Published by Random House on September 12, 2006
Genres: Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic, Horror, War & Military
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“The end was near.” —Voices from the Zombie War
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.
Being a zombie lover, this was a must read on my long list, but I somehow managed to watch the movie before the book. The movie was awesome, I really loved the concept behind the zombie warfare and other countries gearing up to defeat the apocalypse in different ways.
However, the book itself was a shock. It’s called World War Z, because it’s mostly filled with stories from old war veterans who experienced the zombie war. Filled with interviews from a bunch of different people all over the world, post zombie apocalypse, the book mostly explores the warfare behind each country and the weapons and strategies they used to mitigate the zombies.
What I liked about World War Z
- Some really interesting accounts from unique people. My favourite was the one of the Japanese sworld-wielding otaku (or nerd) and the blind Japanese guy.
- The amount of research the author has put into the every location featured in the book, the warfare of each country, and all these different people is astounding.
- Treating the zombie apocalypse as a global epidemic. I really enjoyed the different locations from around the world and snippets of what these places are like postwar.
- How the author explored how the zombies attacked and came to be in such detail across the world. I always thought an oil tanker or a submarine would be my best bet for surviving the zombie apolcaypse. From underwater zombies, to fast zombies, huge walls to keep the zombie out, zombies in Korea, it’s all covered here.
What I disliked about World War Z
- Written in a dry, boring, and dull manner. All these people have the same personality (or, no personality).
- I needed a dictionary at times. Here’s a direct quote from the book “It’s an inherent trait in the national zeitgeist. Whether we realise it or not, even the most indefatigable Luddite can’t deny our country’s technoprowess”. Wuh-what? Almost everyone in the book talks like this.
- Bogged down in war technicalities and military jargon. Feels like I’m reading an encyclopedia.
- Interchanges really interesting stories, with your typical dry, boring, war hero account. This was a constant source of frustration for me.
I don’t think I would recommend this book to people who loved the movie. Only extreme zombie enthusiasts (like me) who want to know everything and anything about the zombies would probably sit through the hard slog that this book has to offer. But hey, it’s a New York Times Bestseller, so what do I know.
I think the scope and global view of the zombie apocalypse definitely must be commended. No one has ever documented how the zombies came to attack the world around us and what happened post war, and the book title nails it on the head, with most zombie entertainment featuring a small group of survivors. I think the book title captures the experience perfectly as “The oral history of the zombie war”.
Rating: 3 out of 5