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199 of 227 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing account of humanity's greatest conflict
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...
Published on 22 Dec 2006 by Dr. P. J. A. Wicks

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Book Review: World War Z – An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks
I bought World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War after watching the World War Z film. I loved the film and was looking forward to the book. But it’s taken me over a year to read it.
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War is written in an interview style, interviewing people from across the world, their memories unfolding what happened in the...
Published 4 days ago by Antony Simpson


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199 of 227 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Book Review: World War Z – An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks, 18 Dec 2014
By 
Antony Simpson (UK) - See all my reviews
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I bought World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War after watching the World War Z film. I loved the film and was looking forward to the book. But it’s taken me over a year to read it.
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War is written in an interview style, interviewing people from across the world, their memories unfolding what happened in the fictional zombie war. I had a huge problem with this style for two reasons.

Firstly, the reviews were set post World War Z. This meant that the reader knows from the outset that the characters being interviewed would survive, even if they be damaged physically or emotionally (which was usually apparent at the outset of the interview).

Secondly, there were so many different characters interviewed that I simply didn’t care for any of them. When the reader finds it difficult to connect with an ever-changing cast of characters it makes it difficult for you to care about their loss of family members, friends, colleagues, etc.

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War is well researched. Brooks has considered the politics, culture, society and economic operations of each country his interviewer visits. He demonstrates his exceptional knowledge of traditional warfare. The plot starts with the initial actions countries would likely take to a Zombie War. When these inital reactions don’t work Brooks moves the plot on to more extreme actions.

Brooks explores the entire globe (and beyond) through the interviews showing how the human race overcome the threat of extinction by coming together and working together. Humanity working together differently and creatively. The ending of the book is satisfactory; filled with hope for humanity, but is a little over sentimental for the genre.

Some people will love World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks; others will hate it. I neither loved or hated it. If anything it was mediocre and unexceptional.

We’ve all imagined what we’d do in a zombie apocalypse and for this reason alone I still want to read The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's about humans, the zombies are metaphor, 20 Nov 2013
'World War Z' by Max Brooks I read after his first book - Zombie survival guide, both in few days I'm pleasantly surprised.
Although I'm not big fan of zombie genre, Brooks first entertained me with Guide so I gave chance to this one as well.
This second book is even more interesting and sometimes it was hard to put it away.

In some way this book is continuation of humans-zombies encounters list brought in Zombie survival guide but this last encounter would prove fatal for human race and almost for planet Earth itself - World War Z describes outbreak of the living dead spread worldwide in some near future. Only good news is that for the time humanity is (almost) completely on one side versus almost invincible enemy.

Little uncommon is way in which Brooks wrote this book, it's in a form of interviews with people (conducted by Brooks?) who participated in that war. Each chapter is written in first-person interviews from people who lived and (most of them) survived WWZ from outbreak start to war end. Interviews are unlinear, not sorted chronologically, they are made all over the globe and soon we will found out that 20 years have passed since "hell breaks loose".
Good news in the end are that humanity won the war, bad news are that lot of people died, and for some news we are not certain are they bad or good and that is fact all world is changed for good because that was the only way to win war.
Book interview format emphasize realism although villain is completely fictional, but what is most interesting is that hard lessons humans learned first months of war could be completely actual/true if such crisis would arise in real world.

Almost lost our only world from enemy which is nearly undefeatable through many emotional and tragic events, heroic or completely unnecessary stupid acts, we as humans together with our animal friends rose again and reclaimed what is ours.
On the other hand, for some people book is lacking of love stories and such clichés for which I'm grateful because in my opinion that would lower realism and horror which engulfed people during those dark ages which is well described by author.

As conclusion, World War Z is good realistic book about human behavior in difficult time and zombies could be apprehended as personification for peril which is almost invincible. After first zombie book which was good satire, in second Brooks took same villain but wrote entirely different bitter story about what it takes to be a human and to survive in difficult times.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Counter-factuality, 26 July 2013
By 
Charles Vasey (London, England) - See all my reviews
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Many of the reviews of the book here are by readers expert in the ways of the Zombie Apocalypse. I approached the book as a novice on that topic but as someone interested in the constructions of counter-factuals (often called alt.hist)- histories of the road not traveled. Brooks has clearly absorbed a lot of influences to present what I found a rather good "history". The basic armature is current Government responses to dangerous diseases, and Ebola seems nearly as alien as the zombies. On to this he has grafted some very interesting concepts of how current hi-tech weapons might or might not work against the infected, especially an enemy incapable of fear. Then we have the response of Governments to both the threat and the collapse of the highly specialised just-in-time economy (the New Deal model being applied here). One of the weaknesses of alt.hist is that it has to be believable to an audience with many different views of what is probable, but one of its strengths is it gets people engaged in debate about that credibility.

I thought this a fine piece of counter-factual work, well up with Sinclair Lewis's IT CAN'T HAPPEN HERE (better known to many of us in its SF version "V"). I hope other counter-factual novels will make it through the gap Max Brooks has opened.
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7 of 8 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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4.0 out of 5 stars A Bite of Zombie History, 6 Jan 2013
By 
Syriat - See all my reviews
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This review is from: World War Z (Paperback)
World War Z is the tale of the next world war (lasting ten years) against a zombie uprising. Its told after the war by a journalist in interviews with key individuals across the globe. These interviews typically last between three and a dozen pages. It starts with the first rumours of the war and then follows the war through to its conclusion and its legacy. It does this within 340 pages. Zombies in this version are the typical Zombies seen in Romero films. Soon to be made into a film starring Brad Pitt its going to be very different as a book compared to that film due to the narrative style employed and the length of time covered in the book.

This book will not suit everyone. Some will probably be frustrated by its narrative structure and not having one narrative line. There is a lot of filling in the blanks here as things are mentioned and not elaborated upon all the time. Also some interviewees are more interesting than others. However, if you can past these reservations what you have is a dizzying book full of detail, terminology and richly delivered. Brooks has obviously put a lot of effort into his take on what would happen in an apocalypse. This includes governmental changes (particularly Cuba, China and Russia), changes in behaviour and also the way in which the global epidemic effects everyone. If he had chosen to tell this in first person or as a storyline then it would have been a book four or five times the length of this one. Most apocalyptic books are huge and cover one country or set of individuals. This one doesn't limit itself to that. There is no doubt that the work behind the scenes on this has been exhaustive. To deliver that detail in such a short number of pages is a triumph. However, some will probably struggle for the reasons above. One final reason is it can be difficult to remember each character (there are many interviewees). This isn't an issue until the end and when they take their leave of Brooks. Its difficult to keep track of who is who.

World War Z is a great book. Its very convincing and it really works if you can buy into the approach. Its as fascinating for its take on the effects of the apocalypse as it is the Zombies. Read it before the film comes out.
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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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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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