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World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War Hardcover – September 12, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; First Edition edition (September 12, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307346609
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307346605
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4,586 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Brooks, the author of the determinedly straight-faced parody The Zombie Survival Guide (2003), returns in all seriousness to the zombie theme for his second outing, a future history in the style of Theodore Judson's Fitzpatrick's War. Brooks tells the story of the world's desperate battle against the zombie threat with a series of first-person accounts "as told to the author" by various characters around the world. A Chinese doctor encounters one of the earliest zombie cases at a time when the Chinese government is ruthlessly suppressing any information about the outbreak that will soon spread across the globe. The tale then follows the outbreak via testimony of smugglers, intelligence officials, military personnel and many others who struggle to defeat the zombie menace. Despite its implausible premise and choppy delivery, the novel is surprisingly hard to put down. The subtle, and not so subtle, jabs at various contemporary politicians and policies are an added bonus. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

"The Crisis" nearly wiped out humanity. Brooks (son of Mel Brooks and author of The Zombie Survival Guide, 2003) has taken it upon himself to document the "first hand" experiences and testimonies of those lucky to survive 10 years after the fictitious zombie war. Like a horror fan's version of Studs Terkel's The Good War (1984), the "historical account" format gives Brooks room to explore the zombie plague from numerous different views and characters. In a deadpan voice, Brooks exhaustively details zombie incidents from isolated attacks to full-scale military combat: "what if the enemy can't be shocked and awed? Not just won't, but biologically can't!" With the exception of a weak BAT-21 story in the second act, the "interviews" and personal accounts capture the universal fear of the collapse of society--a living nightmare in which anyone can become a mindless, insatiable predator at a moment's notice. Alas, Brad Pitt's production company has purchased the film rights to the book--while it does have a chronological element, it's more similar to a collection of short stories: it would make for an excellent 24-style TV series or an animated serial. Regardless, horror fans won't be disappointed: like George Romero's Dead trilogy, World War Z is another milestone in the zombie mythos. Carlos Orellana
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

The New York Times bestselling author of The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z, Max Brooks has been called "the Studs Terkel of zombie journalism."
He lives in New York City but is ready to move to a more remote and defensible location at a moment's notice.
Max Brooks's The Zombie Survival Guide formed the core of the world's civilian survival manuals during the Zombie War. Mr. Brooks subsequently spent years traveling to every part of the globe in order to conduct the face-to-face interviews that have been incorporated into World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War.

Customer Reviews

If you saw the movie, read this book.
Amazon Customer
Max Brooks does a great job of telling the story of a zombie apocalypse from different perspectives!
zaltyna4
Awesome short stories put together this very well written book.
Kyle

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

723 of 848 people found the following review helpful By A. Sandoc on September 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I was one of many who heard about Max Brooks' satirical guide book The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead. Being a huge fan of George A. Romero's Dead series of films and just the zombie subgenre in general, I was intrigued by the release of this guidebook. From the first page to the last I was impressed, entertained, and hooked on Brooks' serio-comic take on how to survive a zombie outbreak. One section of the book which really caught my interest and has remained a favorite to reread over and over was the final one which details the so-called "historical" instances of past zombie outbreaks throughout history. From as far back as Ancient Egypt and Rome up to the late 1990's. My only gripe about that section of the book was that it was all-too-brief. I felt that it could've been made longer and even would've made for a fine book on its own. Maybe I wasn't the only one to have wished for such a thing to happen for it seems that Brooks himself might have thought the same thing. His latest book in his trip through the zombie genre is titled World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War and it takes the final chapter of his previous book and expands on it. But instead of using past "historical events" to tell his story Brooks goes into the near future to describe what would happen if the zombies ever did bring the human race to the brink of extinction and how humans finally learned how to fight back and take back the world.

World War Z is a fictional account of a worldwide outbreak of the living dead in the near future and judging from some of the descriptions of places and events in the beginning of the book it won't be too far in the future.
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199 of 236 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Friedman on September 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Other reviewers are correct that Brooks approaches the problem posed by a zombie issue as a problem to be solved within the structure of modern global politics. In my opinion, the approach of focusing on the response to the zombie plague is more sophisticated and more timely than making an allegory of the zombies themselves.

It was Romero who took the voodoo myth of the reanimated corpse and popularized an idea of the zombie as a vessel for a communicable plague. He identified a fundamental anxiety and created new monster in response to modern anxieties. However, his use of the zombies as a critique of consumer culture isn't as fresh an observation as it might have been in the 70s, which is the most pertinent criticism of the recent "Dawn of the Dead" remake.

To the modern audience, the idea of zombies carries undercurrents of AIDS, biological warfare, and terrorism, and Brooks is one of the first to recognize and tap into that in an intelligent way. He's taken a specialized, genre subject and elevated it here to something that is literary. And while there will certainly be some who will be disappointed not to find the pages filled with endless descriptions of severed limbs and smashed brains, Brooks lays on enough of the biological details to keep the subject from becoming abstract, while keeping his focus aimed on something more significant.

As Brooks envisions it, the zombie plague encompasses the threat of terrorism and global war, natural catastrophes like Hurricane Katrina or the devastating tsunami, and global disease scares like avian flu and SARS.

There are two outcomes of a story about a zombie plague; either it consumes and annihilates humanity, or it is contained by the organized action of something like a government.
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302 of 364 people found the following review helpful By J. R Weaver VINE VOICE on September 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Like several other reviewers, I read and enjoyed Max Brooks' 'Zombie Survival Guide', but I was skeptical as to whether he could strike gold twice in a row. Much to my satisfaction, the answer was yes.

World War Z isn't so much a novel as it is a collection of very personal recollections of people who have lived through - literally - hell on earth. In a way, it reminded me of news footage of these walls you see where, during a civil war, or natural disaster, people go and leave notes for loved ones, hoping someone, anyone, will see them. Every time I see something like that, it strikes me as hopeless and desperate, but at the same time noble and uplifting. In short, what makes us human. This book gave me the same reaction. I preordered it from Amazon, received it this morning, and finished it about an hour ago. I wish I'd rationed it out a bit, because I didn't want that feeling to end - the feeling of reading the accounts of some of the bravest souls who (n)ever walked the earth.

The only other book I've read that comes close to this in 'feel' is Warday, by Whitley Strieber and James Kunetka. But even that is too one-sided; the authors' own opinions and views are clearly dominant. In World War Z, each individual vignette is unique and special; from Tibetan smugglers to dirigible pilots to ex-politicians, each 'interview' has its own distinct voice.

In closing, I'd just like to say that while George Romero may be the father of the 'zombie genre', Max Brooks may well exceed him. Blasphemy? Nope. Just my opinion. One that is hopefully shared by millions of others.

PS: Here's hoping they don't butcher it when they make the movie! :D
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