Review: World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War – Max Brooks

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War
Max Brooks

My rating:

5 star

Goodreads summary:

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.
Eyewitness reports from the first truly global war
“I found ‘Patient Zero’ behind the locked door of an abandoned apartment across town. . . . His wrists and feet were bound with plastic packing twine. Although he’d rubbed off the skin around his bonds, there was no blood. There was also no blood on his other wounds. . . . He was writhing like an animal; a gag muffled his growls. At first the villagers tried to hold me back. They warned me not to touch him, that he was ‘cursed.’ I shrugged them off and reached for my mask and gloves. The boy’s skin was . . . cold and gray . . . I could find neither his heartbeat nor his pulse.” —Dr. Kwang Jingshu, Greater Chongqing, United Federation of China
“‘Shock and Awe’? Perfect name. . . . But what if the enemy can’t be shocked and awed? Not just won’t, but biologically can’t! That’s what happened that day outside New York City, that’s the failure that almost lost us the whole damn war. The fact that we couldn’t shock and awe Zack boomeranged right back in our faces and actually allowed Zack to shock and awe us! They’re not afraid! No matter what we do, no matter how many we kill, they will never, ever be afraid!” —Todd Wainio, former U.S. Army infantryman and veteran of the Battle of Yonkers
“Two hundred million zombies. Who can even visualize that type of number, let alone combat it? . . . For the first time in history, we faced an enemy that was actively waging total war. They had no limits of endurance. They would never negotiate, never surrender. They would fight until the very end because, unlike us, every single one of them, every second of every day, was devoted to consuming all life on Earth.” —General Travis D’Ambrosia, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe

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Wow, that is one enormous synopsis on Goodreads huh?! But leaving that aside I absolutely loved this book. I was actually really uncertain if I would like this novel because I have never (until now) read anything about zombies, nor have I ever really seen a lot of zombie things (one short season of Walking dead doesn’t really count in my eyes).  So why did I like this book when I’m clearly not all that into the zombie genre? Let’s get into that now!

I’m having such a hard time at describing this book while making sense at the same time. I certainly hope you’ll get the gist of what I mean. This book was a lot different from my expectations. The thing I loved the most that this was all told in retrospect and in an interview-like fashion. It wasn’t centered around anyone in particular, we didn’t follow that one person who overcame the zombie war. We got the full size view. We saw every corner of the world in every stage of the war. If you skipped over the synopsis, go back and read it now because that’s exactly what I’m talking about. There was also a very tactical side to the war and I really enjoyed how in-depth this was worked out throughout the book. 

There wasn’t any one person that we followed throughout the book which makes it hard for me to discuss the characters in this book. But I will say that every person had his or her own personality that shone through in the (short) interview. It didn’t feel as if it was the same person discussing different situations at all, because everyone clearly acted in different ways during the war. And all of these stories just had a way of pulling me into the story. I was hooked within reading the first two interviews.

If there was ever a zombie apocalypse I think this book seems pretty realistical in the sense of what we can expect. Though that might sound strange I really mean it. There will be true heroes rising out from unexpected places, governments will make bad decisions, lots of people will die, etc.. All of these things are in the book and so much more.

2 thoughts on “Review: World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War – Max Brooks

    • I Haven’t seen the film either, but now that I’ve read the book I’m really curious as to how they adapted this to the big screen, so I might have to check it out!

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