World War Z: A Book Review

I’m not too worried about revealing spoilers for the book because there is no real plotline to ruin. It’s not following specific characters who are on some quest, so there is no “Oh, Snape kills Dumbledore at the end of Book 6” kind of spoiler (sorry if that Harry Potter spoiler just ruined someone’s day). So, with a clean conscious, I shall continue.

World War Z is utterly fantastic. It’s written in an interview-style point of view, post-zombie apocalypse. It tells of a world struggling to regain some measure of sanity after mankind and society has virtually been wiped out by an undead scourge. The interview is conducted with a wide range of people to truly capture a unique perspective of the zombie apocalypse from many people’s point of view. From military to pop stars to suburban families, Max Brooks leaves no perspective untouched.

The military bits were my personal favorite. The realistically portrayed scenarios and combat situations were what sold it for me. From their struggle to break away from traditional military tactics (after all, what good are fear-inducing techniques on a foe that feels no emotion and no pain?) to the psychological effect on soldiers who were accustomed to having the most advanced weaponry work efficiently, only to find they were nearly useless against reanimated corpses whose sole purpose in their unnatural life is only to feed, I sometimes forgot that what I was reading was only fiction. I love when a book about zombies can do that.

The fall of society didn’t come overnight; every disease has an origin and through many different ways (some quite ingenious; who else but Max Brooks could have thought of the Z virus being spread through diseased hearts being used in illegal heart transplants in some obscure country, only to be brought back to the States?) it spread to every corner of the globe. Kind of reminds me of Pandemic 2.

The book also explores the many ways people reacted to the disease, whether it was the suburban family who thought it would last only a few months to the pharmaceutical director who manufactured a false vaccine that made a profit from panicking people. There were the fortresses in the “hot zones” in cities where hundreds of survivors struggled to endure the endless horde of zombies as the military had their own battles simply to remain united. There were those on Earth, trying to outrun infinite numbers of corpses with a finite amount of land to run to, as well as a handful of astronauts suspended in space, watching as the world burned from the bonfires of millions of refugees.

An illustration included in the book of the Battle of Yonkers, a disastrous loss to the zombie horde.

If it wasn’t already obvious, this book blew my mind. I felt as though I were reading a written testimony of events that had actually happened. If they made a movie of this, I think I would have a heart attack. Oh wait…….fire up those AEDs, I think I’m going into cardiac arrest.

It seems like they’re taking the adaptation seriously, for which I am endlessly grateful. The moment I hear a release date, I’m Fandango-ing some damn tickets to see it. If it’s done right, it will be Oscar-worthy.

Now excuse me while I go re-watch Dawn of the Dead and bask in the gory goodness that is zombies.


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2 Responses to World War Z: A Book Review

  1. Christopher says:

    That Harry Potter spoiler was the worst thing you could have ever done to me!

  2. Vladimir says:

    That’s an excellent review, I agree with all of it, except that I can’t watch/read any other zombie related material (not even “The Dawn of the Dead”, unfortunately) after reading this book.

    If you’re interested, here is my take on it in relation to the global crisis: http://www.vladimirkokorev.com/world-war

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