World War Z

An Oral History of the Zombie War

Brooks, Max

Book - 2006
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
World War Z
Overview: 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'?"

Publisher: New York :, Broadway Paperbacks,, 2006.
Edition: Second Paperback edition.
Copyright Date: ♭2006
ISBN: 0770437419
Characteristics: 342 pages ;,21 cm


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Mar 17, 2015
  • VV5 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

THIS IS NOTHING LIKE THE MOVIE (thank god, there’s nothing special about that)!
The movie should not have been called “World War Z,” let’s put it that way. On to the book review!

Other than The Walking Dead, this was my first foray into zombie literature. I came to it when I was reading “Theories of International Politics and Zombies” which kept referencing this “World War Z,” that I hadn’t heard of. When I looked it up, I immediately checked it out.

HOLY GOD, this book is one of the most gripping, compelling books I have ever read!

This book is essentially a compilation of fictional interviews of people of all walks of life who lived through the Zombie War. The variety of interview subjects, the stories they told, all of it made for such a compelling story. This book isn’t about zombie guts and gore, but about the human struggle for survival. Armies flail and founder, abandoned children who find themselves abandoned and alone become feral, zombies simply take over the world, land and sea. Hindsight is what makes this book so good. The characters being interviewed are thoughtful and honest about their experiences whether he/she was a tycoon trying to sell a fake zombie vaccine, a blind gardener from Japan, or a dog handler during the war—people discuss the failings of their governments, their military operations, along with their own failings as individuals during the crisis. While it’s not a happy book, the sheer will and perseverance of the human spirit to simply survive and overcome is actually pretty heartening.

Even if you’re not into the whole zombie-thing gripping pop culture now, give this one a try, you’ll love it!

Feb 23, 2015

From the first moments a reader decides to pick up World War Z, they are met with a few pleasant surprises. The first being this is a unique style of writing by retelling a global story by an author interviewing many survivors of the near-demise of humankind. The second being it’s not a generic zombie thriller about the cliché of how dangerous people are, instead of the living dead. Brooks’ novel is a written commentary of what went down in all parts of the world during the outbreak. A must-read for those who are disappointed by The Walking Dead, or World War Z, the movie.
This novel takes a very nice spin on having many “authors” of the different segments of the book, and even including the dialogue with the interviewer talking to all of them. One thing that kind of broke the immersion was the similarity of most of the different writers. I understand Brooks is only one person, but majority of the survivors speak in similar tones and mannerisms. It was enjoyable to read how much detail everyone was using when interviewed, from how the Chinese government officials failed to control the outbreak, to the military tactics employed by America to combat the hordes of the undead (probably one of my favorite parts).
A very unique fact of this book is that there are no spoilers. From reading the introduction to the book, it is revealed to us that the outbreak is over and these are just stories from the survivors. It’s a fun little book that shows the true details of human nature in response to global panic, from many points of view. This book is not a novel, but rather a fictional documentary. And it’s not a boring documentary!
I would recommend this book for those who want a realistic scare, and older audiences. Younger audiences may be dismayed not only from the graphic content, but from the documentary-style of the text. I rate this book four rotting corpses out of five!
PS: The movie is entirely different from the book. The only similarity is the title.

Dec 17, 2014

I LOVED THIS BOOK! It was a different take on a zombie story and unlike anything I have ever read before. I loved the perspective in the book, the story was told very well. Highly recommend reading this book, if you have seen the movie doesn't matter, book is worth reading since they have so little in common.

Dec 08, 2014
  • lbarkema rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I liked the way in which this was told, an oral history, but despite not being a super-long novel, it dragged. Maybe it was because I was interested in some stories or even parts of the war, and not others? I can't tell what it is that just didn't "do it" for me. But because there were places that were interesting and it was a unique telling of a story, it still gets a solid 3.

Nov 02, 2014
  • black_hawk_403 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A different spin on the modern zombie story - 5 stars but definitely not for young children.

Sep 19, 2014
  • WVMLStaffPicks rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Brooks presents a dystopic future featuring a crippling virus. The story features the zombie pandemic as told to 'the author' by people involved, from the doctor who saw the first case, to military personnel involved at the height, to leaders trying to rebuild. Featuring a global perspective and a journalistic tone, this book is excellent and a riveting read.

Jul 09, 2014

awsome scary

Jul 03, 2014
  • angeye87 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Loved it! :) I saw the movie, so I decided to give the book a shot. Although they are very different I definitely loved them both! Quick read, would def recommend

Jun 13, 2014
  • rags1523 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Found this book on a buzz feed list and decided to give it a try. I was really surprised. It isn't about Zombies, it is about how different people and parts of the world deal with disaster and what it says about us as humans and cultures.

May 14, 2014
  • pamcora87 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Great book. I loved the multiple perspectives given by each interview. The fast paced images and thrilling subject matter make it a quick and enjoyable read.

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Oct 25, 2013

Frightening or Intense Scenes: Of course, people just escaping zombies, and multiple shootouts. There is quite a bit of intensity.

Oct 25, 2013

Violence: Plenty of violence. It's a zombie horror event, you gotta expect it.

Oct 25, 2013

Coarse Language: Almost every swear word used at least once. But most are used several times.

Sep 23, 2013
  • mariednguyen rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Other: Release date June 21, 2013 (USA)

Feb 22, 2013
  • rayyan0705 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Violence: there is alot of killing and war

Aug 22, 2011
  • cmills10 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Violence: Gore, dead bodies, walking dead, cannabalisim,

Aug 22, 2011
  • cmills10 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.

Jan 27, 2011

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

Jan 27, 2011

Violence: It's a book about dead people coming back to life and eating other people. I think it may be a TOUCH violent, don't you?

Jan 27, 2011

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.


Add Age Suitability

Nov 02, 2014
  • black_hawk_403 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

black_hawk_403 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Oct 25, 2013

WestCoastFilms thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Sep 11, 2013

violet_cat_4942 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Feb 22, 2013
  • rayyan0705 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

rayyan0705 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 31

Feb 22, 2013

Violet_Bee_66 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Feb 16, 2013

Kumakmibru thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Jan 16, 2012
  • scifinerd rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

scifinerd thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Aug 22, 2011
  • cmills10 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

cmills10 thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


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Jul 09, 2014

scary and a really good book

Jul 28, 2013
  • Tingwerson rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

What about your parents?
What about them? We lived in the same apartment, but I never really conversed with them. I’m sure they thought I was studying. Even when school closed I told them I still had to prepare for exams. They never questioned it. My father and I rarely spoke. In the mornings my mother would leave a breakfast tray at my door, at night she would leave dinner. The first time she didn’t leave a tray, I thought nothing of it. I woke up that morning, as I always did; gratified myself, as I always did; logged on, as I always did. It was midday before I started to feel hungry. I hated those feelings, hunger or fatigue or, the worst, sexual desire. Those were physical distractions. They annoyed me.

Dec 17, 2012
  • LazyNeko rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

It's fear, dude, just fear and you don't have to be Sun freakin Tzu to know that real fighting isn't about killing or even hurting the other guy, it's about scaring him enough to call it a day. Break their spirit, that's what every successful army goes for, from tribal face paint to the "blitzkrieg" to... what did we call the first round of Gulf War Two, "Shock and Awe"? Perfect name, "Shock and Awe"! But what if the enemy can't be shocked and awed? Not just won't, but biologically can't!


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