By Max Brooks
Published by Crown
on September 12, 2006
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.
I’ve wanted to read this book for quite some time!
It’s no secret that I love zombie fiction, so this book seemed right up my alley: I love to read about them, watch movies about them, and of course, I watch The Walking Dead on TV. I definitely went into this book expecting to love it, and I was not disappointed.
This does not read like a novel; rather, it’s presented as a series of interviews with survivors of the world-wide zombie apocalypse. The interviews take place all over the world: China, Russia, Canada, South Africa, and more.
Clearly, if you don’t like zombie stories, this may not be for you. I, however, loved the way the book presented all of these different stories, and even made me feel for people whose stories may have only taken up a couple of pages. I’ve seen reviews that say the book is boring because it takes place after the zombie war and therefore there is no action or excitement, but I completely disagree. The action is recounted by the survivors, and I don’t think their tales were any less terrifying simply because they had survived to tell them. I also liked that despite the horrors encountered by the survivors, there was hope and a determination to work together in order to survive that brought the stories together.
The author has spent a lot of time thinking about zombies – there was even an interview with someone who dealt with zombies on the ocean floor, which I thought was really interesting – and there is an awful lot of detail in here, which I liked because it made it all seem more real, like these were true survival stories. The global economic, political, and even environmental impacts of a zombie war are all shown through the various interviews.
I couldn’t help but think about what would happen if zombies invaded my city – what would be the best escape route, what would be the best weapon to use to defend myself, where would I go to safety, etc. This is all fun stuff to think about because you know it won’t ever happen, but part of the fun of reading this, for me, was letting myself pretend that it could be real.
I loved reading this, and if you like to read about science fiction, zombies, horror, or if you’re just looking for something a little different, I recommend this book.