The Weiser Field Guide to Vampires: Legends, Practices, and Encounters Old and New
Weiser Books (2009)
Reviewed by Vicki Landes for Reader Views (10/10)
When I initially received the book “The Weiser Field Guide to Vampires: Legends, Practices, and Encounters Old and New” to review, I expected to read a condensed encyclopedia of sorts; a basic collection of obscure vampire facts and containing no strong opinion or interpretation of this information one way or the other. The current sweeping popularity of such vampire related books, television shoes, and movies as “Twilight” and “True Blood” have brought an overwhelming number of would-be authors to jump on this bandwagon; I simply anticipated that this book would be like others of this genre. In actuality, though, the book was completely opposite in nature – while it is a collection of peculiar information, author J.M. Dixon is definitely – and very strongly – biased towards the existence of vampires and hopes to clarify the subtle lines between what is romanticized in our pop culture and what has roots in global folklore. Although the book was not at all what I had originally anticipated, I found it to be extremely entertaining nonetheless.
“The Weiser Field Guide to Vampires” is a short yet comprehensive look at vampire mythology through history. Bringing together traditional stories and lore from Romania, Ireland, Ghana, Guinea, Mexico, and other countries, Dixon pieces together how this information came to inspire vampire legend and go on to evolve into what is thought of as modern vampirism. Further, he delves into feeding options, energy transfers, myths, physical weaknesses, how to distinguish between real and fake vampires, and finally, how to tell if you are, in fact, a vampire.
Without judging the validity of the author’s biases, I found “The Weiser Field Guide to Vampires” to be exceptionally written and edited; J.M. Dixon is obviously an expert on the subject. He writes with strong conviction, solid authority, and a driving seriousness while keeping his readers – yes, even this non-believer – hooked to the very last page. Whether you actually believe in vampires or just enjoy being swept away by this latest hot Hollywood fad, “The Weiser Field Guide to Vampires: Legends, Practices, and Encounters Old and New” is both truly educational and engaging.