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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chillingly Effective, 11 May 2008
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This review is from: World War Z (Paperback)
Compiled by an unnamed narrator, furious at having the personal accounts he collated for a UN investigation into the causes and progress of the War excised from the final report, WORLD WAR Z is essentially a compilation of stories from individuals who describe what happened to them before, during and after the war. It's a brilliant device and one that makes the telling of this story chillingly plausible, with Brooks using it to draw out the global nature of the zombie pandemic. He includes 'interviews' with an extraordinary range of people, from a Chinese village doctor who reported one of the first cases, to an industrialist who sells a fake cure, to an American soldier who tried to hold back the hordes, to people charged with reconstructing the devastated countries after the zombies have been driven to defeat. The narration has a peculiar documentary feel to it - sometimes, the survivors tell their stories in the form of a monologue, sometimes the narrator intersperses it with questions, but rather than being distracting, this helps to make the book even more effective.

The book's biggest strength is the careful consideration that Brooks gives as to how a zombie infection would spread and the effect it would have on the population. He picks out people and organ trafficking in the Far East to show how the infection could cross continents and satirises the media, with their constant focus on cures and progress to show panic whipping up amongst the general population, together with the interests of businesses seeking to use the plague as an additional way of making money. He also imagines how some regimes will use brutality to restore order and for me, the sections recounting the decimations used to quell mutiny in the Russian army are the most chillingly observed in the book.

Some readers may find some of the survival stories a little far fetched e.g. the story of the elderly, blind Japanese man was slightly too much for me, but is nevertheless entertaining and exciting. As a Brit, I also had a quibble about the section from an English survivor who I felt to be a little too stereotypically upper class to be believable and a section from an Australian survivor describes the English as 'limeys' rather than 'poms'. But these are picky points that certainly didn't detract from my enjoyment of the text.
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