World War Z – Max Brooks

8908World War Z

By: Max Brooks

Crown

Published: September 12th, 2006

Acquisition: Library






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.

My Review:

This novel is the oral history of the zombie war – as told by soldiers, civilians, doctors, and those who had a hand in decision-making. Some were people who created containment or attack plans, while others were in the government coordinating the military, corralling the people, and planning for the future of their countries.

 
You learn about the experiences of everyday people just prior to the outbreak. This is a time when no one knows what is happening. People are dying, becoming infected, and turning into violent cannibals. Is it some strange new disease that modern medicine has yet to find a cure to, or something worse? 
 
Then, the stories become more dire, strained, broken; as the population begins to figure out the absolute devastation that this event will wreak. Suddenly, the stories are just people trying to survive or those attempting to combat the enemy. No one knows how to halt the impending storm. The absolute destruction such an enemy poses.
 
Unlike humans and their armies, the undead need no respite. The undead don’t feel pain, hunger, anguish, or lose moral. And as the military’s forces dwindle in battles, the zombies swell in ranks. Each loss to you is a welcome addition to their force. An enemy that is unknown cannot easily be beaten. 
 
Will the human race even survive long enough to worry about rebuilding, destroying every trace of the plague, or even what brought it to the world, to begin with? 
 
The novel was a unique take on the zombie/war genre and interestingly written. I did find my attention wandering at times and would have to reread sections. Although I prefer reading physical books, this novel has an incredible voice cast for its audio counterpart. Their talents brought this book to an entirely new level, giving each character a unique voice and story (and I’m not just saying that because there was a different person voicing each one.) I’ve never read a book before (or listened to one) that had such a diverse cast to bring the book to life. 
 
If you like historical fiction or zombie novels then you’re likely going to enjoy this. If zombies and historical/realistic fiction (regardless of the fact that zombies are involved) are not your style, then you may not enjoy this. 
 
How would you react if the dead began to rise, attack, and devour your neighbors, overrunning your town – could you survive?

Verdict: Take A Chance
Star Rating:

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