by Max Brooks
Genres: Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic
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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.
My friend Pabkins @My Shelf Confessions recently reviewed World War Z. I should add that this was like her eighth time reading the novel. It is one of her absolute favorites. I asked her if she had read The Passage by John Cronin.( One of my favorite post-apocalyptic novels.) The end result- We challenged each other to read and review the others favorite book. I am delighted to say that I absolutely loved this unique and terrifying accounting of the Zombie Wars.
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks reads like an actual documentary. The tale is told in third person and the writer shares his interviews with survivors. He interviewed hundreds of people from across the globe. The testimonies of these men, woman and children offer a glimpse into the horror that occurred. We learn how military and government agencies all over the world handled this epidemic/war. How powerful governments with ultra cool weaponry found these devices useless against the enemy. He takes us into the lives of civilians and their harrowing account of survival. How ill equipped we really were. We read soldiers accounts and learn about the aftermath and rebuilding. They share first hand accounts of where the first outbreak began and how individual governments covered these outbreaks up. How greed spread the epidemic. These accounts will have you sleeping with the lights on.
Here is a part of one such interview:
“Two hundred million zombies. Who can even visualize that type of number, let alone combat it? . . . For the first time in history, we faced an enemy that was actively waging total war. They had no limits of endurance. They would never negotiate, never surrender. They would fight until the very end because, unlike us, every single one of them, every second of every day, was devoted to consuming all life on Earth.” —General Travis D’Ambrosia, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe
World War Z isn’t the type of novel you read in one sitting. It is broken up into individual interviews. Some are a few paragraphs and others several pages long. I would read a few testimonies and then set it down to reflect. While the beginning was a little shaky for me (felt dry like a history book) stick with it, because you will not regret it, in fact you will probably re-read this. It makes you question everything about what would occur if such an epidemic broke out today. Would I be equipped to survive? Would the government consider me expendable? How would I feed my family? How far would I go to protect them? *shivers* Could I sacrifice a 100 people to save 500?
Brooks is a powerful writer with a wickedly good imagination, a knowledge of war, and the talent to give each witness a unique voice and personality. The images he brought to life with his pen equally amazed me and horrified me. The testimonies were so believable, the emotions so genuine, that I had to remind myself that it wasn’t real…or at least not yet. Parts of this novel can be graphic, but war is never pretty. These zombies aren’t cute, and there is no love triangle, but you will see plenty of bone-chilling, zombie stomping, action!
Published in 2006, you can see the influence that this novel and author, has had on zombie related books and movies since its publication. I highly recommend World War Z to fans of zombies and post-apocalyptic tales. I think history and war buffs will equal enjoy the telling of World War Z. I want to thank Pabkins for the challenge. You can check out her review here. Max Brooks has fifteen distinct works published, including zombie survival guides. I am adding Brooks to my list of must read authors and look forward to reading his other works.