Review: World War Z by Max Brooks

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars, Genre: Fiction/Horror/Zombies, Pages: 352, Level: Intermediate

Book Description:

“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.”

World War Z tells the story of the Zombie Apocalypse like no other book does. It is a series of interviews spanning the globe as well as a variety of professions/ situations. It takes us from the first signs of infection, all the way to the new world post apocalypse. In short, this story is fascinating.

I would first like to make a couple of comments on the style. When I say that it is a series of interviews, I mean exactly that. Each interview begins with a short explanation of where the interviewer is and who he is interviewing. There are comments such as “He waves the thought away,” and actual questions from the interviewer. Visually, this chops up the story. Some may find it distracting and difficult to maintain a momentum.

In addition, the interviews span the globe and cover a wide variety of professions/situations. One interview may be in India, the next Russia, then the US, etc. The individuals interviewed range from your average Joe all the way up to top government officials or military officers. Again, I understand how some readers will find this style less enjoyable because the feel of the book is never consistent.

However, the style is one of the things I enjoyed most about the book. World War Z almost comes across like a news broadcast in some parts and a documentary in others. We are not looking at one or a few characters’ experiences; we are looking at a global response to a horrific event. Brooks takes the zombie and imagines how the world would respond if the seemingly impossible actually did happen. Like I said, it’s fascinating.

For example, we find out which country had the best strategy for keeping zombies out. We see what form of government Russia had before the apocalypse, and then what form they adopted after the apocalypse. We see the ugly side of capitalism in a vaccine that supposedly protects against infection. We watch as difficult decisions are made, resulting in haunting consequences. We come to understand that the survivors are not necessarily the lucky ones. Of course this barely scratches the surface.

The writing is phenomenal. However, if you are looking for a straight, horror, zombie fiction novel, this is not it. Quite frankly, I find this much more horrifying. Let’s just say I had to stop reading it at night.

Reviewed by Christina

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s