international community respond to the challenges of a rapidly changing world? Will we see deeper and more sustained cooperation, or a reversion to crude power politics? To answer such questions, it is natural to turn to the international relations literature. I’ve just read Dan Drezner’s little introduction to the subject in one sitting, and if there’s a funnier social science book that has been published in the last couple of decades I’d be interested to hear about it.Kevin O’Rourke.

“Theories Of International Politics And Zombies is clever, nicely dissecting the strengths and weaknesses of different theories and offering observations about how, for instance, constructivists should destroy all previously published zombie-apocalypse movies, lest people actually act as selfishly as most characters in those films do. While most zombie narratives start after government has failed, Drezner is far more optimistic that through cooperation, humanity would survive a zombie outbreak.”  Samantha Nelson, A.V. Club

Drezner cleverly deploys the zombie metaphor to illustrate how different theories would deal with a situation in which ravenous zombies roamed the Earth….. Drezner elucidates the often-arcane world of international theory in an interesting and highly amusing way. He also shows how close the relationship between politics and popular culture is, how the latter can convey social and political critique in the most unlikely ways, and why satire remains such an important form of that critique.”  Stephanie Lawson, Times Higher Education

As Drezner dryly applied the tenets of liberalism, postmodernism, neoconservatism, and social construction to zombies, the zombies became both a tool to introduce each theory, and a means to mock the rigidity, preconceptions, and predictability of each theory. The absurdity, and yet the complete plausibility, of extending theories that model human behavior to inhuman, brain-eating, fictional fiends – this is the sort of silliness that delights many of us.”  Jess Palmer, Bioephemera

“Smart, funny, creative, and thought provoking, Theories of International Politics and Zombies is a worthwhile and engaging read, and is essential reading for all political leaders if the fight against zombies is ever to be won.”  Sara Yasin, London School of Economics

Theories of International Politics and Zombies looks at ways that various schools of thought—structural realism, social constructivism, etc.—might combat various threats posed by an army of the living dead…. It all adds up to a gory—but painless—primer on international relations, and one of the year’s more entertaining teaching tools.”   The Observer’s Very Short List

“Whatever else it may be, an attack by bloodthirsty ghouls offers a teachable moment. And Drezner, who is a professor of international politics at Tufts University, does not waste it. Besides offering a condensed and accessible survey of how various schools of international-relations theory would respond, he reviews the implications of a zombie crisis for a nation’s internal politics and its psychosocial impact. He also considers the role of standard bureaucratic dynamics on managing the effects of relentless insurgency by the living dead. While a quick and entertaining read, Theories of International Politics and Zombies is a useful introductory textbook on public policy — as well as a definitive monograph for the field of zombie studies….  I can’t recommend it highly enough”  Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed.

In addition to wargaming various zombie scenarios, Drezner’s book serves as an entertaining primer on the distinctions between several theories of international politics.”  Katherine Mangu-Ward, Reason

“[H]ow might the editorials of, say, Bill Kristol differ from those of the Nation and New Republic on how to deal with the shambling demi-humans?…. Aside from his political scientist colleagues, who might get a chuckle out of hearing how their theories might be deployed against cretinous border-disrespecting vectors of infection—talk about asymmetrical warfare: nukes against brain-munchers?—the book is also aimed at students who might find that international-relations theory goes down better with a serving of gore.”  Chris Shea, Wall Street Journal

A light, breezy volume, TIPZ is a valuable primer in international relations theory for laypeople, and thank God for that—it’s been a long time coming. But Drezner’s real genius is that he’s written a stinging postmodern critique of IR theorists themselves…. It’s both a pedagogical text and a lampoon of pedagogy.”  Adam Weinstein, Mother Jones

“The zombie mashup you’ve been waiting for: an international relations textbook with zombies.”  Charles Jane Anders, iO9.

“Political science isn’t really a science at all – it’s more like a collection of disparate and even contradictory world-views.  Daniel Drezner… has hit upon the perfect way to weigh those world-views against one another…. the detail with which Drezner can apply international political theory to the zombie apocalypse is striking.”  Josh Rothman, The Boston Globe

“[A]n intriguing intellectual conceit to explain various schools of international political theory…. Drezner is fascinated with zombies–he’s seen all the movies and read the books–and writes with clarity, insight, and wit…. This slim book is an imaginative and very helpful way to introduce its subject–who knew international relations could be this much fun?”   Publisher’s Weekly

“[T]he prospect of a zombie apocalypse turns out to be quite a good test by which to differentiate the major schools in international policy.”  Ed Lake, The National

“In other words, whether you are a zombie fan, a politics nut, or both, you’re likely to find “Theories of International Politics and Zombies” a fascinating read.”  Lisa Bolton, Examiner

Juxataposing George A. Romero with Donald Rumsfeld to make real-world ‘predictions’…. No man seems better qualified for this exposé than Drezner.”  Fangoria



Drezner is to the zombie attack what Thucydides is to the Peloponnesian War–he is its great chronicler. As witty as he is insightful, Drezner has taken old ideas and traditions in international relations and brought them back to life.”–G. John Ikenberry, Princeton University

Bless Dan Drezner for this book which punches huge holes in the hokum of American foreign policy thinking. Our theories in this business have been thin and often very costly, and if it takes Drezner’s ‘zombie attack’ to puncture their bloat, so be it. Besides, the book is fun.”–Leslie H. Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations and former New York Times columnist

One of the most creative books about international relations you will ever read–and one of the smartest.”–Peter Beinart, author of The Icarus Syndrome

This book fills a gnawing gap in the international relations literature and adds flesh to those bones by communicating key international relations theories in a fresh, fun, and effective way.”–Daniel Nexon, Georgetown University, editor of Harry Potter and International Relations

This interesting, thoughtful, and engaging book nicely integrates the classics of zombie work with theories of international politics to make sense of human–and nonhuman–behavior. This is the only international politics textbook that will make students frequently laugh and think at the same time. Indeed, this textbook is food for brains, which may, of course, only attract more zombies.”–Stephen Saideman, McGill University

Zombie theory sounds silly, but there’s a serious argument underneath it all…. the beauty of zombie theory is that it applies to all sorts of emerging trans-national security threats, including those we have yet to anticipate or imagine.”–Max Fisher, The Atlantic.

It’s a funny new book by Daniel Drezner, a scholar of international political economy at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. In it he asks, mock-seriously, how leading academic interpreters of war and diplomacy might respond to a completely novel problem—like the threat to global security posed by the ‘undead.’“–Stephen Sestanovich, The New Republic.

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