Ep. 5: Corsets, Shamblers, and Metaphors: Justina Ireland’s “Dread Nation”

Justina Ireland

Justina Ireland enjoys dark chocolate, dark humor, and is not too proud to admit that she’s still afraid of the dark. She lives with her husband, kid, cats, and dog in Pennsylvania. She is the author of Vengeance BoundPromise of Shadows, and the New York Times bestselling novel Dread Nation, which received six starred reviews.

Dread Nation

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania—derailing the War Between the States and changing the nation forever. In this new America, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Education Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations. But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.


In this episode, the All Spoilers Collective recognizes both Jane and Katherine’s bad-assedness while also tackling zombies, the definition of YA literature, boarding schools, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, and the power of corsets. It is our first episode at Cahoots Coffee Bar in St. Paul and we’re outside, so you, our loyal listeners get to hear us dodge planes, ambulances, and window air conditioners. Don’t worry, you can hear the team brilliance (confusion?) pretty well. All aboard the train to Spoilerland!


  • When They Blew the Levee: Race, Politics, and Community in Pinhook, Missouri by David Todd Lawrence and Elaine J. Lawless

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