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World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War
World War Z An Oral History of the Zombie War
Author: Max Brooks
Brooks, the author of the determinedly straight-faced parody The Zombie Survival Guide (2003), returns in all seriousness to the zombie theme for his second outing, a future history in the style of Theodore Judson's Fitzpatrick's War. Brooks tells the story of the world's desperate battle against the zombie threat with a series of first-person a...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780307346612
ISBN-10: 0307346617
Publication Date: 10/16/2007
Pages: 352
Rating:
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 378

4.2 stars, based on 378 ratings
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War on + 7145 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 18
Although WORLD WAR Z is, without a doubt, fiction, it's also so much more than that. You can call it a satire; what you can't call it is a totally made up story that could never happen in the real world.

Told in an interview style, WORLD WAR Z is the story of the Zombie War that nearly decimated Earth. From the Great Panic to VA Day, every possible voice is heard from--politicians, soldiers, divers, dissidents, deserters, and the everyday, average Joe who found himself fighting for his life and way of existence in the face of the undead.

Max Brooks has a very unique writing style, a very loud "voice" that draws you into his story from page one and never lets go. Although there's never been an actual war against an insurgent tide of undead, there have been plenty of wars and squirmishes throughout history that the author had to draw from. From the Vietnam and Korean wars, from World War I & II and the fight against Hitler, from Desert Storm to the current fight against terrorism in Iraq, Mr. Brooks has managed to pull the best--and worst--from everyone involved and use it in his fictional account.

There's no doubt that WORLD WAR Z is an amazing, addictive, wonderful read. It's also emotional, disturbing, and thought-provoking. Although I may not worry, per se, about an upcoming fight against zombies, I do worry about the world that my children, and future grandchildren, will be left to inhabit after I'm gone. In that respect, this story is frightening. It's scary to think that the world, whether it be the mighty democracy of the United States or the iron fist of Russia or China, would not be prepared to defend themselves against a global attack from something outside of their human enemies.

Kudos to Mr. Brooks for such a great read. Fiction or satire, pure speculation or hard fact, WORLD WAR Z is one book you don't want to miss.
reviewed World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War on + 774 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
By now, I'm sure all zombie fans, and most people, have heard of this book. With an acknowledged debt to Romero, Brooks sets up a scenario familiar to zombie fans: the zombie apocalypse has occurred. The living dead spread over the entire planet, and although humanity is now ascendant, and recovering from the plague, life is not as we knew it, after long, hard battles worldwide. In order to give an historical perspective on what has come to be known as "World War Z," the author presents a series of interviews between himself and survivors of this war from around the globe.
I had a few doubts, at first, about this non-traditional format for a novel, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well Brooks made it work. It was consistently absorbing and exciting, and the many varied characters were all believably realized. As the best zombie stories usually are, the book's focus is really on social commentary. In portraying how each country, or various individuals, respond to the zombie threat (from altruism or bravery to cowardice, ill-planning, or just the opportunity to make a quick buck), Brook really gives an overview of world politics and current events.
I've heard that the book has been optioned for a movie (not surprising, I suppose, since Max is Mel Brooks' son), but I don't really see how it would work as a film. However, I would highly recommend this book.
reviewed World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War on + 73 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
Max Brooks' World War Z turns zombie-lore on its bloody, severed head and presents it in a brand new way. Humanity has already won the war on Zombie when the book begins, the struggle for survival has been triumphant. But Brooks is out to tally the physical and spiritual losses humanity endured by interviewing survivors from every continent.

The voices of these survivors, from Cuba, China, America, South Africa, Britian, Canada are real, believable and unique. They are civilians, soldiers, politicians, and doctors. With amazing detail, the humanity of the stories shines through even the bleakest experiences.

Ultimately, Brooks succeeds in more than writing a good story; he creates a world, a world of his own vision that mirrors our own in all its horror and glory.
reviewed World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War on + 15 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
I could not put this book down! I'm a huge fan of the zombie genre, and it is hard for writers/film makers to add something new. This book examines how the zombie invasion affected different cultures around the world, and how each group of people or characters had to overcome the attack. It is cleverly written as an oral narrative through many different characters who you instantly like and cheer for. The book reveals many political subtexts in the overall context of the story - Cubans taking in American refugees, how Communist China and the North Koreans respond, to name a few. It is definitely a refreshing take on the zombie genre.

Apparently the rights to this book has been bought by a Hollywood production company and will be made into a movie!
reviewed World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War on + 373 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
An entertaining, thoughtful, well-researched collection of interviews about a fictional war with the undead. The author clearly put a lot of thought into this, as cultural, economic, and historical references were considered when examining the scope of the zombie attack on civilization, how each nation fought it, and how eventually, humans overcame the threat. Excellent, quick read with much to say about humanity.
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reviewed World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War on + 25 more book reviews
As others have said, this book is more of a series of interviews with survivors, and their different accounts of events as they unfolded. The same characters only appear like once to twice; in general, the fictional interviewer meets with each one, gets their story, and records the relevant details.

I really enjoyed this; it is COMPLETELY different from the movie, since a movie has a hard time representing this same format, but the movie starts earlier. In the book, the apocalypse has already happened, and we are hearing stories of the survivors (where the movie starts as people are hearing about the outbreak).

I definitely enjoyed the interview format, and since I sometimes just read at lunch, it was easy to get to a stopping point, as the interview stories are usually pretty short.
reviewed World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War on + 5 more book reviews
It started off slow until I realized how this was building up to all the different people who had "dealt" with the war in their own specific ways. From soldiers, to doctors, to refugees, to your everyday joe...definitely a good read! So not like how people say the movie is (haven't seen it). Definitely kept my attention after the first chapter.
reviewed World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War on + 748 more book reviews
I am not a reader of horror, but I thought this was very well done. The realism made it even creepier for me. Rather than a traditional novel format, it's a series of interviews between the UN report writer and those who were somehow involved in the zombie war - military, mercenary, smugglers, leaders and regular citizens. It's a pretty amazing thought experiment - which countries would use the nuclear option, what would happen to the astronauts in space, who gets sacrificed, what weapons are most effective, how do the governments of countries reform in the aftermath...

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