May 4, 2012

Review ~ World War Z by Max Brooks

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’?”


Who isn't on a zombie kick these days? I'm one of those obsessional thinkers who can't get enough and am secretly planning her course of action just in case moaning zombies take over the earth.

World War Z was recommended to me by my awesome cousin, so I just had to give it a shot. I'd never heard of it before, but An Oral History of the Zombie War? I was all over it.

This book was different from those I normally read. In the format of interviewer-interviewee, the book holds accounts of the zombie war and the efforts to "clean up" from several points of view. It feels real when you're reading it, and you're tempted to refer back to your history books just to make sure your teachers weren't holding out on you.

Brooks did his homework, combining real people and events with fiction. The jargon was pretty heavy (thank goodness for endnotes), but that's what made the content more tangible. Military guys aren't going to talk in way so us mundane civilians can understand ~ they're going to speak in the language they live everyday, and Brooks used this reality to create an image of history so distinct that it feels as if it really happened.

I won't say this is an easy read. You have to pay attention and focus on the chronology of events as Brooks jumps from one interview to another. It's interesting to see the horror unfold from the points of view of so many different people, civilian and military alike, from all over the world. There isn't one main character, and it's more of a historical documentary than a fictional novel, but the storyline is there among the broken souls and wretched emotions of those involved in the beginning of the zombie war to the eventual "end" and clean up.

Kobo Highlights

I don't know if great times make great men, but I know they can kill them.

The monsters that rose from the dead, they are nothing compared to the ones we carry in our hearts.

The more work you do, the more money you make, the more peons you hire to free you up to make more money. That's the way the world works. But one day it doesn't.

Freedom isn't just something you have for the sake of having, you have to want something else first and then want the freedom to fight for it.

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

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