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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not what you'd expected - an exceptionally good read
World War Z is a different kind of book. In fact it is unlike anything I have ever read. If you disliked the movie - then the book is especially for you - as it is nothing like the movie by the same name, except maybe some of the overall scenarios. This is Max Brooks' 2nd Zombie book, though I did not read the first, as it seemed more technical/Zombie fans genre...
Published 24 days ago by Jon Dee

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2.0 out of 5 stars The Second Time Around
World War Z or When Re-Reads Disappoint A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about why I love re-reading books, and I mentioned that in the last year only one particular book was really disappointing when I revisited it, and that book was World War Z.When I first read it, I was only just beginning to explore the zombie genre. I recall being captivated by the journalistic...
Published 1 month ago by Kat


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not what you'd expected - an exceptionally good read, 28 July 2014
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This review is from: World War Z (Kindle Edition)
World War Z is a different kind of book. In fact it is unlike anything I have ever read. If you disliked the movie - then the book is especially for you - as it is nothing like the movie by the same name, except maybe some of the overall scenarios. This is Max Brooks' 2nd Zombie book, though I did not read the first, as it seemed more technical/Zombie fans genre oriented.

In contrast World War Z is a collection of interviews conducted & edited by the story teller, which started as a document for the UN (to better understand and appraise the zombie war), and ended as a book due to its fabulous human content. Each interview tells a personal story of the interviewee’s involvement in the Zombie war, some not even as combatant but mere bystanders.

At the end of the day, World War Z is an underlying critics of western society. Everything that went wrong during the Zombie War is something that has to do with the modern age laziness and self-oriented culture, and everything that signalled the turning point in the war (and thus mankind’s salvation) has been achieved through cooperation and 'togetherness'. it's freaky to think how fragile the western civilization is, but come to think of that, no detail in WWZ is un-plausible and no scenario is impossible.

This book will make you reflect a lot on western society, whilst some stories/interviews you'd wish would go on and on.
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196 of 223 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing account of humanity's greatest conflict, 22 Dec 2006
By 
Dr. P. J. A. Wicks (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: World War Z (Paperback)
I read Max Brook's previous book "The Zombie Survival Guide", and enjoyed most of it. I liked the realistic assessment of just how things might go down in the event of a zombie crisis, and it was the perfect book for know-it-alls like me who when watching a horror movie yell "aim for the head!!!" at the screen. It took de-zombification to the next level with very practical tips; shotguns and chainsaws might look cool in video games but once you're out of shells and out of gas you're screwed. Contrast that with a shaolin spade or a genine katana however... Anyway, where I felt that book was less interesting was the appendix in the back listing various zombie encounters throughout history. The problem is that all outbreaks follow a similar pattern; mysterious illness, reanimation, fear and ignorance causing more harm than the zombies, discovery of how to defeat them, then resolution (or total ahnhilation of the population involved). Right? Well that's not particularly interesting for isolated outbreaks in Papua New Guinea. But what if we had a big outbreak today; with cheap air travel and people smuggling and loose borders and human rights laws and the internet and thermonuclear stealth bombers... we'd be fine right?

Maybe not. Where Brooks excels is highlighting the worst elements of human society in its initial response to the outbreak. The Chinese try to cover it up, big pharma tries to make a buck out of it, the government release a safety video and then go about winning the next election, and if your kids get worried just bang them on Ritalin and Prozac. When the swarms finally attack mainland USA and western Europe, everyone is caught totally unprepared. Suddenly sweaty executives who've never done a day's manual labour in their lives are having to live rough in the woods with no Blackberry and no lattes in sight. Isolated pockets of trigger-happy gun nuts have their apocalyptic survivalist fantasies brought to life, and the governments of the world have to make some hard, hard choices.

But as bleak as this sounds, the individual stories of heroism and daring demonstrate why it is that humanity ever got this far in the first place. In a not-too-subtle swipe at the way the military is turning into a video game, all the "advanced warfighter" strategies of battlefield technology, GPS, infra-red goggles, armour piercing bullets etc. are all rendered utterly useless, and it turns out the most useful weapon in the arsenal of the world's greatest superpower is the little shovel that their grunts carry as an entrenching tool. Whack a zombie over the head with it, repeat as necessary.

Although it's become somewhat of a cliche to draw parallels with modern "anti-terrorist" warfare, the rise of the zombies has one major echo with today's suicide bombers and jihadists; there is no fear of death, no centralised infrastructure, and very little point deploying tanks against them.

All in all Brooks has created a convincing alterate universe which is well informed by accurate geopolitical knowledge, group psychology, military doctrine, and genuine humanity.

Finally, I should state that this is the only book I've ever read where, having finished it, I turned back to page one and started over.
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2.0 out of 5 stars The Second Time Around, 20 July 2014
By 
Kat (Netherlands) - See all my reviews
This review is from: World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War (Paperback)
World War Z or When Re-Reads Disappoint A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about why I love re-reading books, and I mentioned that in the last year only one particular book was really disappointing when I revisited it, and that book was World War Z.When I first read it, I was only just beginning to explore the zombie genre. I recall being captivated by the journalistic style, meeting a range of different characters, and experiencing the whole arc of the zombie-apocalypse. I was interested to see exactly how I would feel going back to read one of the books that started my obsession, and perhaps in that way my expectations were set incredibly high.

World War Z moves through the initial zombie-virus outbreak, the apocalypse and into the recovery of the human race, via interviews with various survivors who experienced the apocalypse in a multitude of ways. There are doctors, military, politicians and a few average joes that give their own perspectives.The problem with all of these perspectives is that it's difficult to get to know particular characters, and that some of the POVs are very heavily focused on only one side of the story. In that way, I got bored with many of the POVs, particularly those that became more of an exploration of ways that skeevy individuals exploited the deaths and suffering of other people and the heavily militarised stories.In any book with this kind of set up there's the risk of skimming, but I found myself doing it far more than I normally would, and I think that's because there weren't enough 'average joe' perspectives, which is what I find most interesting. The actual plot itself and the way the story moves through the stages of the apocalypse is quite interesting, but those freaking POVs kept distracting me from that.I will, however, continue to recommend WWZ as a book for zombie newbies, because it does offer a huge variety of characters and perspectives, it's just not going to be on my list of favourites. I don't regret re-reading it because I know that my tastes have changed, and it's almost reassuring to know that there are other zombie books out there that do stand up to re-reads.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Really, really different. Brilliantly so., 30 July 2014
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This review is from: World War Z (Kindle Edition)
It takes a while to get into, but when you get there you'll spend the rest of the book breathless and stunned. It's a totally new kind of novel - no key characters, no plot as such, no narrative three-act structure. The entire book is a series of fictitious "eyewitness accounts" from people affected in some way by the zombie apocalypse. And somehow, as you read each account - in its author's voice and with their hopes and dreams - you enter the storyworld, as engrossing as any thriller.

It works because so many of the tales ring true. When I mentioned to a friend her cooking skills would in great demand after the zombie war, she exploded with protests about her professional background and job. Right at that point in the text, an organiser was talking about how difficult it was to convince a man who used to "get hold of the rights to classic rock songs for commercials" that his skills weren't just inappropriate, they were obsolete - the post-apocalypse world needs carpenters and builders and manual trades, not marketers...

The way the eyewitness interviews develop over time, spanning countries and viewpoints, come together as a single, coherent picture of just what happened, how we solved it, how difficult it was. This book is truly something different. And that's not common in today's lit. A fantastic read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Well written but... who cares?, 31 July 2014
This review is from: World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War (Paperback)
I don't often give up with a book, but I did so here I'm afraid. Unlike some reviewers on here who were expecting it to be just like the movie (which itself was criticised for not being like the book) I was well aware of the 'interview' structure. It came highly recommended by friends who told me to steer clear of the movie because it was nothing like the book and was just more overblown Hollywood rubbish.

The book is very well written (hence 3 stars) but the nature of the structure - the individual interviews with a vast array of different people, some of which link, some of which don't - made it so that I simply didn't care about anyone. I couldn't build up an affinity with any particular character. And if you can't identify with a character, if there's no sympathy, then why should we care? Especially as this didn't actually happen. A book about real a catastrophe is rooted in reality. Real people endured the events you're reading about and that creates true pathos. But this is essentially a 'realistic' take on the premise of The Walking Dead. Which is all a bit silly isn't it?

When I got to the bit about a woman smashing her tiny child against a wall to 'save' it from death by zombies, I put the book down and turned to something far less unsavoury. A shame because I had high hopes for this book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it, it's brilliant, 2 Jan 2012
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This review is from: World War Z (Kindle Edition)
If you are a fan of the genre then you shouldn't hesitate to buy this book. It's well written and totally absorbing. This is one of the few books that I find myself going back to read again and again. I can't wait for the film to come out.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Zombie action, 17 July 2011
By 
K. Neale (Somerset, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: World War Z (Kindle Edition)
A new take on how to tell a zombie tale. Set after the world crisis, it is effectively a set of short stories from survivors told as interviews with a researcher.
Fantastically written and impossible to put down.

This is one top class read!
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good, 21 Dec 2011
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This review is from: World War Z (Kindle Edition)
This book was a wonderful surprise in that it was written far better than the subject matter would seem to warrant. Excellent and moving, well researched, mature and intelligent fiction. Apart from the zombies of course.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not your average Zombie Apocalypse read..., 7 Sep 2011
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This review is from: World War Z (Kindle Edition)
I'm a big fan of the Apocalypse genre of Sci-Fi writing, and this book has to be one of the most interesting I have read for a while. It is set after a Zombie Apocalypse, with the author interviewing various people in the aftermath. The book is divided into sections that are broadly composed of before World War Z, during World War Z and after World War Z.

It is the interviewees and their individual stories that make this book so compelling. Some of my favourites were the American girl, who fled north with her family whilst she was only a child and had to endure so many hardships along the way. There is the Chinese submarine officer aboard his vessel with him and the crew in isolation of what is happening in the world outside. And there is the astronaut stuck on the International Space Station, doing what he can to ensure that sat navs and communications still work on Earth.

There are so many other stories, each one brilliantly crafted using different dialect depending on who is speaking to the interviewer. Some of them were so good, I hope the author expands some of them in future publications - I could definitely see a World War Z universe of books or comics appearing.

The author clearly did a lot of background work to ensure that each interviewee was consistent with the overall story of the war.

Thoroughly recommended - not just to Zombie fans - but those who enjoy narratives through the eyes of many different people.
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43 of 54 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent read blemished by crude stereotyping and lack of narrative, 3 Feb 2010
By 
Mr. Tristan Martin (Hertfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: World War Z (Paperback)
Max "son of Mel" Brooks's first fiction novel proper, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, is inspired both by Studs Terkel oral history of World War II and of course, the classic films of George A Romero (Night of the Living Dead et al).

The book casts a global eye over the spread of the "infected", from patient zero in China, to mass migrations in Central and North America, to the evacuation wholesale of Japan, amongst other places. This story is told not via a conventional narrative but through a long sequence of interconnected interviews, which tend to cross-reference back on each other, thus allowing a sense of progression from the initial contact with the living dead through to their domination and then the human fight back.

The downside of this approach is that no characters are allowed any room to develop, so there is a lack of attachment to anybody in particular; most stories are given only a few short pages which is unfortunate, as some of the reminiscences are quite gripping, such as the young American woman who moves north into the frozen wastes with her family, who, it is suggested, end up resorting to cannibalism. Such an interesting, dramatic narrative is quickly aborted to make way for others far less engrossing.

Brooks has undertaken much research to make this plague of zombies seem as realistic as possible but unfortunately, the book is marred by crude national stereotypes, such as the Englishman who practically bursts into tears about his love for the Royal family, the blind Japanese swordsman (ok, so he uses a spade), or most offensively, the raving Arab, spouting "Drive the Zionists into the sea!" nonsense. Typically, of course, the Americans save the day. Remember that scene two thirds of the way through the film Independence Day, when the US President announces his plan to defeat the aliens and people all over the world punch the air and whoop with joy? Yes, you pretty much get that scene here, though somewhat more muted.

All in, though, World War Z is an entertaining little pot-boiler that will surely find its market - it is already being adapted in to a Hollywood film - the Lord of the Rings of zombie movies, apparently - though the praise lavished on this book (especially by high profile fans like Simon "Shaun of the Dead" Pegg) does seem rather excessive for what it actually is.
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World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks (Paperback - 16 May 2013)
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