World War Z Kindle Edition by Max Brooks Click Here to Download the Book 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.
Reviews First of all, let me say, I LOVED THIS BOOK. I read it in two sittings, which is almost a record for me, that alone puts it high in the running of awesome books I've ever read. Now, I am not much of a Horror reader and am a relative newcomer to the "Zombie scene" but that did not stop me from enjoying this work. I spent most of my time reading this book in a kind of uncomfortable, creepy, "I wish I wasn't reading this" trance. The tone was excellent. The characters all memorable and enjoyable for the most part. Having spent time in many of the places discussed in this book I found it very easy to visualize 90% of what was described. (Maybe that's why I didn't sleep well.) Some of my favorite sections of the book: I enjoyed the two Japanese "warrior monks" kinda cliche but fun. As a Marine Combat Arms Officer and career level school graduate I found myself just kind of nodding in a really, "I'm getting queazy" way at the description of the Battle of Yonkers. It's the type of thing that I've thought about the Army for years, I could just really see it happening! An earlier reviewer referred to the "BAT-21" scenario, that made me roll my eyes. Now, it wasn't my favorite story in the book, (I'm no fan of Pilots, or the Air Force, and I'm a Citadel graduate so I have my "opinions" about women in the military.) BUT!!! I did think it was a neat story, I kinda saw it coming, but I liked it. (And, YES, I got the whole "Mets=Metis, mother of Athena reference" I'm a Jarhead, but I'm not a dumb one!) And when it came to the memories of most of the "civilian" Americans, I just kind of nodded and said to myself, "Yep. That's how it would happen." Also, the one about the fighting under the city of Paris, that just made me do one of those full body shivers. Now, I did find the "global collapse" a little hard to swallow, governments are soft and slow moving and indecisive but not all of them. I was surprised at the Palestinian-Israeli merger, surprised that anybody would ever think it was a good idea and surprised that Max Brooks (son of Mel Brooks) would put such thoughts to paper. But the thought of the two most tenacious tribes of the Middle East teaming up to do battle together made me pity the Zombies. I felt the same way whenever I read one of the "Russian" scenarios, "Yep, that's exactly what the Russians would do." I said many times, because they would! One of the big take aways from the book was the trend of defense plans that started in South Africa and was duplicated by all the other countries in the book. Draconian, cold, almost inhuman,-- Yes. But honestly, the only way to deal with this type of scenario where the enemy is that relentless. My biggest (and pretty much only) complaint with the book was that in many of the cases I thought the stories ended just as they were getting good! I'm a sucker for details, and in many cases I wanted to know more. I also would have liked to hear the stories of survivors who held out "behind the lines" in the Blue Zones, or the Spec Ops bubbas who got dropped in to help them, or the onesies and twosies who just happened by sheer luck to survive on their own. Some of the stories could spawn books of their own. I would love to read, say, the history of one of the "Blue Zones" that held out, or maybe, "The Jarheads at Rock Island". (Just in case Mr. Brooks read this review) Last, the politics, well, (sigh) I'm not a very political guy so I am not as "up in arms" the way a lot of the other reviewers seem to be. I was smart enough to pick up on some of the jabs, but I just shrugged them off. Like so many things in life we laugh because people say things that are either funny or true. Do I think that America would roll over and die as described? No. Do I think this book is a stretch? Not as far as you'd think. (And for
those of you saying "Jesus, what kind of Marine is this guy?" Well, my answer is: The kind who's seen too many of his friends die for nothing.) Personally, I think the book strikes a blow for the Gun Lobby, I sure am glad that I own as many firearms as I do. I think the book strikes a blow for Generation X as "the ones who clean up their own mess". And for every shot against the current Republicans (not that I am one), there was also a shot against the soft, fruity, Baby Boomers who let our society drift down the path to oblivion.
This book is a collection of 'interviews' and vignettes in the wake of the world wide zombie war. I'd had some concerns going in that the book wouldn't sustain suspense very well, since all the stories are told retroactively (so you know the teller survived their tale), but I shouldn't have been worried. "World War Z" brings suspense to the table, along with an incredible freshness of tone and ideas. The new ideas are where this book really shines. Brooks doesn't just reach for the low-hanging zombie fruit; he looks at the zombie apocalypse from a variety of lenses. Some of the new ideas explored here include: The spreading of the virus via the organ transplant black market. Neighborhood cleanup in the wake of the war and what that would entail. Feral children and animals and the rise of both after a global apocalypse. The dangers of the "Lone Rangers", particularly ones who set bombs willy-nilly. A look at both successful and unsuccessful military initiatives. Life aboard a submarine as an escape from the walking dead. Tracking zombie movements along coastlines via tagging. And those are all things off the top of my head -- there's a huge wealth of ideas in this book that I haven't even touched on. There's so many things to like about this book, but I love Brooks' treatment of minorities. This isn't your average zombie apocalypse where only the meaty manly men survive. We get to see a female fighter pilot trek to a pick-up point when her cargo explodes and she has to eject from the plane. We see a man in a wheelchair and hear him talk about his time on the neighborhood patrol. We talk to a blind man who lived in the wilds of Japan on his own, listening carefully for the zombies and killing any who came within his range. It's so rare to see such a wide range of people in a zombie novel, and Brooks delivers in a way that a more focused novel simply couldn't. I also love that the novel explores the apocalypse from a very solid class perspective -- the rich who treat the whole thing as a bizarre reality show fare (on the whole) much worse than the average folks on the street. I read "World War Z" for a book club, but it's one of the few books that I finished only to want to pick it up and read it again. I recommend the book highly, though I will note one pet peeve: Brooks' interviews are written in the vernacular and I did get very tired seeing the word "crazy" thrown around when really what was meant was "silly", "foolish", "ill-advised", or some other, better word. Still, if you can get past that, I think you'll like this novel if you have any affinity for zombie literature.
I'm sure the book is just as good, but since the whole premise is "an oral history", I think it works best as an Radio drama. Can't wait for the movie. Apparently Brad Pitt's production company bought the rights. Here's a list of just a few of the cast: Max Brooks, Alan Alda, Carl Reiner, Mark Hamill, John Turturro, Rob Reiner. I would have bought this for Alan Alda alone. I was listening to this on a flight, and wasn't expecting to hear all of these people, it made the time fly by. (I hate being on a plane.) The only down side is that some of the accents are really fake, like video game fake, and the narrator (Max Brooks) ends up being the worst of the voice actors. Every time he interrupts to ask a question I said, "Oh no not him again!". That being said, it is still one of the best Radio-drama/audiobooks I have listened to. Enjoy!
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