on April 21, 2016
Excellent book. It's so well written and so realistic that one forgets it's fiction while reading it. Highly entertaining and engaging, I recommend this book to pretty much anyone. Movie version does not do it justice but I certainly hope Max Brooks writes a sequel.
on September 15, 2006
This is one of the best books that I have read in a long while. Its descriptions of a zombie holocaust and the worldwide response to it is realistic.
The book is a collection of short stories told as a post war interview of survivors.
Stories range from all over the world(including outer space)a young soldier who recounts the disastrous battle of Yonkers where "shock and awe" tactics failed in the face of mindless undead hordes to the actions of the Chinese submarine commander.
What surprised me is the great amount of sympathy the reader gets when he reads some of the heart breaking tales in the book and even some of the ironic and even surprise twists that you get after some of the stories(eg. the twist at the end of the one about the inventor of the Redekker plans leaves a lot of questions and is quite unexpected).
Even after two readings, I was left with the feeling that I would like to know more about the world of world war z...Its a feeling rarely found in many a book...
on May 10, 2016
Max Brooks has truly proven himself as a storyteller. The story as told by "survivors" is riveting, and the author has clearly done his research in terms of geography, history, and customs of locations both near and far. If only the movie were actually based on the novel...it would be so so so much better!
on February 14, 2009
This book is far better than any book about zombies has a right to be. A collection of stories, featured documentary style from the survivors of the fictional zombie affliction that nearly destroyed mankind. While the zombie war was fictional, it reads very real throughout this book. You feel as if these stories come from real survivors of a real catastrophy. Funny, clever, horrific - you get it all here. Surprisingly very very good.
on March 4, 2007
After reading and discussing this book with others, I now find there is a significant subculture surrounding Zombie lore, that I wasn't familiar with.
I bought the book sight-unseen (not a huge zombie afficionado), thinking that it would be good popcorn for a vacation; I was exceedingly surprised at what I was reading.
The zombies are there for sure, but they are really tertiary plot devices to the fantastic narrative, and the personal stories and scenarios that Brooks uses to tell the tale. Because the book is completely anecdotal, there isn't a traditional plot - yet you keep flipping page after page to see what insight (several aha! moments) and character might pop up next.
The only criticism I might have is the highly 'ordnance heavy' sections (Brooks likes his weapons I think), but even then - it is a war, and it interesting to see how traditional tools of destruction are unable to match the "Z's" tenacity.
Kudos Brooks! An excellent work, engaging and innovative. A must read for anyone that has ever wondered "if they move so slow, why don't you just run away?".
on May 19, 2016
Excellent book I love so much I had to get in hardcover... which was then ruined by careless packaging resulting in a brand new book being battered and crumpled in the box. Horrible packaging has led to a very sour experience overall.
on May 29, 2008
For starters, I'm not a fan of zombie movies. However, my dad had left this book lying around one day and started to read it. It was one of those few books that grabbed my full attention from start to end. I thought it was a very good read. I do read a lot and finish most books, but this was one of those few books that I've read cover-to-cover in a while without getting bored during the process.
It is told as a report on the Zombie Wars, written in first-person accounts of the war that took place in a not so distant future. I enjoyed how the author unfolded the story, with different patches coming together and eventually creating this huge world.
on October 12, 2006
This book is essentially a description of a future war with hordes of zombies told via interviews and news clips. Of course, for the narrative, they all take place well after the event, but the collection is enrapturing. Sometimes, some of the best parts of a movie about zombies, are the news clips and interviews the characters see on TV/hear on the radio, and that's basically what this book is all about.
From the interviews with soldiers fighting drug lords in Central Asia and doctors trying to stem the 'disease' in China, to action reports from the front lines of troops fighting the zombies to average citizens telling their tales of survival, it is a collection of anecdotes that are sometimes humourous, terrifying, or just plain intriguing.
A good solid read that kept me turning the pages until late into the night.
on April 6, 2011
This book takes the form of a collection of testimonies of individuals that have survived World War Z (for those who read reviews before the synopsis, "Z" stands for zombies...). These testimonies mostly take the form of a Q&A, but in most occasions the answers are fairly long and detailed, so the rhythm is not impacted by this structure. The form used by the author certainly makes this book different. It is not a thriller as I was expecting, as the focus of the author is placed on facts rather than action. This approach is interesting, but it comes with its downsides as well. There is no main character. The testimonies do not exceed 10 pages or so individually. I was often unsatisfied when a testimony ended as I wanted to learn more about these individuals. Although the testimonies relates events in a chronological order, there is no immersion in the story and there are gaps in the in the story line. In the end, the reader knows the big picture of what has happened during World War Z, but I was left with the feeling that it wasn't enough.
I would have rated this book 3.5 stars, so I have rounded up to 4.
on October 7, 2010
Oh, zombie, where is thy sting? Brooks' novel was a sensation a few years back, in part because it unfolds the story of the great Zombie war within a fictionalized oral history modelled on Studs Terkels structured oral histories of World War II, the Great Depression and other major American events. It's a clever conceit, though moving from narrator to narrator (and country to country) works against the development of suspense at points, much less horror.
More than 40 years after George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead started our never-ending fascination with zombies, the rightness of some of Romero's choices related to the wrongness of some of the choices of other zombie chroniclers only stands out more. Brooks goes with what's now become the almost cliched viral/rabies model of zombieism -- zombieism is spread by bite or by zombie body matter getting into an exposed cut or otherwise somehow getting into one's bloodstream. This probably seems like a good idea, but the number of pandemics in human history spread through these means is, roughly, zero. It's just not that effective a means of viral or bacterial propagation, which is why we don't all have rabies right now.
Romero, of course, never explained what was actually causing zombies in his first two zombie movies. More importantly, there was no 'Patient Zero' style beginning point -- one day, everyone who ever died and had enough flesh left on his or her bones to allow for mobility rose from the grave. And everyone who died after that, regardless of cause of death, would also rise from the dead. Now that's a disease vector that could overwhelm civilization!
Brooks' viral model, on the other hand, doesn't bear too much hard thinking because one realizes that between the limits of propagation and the modest limits of his zombies' intelligence (they are, if anything, much stupider than Romero's slow-moving hordes), most of the book's apocalyptic scenarios would be impossible. How do these slow-moving hordes which have a tendency to fall off, into or over any obstacle in their way manage to form up into gigantic masses of tens of millions of zombies in the American Midwest and other locations? I have no idea. It seems to me that these zombies would probably end up at the bottom of every cliff, hill, overpass and canyon in the world. So it goes. Several weeks into the zombie war, one would imagine the Grand Canyon would be full of zombies.
There are a lot of pleasures in this book, and the verisimilitude Brooks achieves with his technical research into weapons and various survival issues is impressive, but the whole thing falls apart if one thinks too hard about those million-zombie armies. So don't. Recommended.