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World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War Paperback – October 16, 2007
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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"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.
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Its really not about zombies...
Really. This book is a giant "thought experiment". What would happen if there was a global pandemic in our time? Whether you realize it or not, this book explores immigration, nationalism, nuclear war, nuclear winter, environmental collapse, changes in warfare, capitalism and global economic shifts. It even looks at religion, as Russia turns back to religion and the motherland. All wrapped up in a gripping interview format. It is like the indie documentaries you see on Netflix and Apple TV, only more intense.
This book explores immigration in nations completely overwhelmed by refugees, survival, what would we *really* do as a last resort? And it also deeply explores what would happen to the US, Russia, France, North Korea, China, Pakistan, India, and even Cuba, which becomes a world power. And Israel, that shuts its border wall and lets no one in. Despite all this it is not preachy.
The zombie part is interesting, and has some chilling moments. What would happen to the military if you had an enemy that could not be blasted off the face of the earth with techno weaponry? It returns to a pre-Civil War skirmish line, hand to hand if necessary.
The movie is *not* like this book, despite the title. You've seen the movie trailers with the Zombies swarming faster and faster. That breaks all of Brooks' rules. They don't do that in this book.
So why not five stars? It is really really difficult to present dialog that is unique to every individual. Most fiction authors stray mid-book to where their characters speak in the same voice (Orson Scott Card, for example, does it for most of his books). Brooks for the most part doesn't do this - I only noticed it mildly - once about one third into the book, and then once near the end. Otherwise near perfect characterization and dialog.
He actually could've written it almost like The Stand - kept those viewpoints coming back again and again. Really good and I hope there's more to come somehow...
It is basically accounts of stories from different people affected by the outbreak, written in a very disjointed fashion.
It's not an easy flowing story, difficult to get into and not particularly enjoyable.
Whilst I am never a fan of a straight word for word adaptation of a movie from a book, I did expect that there was going to be something a little closer to a story as such, rather than just different counts of peoples misery and mistakes that led to the outbreak.
I will give it points for being well edited and some credit for being clever, but it just lacked something that made me finish it.
Not really worth it for me, maybe for someone else.