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World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War Mass Market Paperback


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press; Reprint edition (September 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307888681
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307888686
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4,214 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,498 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the wake of the great zombie war, Brooks's fictional alter ego travels around the world to ask tough questions of individuals and leaders about their experience and actions before, during and after the undead menace decimated the human population. Brooks remarkably identifies and articulates the nuances and unconsidered realities of what a zombie war would look like. This intriguing "oral history" stands apart from his previous zombie-related book, The Zombie Survival Guide, as Brooks uses the postwar culture here to provide political and social commentary on a wide range of real-life individuals and institutions. An all-star cast including Alan Alda, Mark Hamill, Jürgen Prochnow, Henry Rollins, John Turturro, Rob and Carl Reiner, and many others deliver their parts with such fervor and intensity that listeners cannot help but empathize with these characters. Max Brooks acts as the interviewer, providing an inquisitive but stagnant demeanor. The abridgment keeps the story tight but struggles with the interviewer's narration during interviews. When Brooks interrupts characters to indicate that the person rolled his eyes or appeared apprehensive, his comments are often moot because the performers are already portraying such body language with their tone.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
5 star
2,313
4 star
1,035
3 star
460
2 star
230
1 star
176
See all 4,214 customer reviews
The book is a little different in that it doesn't have a main character or really even a plot.
Carla C. Thomas
'World War Z', like Brooks 'Zombie Survival Guide', draws you in until your actually start to live the story.
Spider Monkey
This book was interesting and very engrossing the more I read the more compelling the story became.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

713 of 838 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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189 of 225 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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433 of 522 people found the following review helpful By Scott Sherman VINE VOICE on May 15, 2008
Format: Paperback
I understand why so many people loved this book, but it didn't entirely work for me. The central conceit - that the book is a series of interviews with key survivors of the Zombie Wars - is good, but it makes for a very episodic read.

In it's effect, the book is more like a collection of short stories than a single coherent narrative. Yes, all the interviews are telling the same "story," but the characters and settings never overlap - you get scores of unrelated narrators sharing their own tales of horror.

Thus, there's no build up of suspense or tension over the three-hundred plus pages of this book. Each "short story" has its own dramatic arc. Some work better than others. But, with rare exception, you could delete any one of the chapters in this book without affecting the others, or, conversely, you could add twenty more chapters without changing the outcome. A lot if it is interesting, but it all feels kind of arbitrary.

Lastly, without continuing characters, there's really no one to root for or against. You never get emotionally connected to anyone - the stories can involve you, but they almost never move or inspire or touch you. Compare this with a book like Stephen King's The Stand - which also told dozens of apocalyptic stories, but linked them together in one coherent narrative with consistent characters, and you'll see how much less emotionally involving Brook's book is.

Still, this is a good, gory read. If you like horror, a lot of these stories are morbidly fun with nightmarishly memorable moments. Just keep your expectations low-to-moderate. Max Brooks definitely has talent, and I look forward to reading what he does next.
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