Book Review: World War Z

Book Review: World War ZWorld War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks
Published by Crown Publishing Group on September 12th 2006
Pages: 342
Buy on Amazon

Now a major motion picture!

The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.

Ranging from the now infamous village of New Dachang in the United Federation of China, where the epidemiological trail began with the twelve-year-old Patient Zero, to the unnamed northern forests where untold numbers sought a terrible and temporary refuge in the cold, to the United States of Southern Africa, where the Redeker Plan provided hope for humanity at an unspeakable price, to the west-of-the-Rockies redoubt where the North American tide finally started to turn, this invaluable chronicle reflects the full scope and duration of the Zombie War. 

Most of all, the book captures with haunting immediacy the human dimension of this epochal event. Facing the often raw and vivid nature of these personal accounts requires a degree of courage on the part of the reader, but the effort is invaluable because, as Mr. Brooks says in his introduction, “By excluding the human factor, aren’t we risking the kind of personal detachment from history that may, heaven forbid, lead us one day to repeat it? And in the end, isn’t the human factor the only true difference between us and the enemy we now refer to as ‘the living dead’?”

Note: Some of the numerical and factual material contained in this edition was previously published under the auspices of the United Nations Postwar Commission.

My husband has been pestering me to read World War Z since he read it a couple months ago and I finally found some time to settle into the book. This is the type of book that takes me a little longer to read, more set up like a nonfiction novel with short interviews and stories by those still alive after the Zombie War. I felt it really put the reader in the mindset that this event really took place and gave a feel of realism as to how the world reacted. 

One of my favorite parts of the book was about a Raptor driver who was shot down and had to survive. By some chance, a woman was nearby and able to help guide her via radio to safety. At the end of the story, you realize that it was more than likely possibly that this woman was literally all in her head and did not exist. That honestly had to be my favorite story. 

A close second was the story of the Chinese submarine that went rogue and survived by running and trying to avoid detection. It was a more touching story than I thought it would be and my husband's favorite in the book. Overall, I really enjoyed the different stories and viewpoints on the war and all that happened. Reading the book now has me wondering how the movie relates when it was such a different type of read than normal zombie books. 

Final Verdict: An unusual book that reads like nonfiction about a zombie war that possibly could happen. Definitely a book to check out if you want to really immerse yourself in what could happen during a zombie apocalypse.

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One response to “Book Review: World War Z

  1. This book has been in my classroom library for the last few years, but I always struggle getting students to read it. Admittedly, I've never read it myself. Your review might help me sell this to some of my readers (you sold it to me, and I've never really had interest in it). Thanks!

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