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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 fi...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780307346605
ISBN-10: 0307346609
Publication Date: 9/12/2006
Pages: 320
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.

4.2 stars, based on 90 ratings
Publisher: Crown
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 2
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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 + 377 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.
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!
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reviewed World War Z : An Oral History of the Zombie War on + 181 more book reviews
I don't usually read zombie books, or even horror novels in general, but this one sounded different enough to interest me.

The premise of this novel, written as if it's nonfiction, is that roughly 20 years ago, a disease broke out (probably originating in China) that, after the victim has died, reanimates said victim as a bloodless, flesh-eater who can only be stopped by destroying its brain. This enemy became known as zombies or ghouls (shortened in military speak to Zack or Gs). The world war that broke out between the zombies and the living lasted roughly 10 years, and now another 10 or so years have passed. The author has traveled around the world, interviewing survivors from various countries, backgrounds, and roles, all of whom offer different perspectives of the war. His original purpose was to create the "United Nations Postwar Commission Report," but distilling all the interviews into black-and-white facts didn't feel right to him, so he put together this book as a supplement.

My husband keeps saying that it's only a matter of time before Nature takes care of the overpopulation problem, be it some type of super flu or whatever. Obviously, a zombie outbreak seems unlikely, but otherwise, this book hypothesizes what that type of catastrophic event could look like, in chilling, fascinating detail.

Second reading (for book club): March 11-18, 2013
I still really enjoyed this book the second time around, but trying to see it through the eyes of my book group members, Brooks includes a fair amount of gore (really not anything compared to the average zombie book, least what I'm guessing the average zombie book contains since I don't usually read that genre) and a lot of f-bombs and their various little friends. Unless you've been strong-armed into reading this book by members of your book group (another woman actually suggested it, I just seconded), you're probably prepared for these two elements.

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