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Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


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THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
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READING HERODOTUS:
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UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
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TRYING NEAIRA:
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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
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Nuzum, Eric: The Dead Travel Fast

  Amazon  

4.5 stars

Eating his bowl of Count Chocula one morning, author Eric Nuzum was struck by the ubiquity of vampire references in modern culture. He set himself the task of exploring the popularity of vampires, a quest which led to his book The Dead Travel Fast and to the graphic scene with which it begins: Nuzum watching blood drip down his bathroom mirror after an experiment in auto-hematophagy that went badly wrong. No, Nuzum's not a crazy person, but his investigation into vampirism did prompt him to do some wacky things. In addition to trying to drink his own blood, Nuzum watched 216 vampire films--apparently they get pretty bad after the first dozen or so--traveled to Romania on a bus tour with celebrity host Butch Patrick (a.k.a. Eddie Munster), took in a vampire-themed topless show in Vegas, and attempted to turn himself into a vampire in six easy steps. This last project necessitated his ending a meeting early so he could chant over a raw chicken liver. (Nuzum also watched all seven seasons--108 hours' worth--of Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer, developing an appropriate regard for it in the process. But that's a sign of good taste rather than wacky obsession!)

Nuzum's account of his modern-day exploration into things vampire is punctuated by the results of more traditional research. Nuzum writes about vampire mythology in antiquity, for example, and the connection between vampirism and disease; he discusses the curious legal history of the 1922 film Nosferatu, the masher note Bram Stoker wrote to Walt Whitman, and the sorts of things Vlad the Impaler got up to to deserve his epithet. Nuzum leads readers to suggest that he's not one to spend his time reading old books in dark libraries, but he's clearly done his homework. The book is also very well put together, Nuzum's more historical discussions woven seamlessly into his present-day narrative. Informative and well-written and, topping it off, quite funny in parts: Nuzum's book is definitely recommended.

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