Saturday, September 30, 2006

World War Z

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War
by Max Brooks
HC released Sept 06

So, I wasn't planning to read this book. We couldn't decide whether it was supposed to be humor or horror, but regardless, I wasn't going to bother reading it. Then the general manager read it, and she's kinda conservative and didn't think it was trash, then Mark read it and thought it was pretty good, so I picked up the advance once he was done with it.

And it is pretty good. I haven't even finished it yet, and I'm willing to say that you should consider reading it. Max Brooks (son of Mel Brooks) has put together a realistic collection of "interviews" with the survivors of the world-wide zombie war. Aside from the fact that after reading this you probably aren't going to believe in zombies specifically, you probably would be willing to believe that if some catastrophic event were to befall all the world's human population, the sorts of situations described in this book could really happen.

Although the war itself is clearly fictious, Brooks gives you just enough hints to realize that the book's time frame is only a few years in the future and that WWZ gets going in just about our present day. (For example, a few interviews point to the realatively sorry state of the US military at this time, being as the country was still very war-weary due to our most recent Iraq crap, although he leaves it just one half step short of actually saying "Iraq", though I think he mentions Gulf
War I or something). He "interviews" people from all over the world and many of the interviews are interwoven in some way and nearly all have a clever and unexpected twist to them in the end.

If you can allow yourself not to scoff at the zombie bit, this book reads like a faily serious non-fiction book about a time in history were the human race wasn't doing so hot. The interviews are presented in a way that takes you through the war chronologically and gives you an idea about how it unfolded, from the first outbreaks, so to how it spread from continent to continent, to the Great Panic, and so forth. It sounds really weird, but the author did a really good job with it and even dared to poke a little fun at himself in the process. Brooks previously published a humor title called "The Zombie Survival Guide" or something, and in one of the interviews, a survivor from a foreign country mentions that the "civilian guide" was pretty useless because it was clearly culturally biased towards people with firearms and SUVs (um, Americans).

It's also kind of interesting to see how the author chose to re-draw the world political map after World War Z. It isn't so much that any country really took over any other, but whole populations were destroyed and in some cases huge, huge, huge areas of different countries were abandoned, at least officially. Each interview includes the name of the country where it's being performed, and many of them don't exist today, or at least not quite in the same form.


posted by ~e at 1:51 AM


Blogger Elizabeth said...


Seriously. I've been on the verge of buying The Zombie Survival Guide several times, and although I'm not an expert on the classic Romero zombie flicks, I loved loved loved both 28 Days Later and Shaun of the Dead...hell, I even loved Slither, although that wasn't technically zombies (well, neither was 28 Days Later...).

Anyway, thanks, because I'm DEFINITELY going to look for this in a book store and see if it looks worth buying.

10/01/2006 11:04 PM  

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