World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

Paperback | October 16, 2007

byMax Brooks

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NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE

We survived the zombie apocalypse, but how many of us are still haunted by that terrible time? We have (temporarily?) defeated the living dead, but at what cost? Told in the haunting and riveting voices of the men and women who witnessed the horror firsthand, World War Z, now a #1 New York Times bestseller, is the only record of the plague years.

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From the Publisher

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTUREWe survived the zombie apocalypse, but how many of us are still haunted by that terrible time? We have (temporarily?) defeated the living dead, but at what cost? Told in the haunting and riveting voices of the men and women who witnessed the horror firsthand, World War Z, now a #1 New York Times bestseller, is...

 "The Stud Terkel of zombie journalism," MAX BROOKS is also the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Zombie Survival Guide and The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks. formed the core of the world’s civilian survival manuals during the Zombie War.

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World War Z
World War Z

Paperback|Mar 19 2009

$34.95

see all books by Max Brooks
Format:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 8 × 5.2 × 0.9 inPublished:October 16, 2007Publisher:Crown/ArchetypeLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307346617

ISBN - 13:9780307346612

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic read The progression of events and the reaction of the various cultures and people all seem so.plausible against this fictitious backdrop. A fantastic read, and have recommended over and over again.
Date published: 2015-09-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Read! I've read this five times now and will read it again, unlike the horrible movie that shares only a name.
Date published: 2015-05-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting approach Personally, I liked how thbook was written in an interview style of different people with their own problems and perspective. It is able to throw a new light onto the whole zombie apocalypse theme.
Date published: 2015-01-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thrilling! Don't let the movie fool you, "World War Z" is an incredible and masterfully-woven story. A series of shorts telling the stories of different characters that are all woven together to tell the story of the zombie outbreak, panic, and how it is eventually overcome. Absolutely incredible.
Date published: 2014-11-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Case study in disaster What would happen if a plague tore through earth and billions of people died? The fact that they happen to rise from the dead does make things worse, but even if they stayed dead, how would the world react? World War Z provides an excellent, and believable, account of how this might just come to pass.
Date published: 2014-11-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is not a zombie book This is a book about sociology and psychology. This is a book about what people would do in extreme situations and what they do is fascinating. Zombies are secondary.
Date published: 2014-10-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from World War Z Most intelligent zombie novel ever written Disregard the movie.
Date published: 2014-08-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from World war z It was a very good read
Date published: 2014-08-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good read.... The movie would have been so much better if it had followed the format of the book.
Date published: 2014-07-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read I really liked it.
Date published: 2014-05-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from World War Z Couldn't put it down! If you've seen the movie dont judge the book based on that! Excellent
Date published: 2014-04-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Entertaining and thrilling Perhaps the zombie topic is over used in media, but this book makes it fresher and gives a new lookout into it. It's a choral story, no main characters, just stories with a common theme, like Martian Chronicles. This is the story of humanity fighting the biggest zombie crisis ever and how it survives it. So it's good stuff.
Date published: 2014-03-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A simple fun read Just that, simple and fun. Not a whole lot of thought required but if you do actually think about what your reading your mind can really wander into the "what if"...
Date published: 2014-01-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from realistic a good read. pretty realistic for something that is so unrealistic. love that this book goes beyond just the outbreak
Date published: 2013-12-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must read! Amazing read, took me a while but well worth the time it took.
Date published: 2013-12-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Powerful Yes, it's a zombie book, but it's not about the horrors of the undead, though they certainly play a large part! Instead, it's more about people and how, in humanity's current state, things might go in the event of any apocalyptic event. And that's pretty scary in itself.
Date published: 2013-12-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from World War Z Much better than the movie.
Date published: 2013-12-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from World War z Great book, shows the true human spirit when faced with the ultimate goal of survival...
Date published: 2013-11-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from World War z Great book, shows the true human spirit when faced with the ultimate goal of survival...
Date published: 2013-11-21
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Don't bother reading this book! I had a really hard time reading this book. Hardly entertaining and had to convince myself it was worth finishing it. Hardly! If you watch the movie that the only thing that remains the same is the title and that it is about a zombie apocalypse. Other than that there is nothing similar between he two. I really enjoyed the movie! Don't bother reading this book unless it's the only book left after the zombie war.
Date published: 2013-10-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from World War Z by Max Brooks I didn’t have high expectations for this novel before I cracked the first page. There were many different things being said about World War Z and from what I could tell it was either a hit or miss with the readers. After finishing I could tell why, the novel is full of interviews from survivors of the war which is a unique way to write the entire book. Because of this way of writing, WWZ might throw quite a few people off. There is no following a character through a secured plot while reading this book. I remember complaining about Soulless by Christopher Golden, which also was about zombies and had different viewpoints. I was surprised that by the time I reached the ending of this one I appreciated the overview effect given from the random perspectives. Another thing about the writing that bothered me at the beginning was all of the technical terms that had to do with the military, including things like weapons, aircraft, vehicles etc. I got so lost in the intricate terms that it pulled me away from the story sometimes. After finishing the last page though I felt that brought more to the story than it did take away. I was won over in the end especially with the realism despite it being fiction. Brooks took many things into account like the different countries’ cultures, political leadership, and past wars. This book is very complex, I can admire that. For more book reviews and book related posts check out my websites! http://insubstanial.blogspot.ca/ http://spasticmooseful.tumblr.com/
Date published: 2013-08-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Chilling I read this book after countless people referred it to me, including my boyfriend who even lent me his copy. I didn’t really know what I had gotten myself into nor what to expect prior to reading it, which was good because then I had no expectations for it. On the whole, though, I was pleasantly surprised. I’ll be upfront right now and say I’ve never read a single zombie book, and my experience with zombie movies narrows down to Zombieland, I am Legend, 28 Weeks Later and Warm Bodies. I’m kind of a wuss when it comes to scary stuff, which is why I’ve avoided this topic for so long. But after many reassurances that this book isn’t gory or gruesome, I agreed to reading it. And oh boy, am I glad I did. World War Z isn’t like anything I’ve ever read before. It’s entirely an island unto its own. Although some reviews on Goodreads gave the book one or two stars for its style, I couldn’t agree less. As a journalist myself, I really liked seeing this story unfold through a series of interviews. It was a refreshing take from the age-old story structure you see in most books. The story still had a beginning, middle and end, but it was just written differently. I loved seeing the story of the Zombie War (or World War Z, The Crisis, The Dark Years, The Walking Plague, or Z War One as it’s called around the world) through the eyes of people just like us—mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, elderly, doctors, journalists, politicians, soldiers, students and K-9 retirement home managers… It was chilling the way some people described their experiences. Brooks made me feel like this was actually an historic event, that these people all had experienced something of the utmost horror, that the world was rebuilding itself. Many times I had to stop myself and remind myself that this is just a story. Of course, like with every book, there are some issues I had. I found many of the interviews shared the same tone and voice. There wasn’t a whole lot characterization throughout the various interviewees, which disappointed me, but didn’t make me dislike this book altogether. I can sort of see past this, though… I mean, if we had actually gone through what these people had gone through, wouldn’t many of us be almost displaced from human emotion and merely feel like outside ourselves…through mechanical responses, disjointed from reality and nightmare, hollowed out? And while many of the interviews were interesting to read, there were some that were just plain boring or didn’t add to the story at all. I understand, of course, that not every person you meet will have a gripping tale to tell—but as it’s their story, it’s important to still include it. Brooks traveled the world gathering eye-witness accounts of the War, and he felt compelled to share every story he heard. I admit to skimming through the boring interviews though. But there are some stories that will stick with me for a good long while (and yes, I know these stories aren’t true). I’ve heard some critics have complained that this story lacked any real “face” or main character. So what? This is a documentary-styled story. In order to gain an appreciation and understanding of the global experience of this War, you couldn’t really have a main character. Brooks didn’t aim at creating a typical story; instead, he chose to create a history. And by compiling interviews as his content, he made it seem both honest and realistic. Because 10 years after a War like that, no one wants to read a “story” of the war—they’ll want to have unflinching accounts of it for future generations, none of that “fluffy” stuff. What I particularly liked about World War Z was the fact that it didn’t outwardly explain how or why the disease started or spread. As only natural for people, rumours spread throughout the world, but nothing was ever confirmed. I often find sometimes in movies that when they explain why or how something happened, I always find a hole in the reason and can’t see past that. Because nothing is ever fool-proof, especially in stories of zombies, aliens, vampires, and all those other unworldly stuff. So thank you, Max Brooks, for leaving the hows and whys up to the reader’s interpretation! In the end, I really did like this pseudo-historical account book. It was more than I expected it to be, and while there were some issues with it, I would definitely recommend World War Z to others! So thanks, friends, for pushing me to read this. Side note: The movie called World War Z is set to hit theatres in July, but don’t be fooled by the title—Max Brooks has said that the only true similarity between the book and the movie is that they share the same title. I’m quite sad about that, but I guess there’s nothing we can do about it but to just enjoy the movie as a separate entitity and try not to compare the book to the movie as much as we normally would. To view more of my book reviews, visit: http://booksteame.com/
Date published: 2013-05-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Very easy read and so much fun loved everything about it.
Date published: 2013-04-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Vivid Detail! You would think a zombie apocalypse actually took place. Told through a series of interviews from the first outbreak to the war on the infestation to the rebuilding of society - first rate detail and vivid account of the courage, strength, tactics and deception required to live through a killer epidemic.
Date published: 2013-04-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome Read!! One of the real reasons that this book, to me, is a great read would be the variety of stories that you get. Considering that most zombie novels out there put that " lone wolf survival" aspect in our heads, and you seem to follow one "superhuman" as they kick major zombie ass and manage to save all that is near and dear to them. This novel, on the other hand, brings to life the horror stories, and the fact that if your lucky enough to survive, your loved ones might not be. It really gives you the sense of loss that would come with a situation like a Zombie War, and the true beauty of this novel is that you get to see every single aspect of "World War Z". The stories are told through interviews with vastly different survivors, which gives you a vast image of how this situation effected everyone from a "higher up" to your simple housewife and even children. I also loved how, when you were beginning to believe that all hope is lost......well I don't want to spoil anything lol. But I would truly recommend this novel.
Date published: 2013-02-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from What it's like to live in a Zombied Infested world World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War is written by Max Brooks. World War Z is a collection of individual accounts in the form of first-person anecdotes. Brooks plays the role of an agent of the United Nations Postwar Commission, who published the report a decade after the ten-year Zombie War. The United Nations left much of his research out of the official report, choosing to focus on facts and figures from the war rather than the individual stories that form the bulk of Brooks' novel. The interviews chart a decade-long war against zombies from the view point of many different people of various nationalities. The personal accounts also describe the changing religious, geo-political, and environmental world in the aftermath of the Zombie War. I like this novel but I would have preferred if it had been done as a series of novels to get more out of the characters and there story. Now I have to wait to see what they'll make of the movie.
Date published: 2013-01-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Short and very sweet Loved the book and was disappointed that the audiobook had most of the short and interesting side-themed stories cut out. What they left are the main stories which deal with the rise and fall of the crisis and these are very well read indeed. every character is read by a different voice actor and the quality is pretty darn good and entertaining.
Date published: 2012-11-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from One of my favourite audiobooks I have owned the print copy of this book forever but have never managed to squeeze it in. Then I heard they're making a film version and I knew I had to read it before the movie came out. I still wasn't sure I'd have time to read it so I decided to give the audio a shot. I am so glad made the decision to fit this book in. I'm still getting used to the whole zombie genre, but it is growing on me more and more when I see the quality of books like World War Z. Though it's title might suggest otherwise, this book isn't actually about the zombie war but instead about it's aftermath. It takes the form of a reporter collecting eye-witness accounts, after the war has ended. People recount their experiences and explain how they survived. In this way everything feels very removed from the action. It's past tense, it was something that had happened, and it was horrible, but it is in no way the focus of the story. And although some may be disappointed that there's not more action what makes this an incredibly interesting read is that human element that comes with survival stories. The stories are raw, heart wrenching and for the most part remarkable. In addition, it gave me hope if there ever was a large scale disaster (maybe not a zombie war per se, but some sort of infectious disease outbreak) humanity would be able to not only survive it, but rebuild afterwards. World War Z is a really interesting look about the strength of humanity and our ability to overcome obstacles. Don't worry if you're not a zombie fan, there are surprisingly few instances where an actual “living” zombie appears. Instead think of this novel as futuristic historical fiction. All the “facts” are here and presented in a unique and interesting way. Making real life events accessible to anyone who is interested. Notes on the Audio This was my first audio book that was done with a full cast and it was amazing. Each narrator brought something unique to the characters and it really gave you the full experience. There are some incredibly talented people involved in this audiobook and their abilities really shine through. It even has Alan Alda! Imagine MASH but instead of Vietnam its Zombies. It doesn't get much more awesome than that. As an added bonus Max Brooks himself, takes on the narration of the reporter throughout the story. I thought this was a nice touch as it ensured you were being set up with the right tone before each character began their story. This and other reviews at Christa's Hooked on Books (http://christashookedonbooks.blogspot.com)
Date published: 2011-12-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Essential Read in the Zombie Fiction Genre!!! Twelve years after the zombie outbreak has been "contained", a reporter travels the world and creates a record of memories from those who survived the zombie apocalypse. My two favourite tales are from the Commander of the International Space Station, who gets stuck in space for the duration of the zombie wars and the interview with the director of the South Korean Intelligence Agency who watches the entire population of North Korea disappear. Very creepy. The coolest thing about this book is the non-fiction, documentary-style approach. If someone who knew nothing about Earth's history were to find this book, they would believe the Zombie Apocalypse happened. Also, people from all walks of life tell their stories. From the everyday man, to the scientist, to the internet geek to the soldier. Everyone gets a say.
Date published: 2011-05-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Zombies Rule! A cautionary accounting of the global war between the undead and the fragments of surviving humans recounted by a series of reports from around the world. The book is double layered as it is fun but also serious in that it serves as a parallel to today's geopolitical cicumstances. Cannot wait for the confimed film adaptation of this zombie chapter. Do not take zombies lightly!
Date published: 2011-03-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really good Really well done. If I hadn't known otherwise, I would of thought it had really happened. Its not really about the zombies, either. Its about how the world handled something they couldn't have prepared for 'til it started. The series of different stories keeps the plot moving and stops it from getting slow. And they all come together to give you a picture of how the world changed, and its not quite what you'd expect.
Date published: 2010-04-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not your typical zombie fare I actually bought this book for my husband, but started on it myself when I was sitting on the couch. When I bought it for him, I thought it was a comedy, and was surprisedto find it was a 'serious' fictional novel. I enjoyed his accounts from all the different nations, and the multiple narratives/interviews was intriguing. My husband also enjoyed the book..
Date published: 2010-03-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Do you have a braaaaaaaains? If you do, you will read this book. It is filled with first hand 'accounts' from after World War Z. (i.e. a guy turned into a Zombie and started biting people, and this book tells that tale) A seriously good read. I'm by no means a zombie lover, what with their love of my delicious brains, but I still loved this book! Creative, interesting concept that presents Zombieism as a disease, not just a supernatural thing like being a vampire. If you have no brain, you should probably read this book as well, as you will see that your people, the Zombies, have a great time destroying the world. It may also give you insight into how to avoid their mistakes as you try and take over the world. Might I suggest expanding your diet to invlude things other than brains? One of my top reads of 2009. PS: If you enjoy this, you will enjoy The Road by Cormac McCarthy.
Date published: 2010-02-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WOW Everyone has been raving about this very smart book. I cannot do any of the other reviews any justice except to say that the originality and pace of this novel is amazing. I have read it twice now! There are quite a few stories in here that could stand alone as full novels - think of the escape from the apartment and the survival on the submarine! Max Brooks has found his place in literature, and I can only hope he can top this masterpiece. A great read for anyone who enjoys a great writer and original concepts. You don't even have to be a zombie/horror fan to appreciate this book. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Date published: 2009-09-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from YOU DON'T NEED TO READ MY REVIEW!! Anyone who has read any of Max Brook's other books doesn't need to read my review to know that this guy is great at what he does! I first heard of Max Brooks when I picked up "The Zombie Survival Guide" and was blown away! That said, I'm only 100 pages into World War Z (as I type this review) and I gotta say, it's a really great book! I can't put it down!!!
Date published: 2009-05-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Pretty darn awesome... This is great, because Brooks makes it seem so real. Although in some parts may seem a bit of a drag, there are some really intense sequences throughout.
Date published: 2009-04-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the best works of mocumentary fiction of all time! What can I say about this book that probably hasn't already been said its bloody brilliant! I was a tad bit skeptical & curious, usually not a big Zombie enthusiast (though I do enjoy zombie flicks the odd time) my curiosity won out. I wanted to know how the "Globe" would react to a Zombie plague. Those kind of questions always bothered me when watching Zombie flicks. Its always some small-towners stuck in a shopping mall, at a secluded cottage, maybe those few folks find a way to "get North" etc etc. Never though have I seen anything that tells me how the worlds Governments, Military, Police etc. Deal with such a crisis, the big "Gov" is always the mystery element, the Fort Apache Cavalry that never shows up leaving people to fend for themselves with make-shift defenses, buses and trucks reinforced with riveted steel plates and dozer blades and that sort of thing. This book leaves absolutely NONE of those questions unanswered. Whether it be tactics in fighting 'Zack' as hes named or the kind of clothing and weapons required to wage a campaign against such an enemy. This book is marvelous and I am happy to have read it. Max Brooks is pure bloody genius and this kind of story should and hopefully will be talked about as much as say Orson Welles 'War of the Worlds' was during the last century.
Date published: 2009-04-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't put it down! This book was a smashing good time... considering the world nearly came to an end :-) Very well written as though it is an actual written history of the zombie apocalypses. This book single handily made Max Brooks one of my favourite authors.
Date published: 2009-02-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Creepy and wonderful! An incredible story about what would it be like if the dead ever decided to walk. Chillingly realistic, dark,gritty, but also bright and uplifting, this book shows us the depths of depravity that humanity can sink to, as well as the soaring heights we can achieve before, during, and after any type of military conflict. I am not one to be easily spooked by horror stories, but I needed the lights on to read this one!
Date published: 2009-01-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A very realistic "what-if" history book In "World War Z", Max Brooks plays the role of an observer documenting his interviews with various survivors of the "Zombie War". Through each completely different interview, he weaves a complicated backdrop of how the world messed up, how people are fragile and stupid and how our "civility" and "government" can all collapse under the weight of survival. This book has been compared to George Orwell's "War of the Worlds" and I can honestly say that is a good comparison. The book is addictive to read - almost... no, exactly like a horrific car crash you can't take your eyes away from. This is a much better book overall than his first "Zombie Survival Guide" (which wasn't bad mind you, but this is much better).
Date published: 2009-01-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing and grimly realistic A really great, really entertaining take on what a war with zombies might actually be like for humanity. Brooks fills the book with first-hand "accounts" of a zombie war, increasing the realism and plotting out events that could realistically occur in a world threatened by a plague of the undead. I found myself reading this non-stop--definitely recommended for any zombie-lovers out there!
Date published: 2008-08-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Zombies And A Great Story, What More Do You Want! I picked up this book the minute I saw it. I read the Zombie Survival guide and loved it and after reading this i believe it to be the better of the two. It's basically oral accounts by many survivors of a ten year Zombie War. The format is original and works great for the story. I could only compare it to maybe the way Bram Stoker's Dracula was written. The narrator is Max Brooks who asks the questions and his Zombie Survival Guide happens to be written into the story, as a tool that helped many people survive. He offers glimpses into many different people and cultures, all the while providing what appears to be a throughly researched what if senario of what these cultures would do if this were to actually occur. Great read for zombie lovers and people who love a first person narrative.
Date published: 2008-06-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Chillingly Realistic This book seems real however unreal the subject may be. In rural China a person gets infected, dies and reanimates. A zombie. Body dead, brain active - it's only thought is food - which is us. It spreads through out the world. At first, no one believes, governments cover-up. Finally, a full scale retreat. Hard fought battles create safe-zones. A stalemate. Then attack. This book is the work of countless interviews a decade after the full scale war is over. There are still countless Z-heads in the oceans, thawing out in the spring, Iceland. But it isn't too soon to start getting the true story out to the world. What happened during the Great Panic. How the castles of Europe were bastions once again. It just felt real. You were looking out your windows at night watching for something. I thought maybe this was going to be a funny book - it wasn't. Just a chilling account of a war that the whole world fought. It really is a fabulous book that I highly recommend.
Date published: 2008-06-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the best books I have read in a very long time. If you are a fan of George A. Romero Zombie movies or if you are a fan of the Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman this book is for you. Written in the style of a documentary the main character interviews survivors from the "Great Rising". Each personal tale sheds light on what really happen in those dartk times. A must for all Zombie fans!
Date published: 2008-06-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Pick this up if your into apocalypses/survival type stories Very well done. A combination of short stories (interviews) about the zombie epidemic that destroyed the world. Great to see how all the different countries react to a zombie situation. Different characters (and views) for each story Pick this up if your into apocalypses/survival type stories
Date published: 2008-02-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantabulous This book was absolutely fantastic, it is a must have for any horror or zombie fan. It surpassed all my expectations. This is not one of those unbelievable zombie stories, these first-person accounts really brought the horror and tragedy home. In addition to the great storytelling, it reminds humanity how unprepared they are for any kind of disaster. It will keep you reading until the end. I cannot emphasize how great this book was and recommend it to everyone.
Date published: 2008-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from All-encompassing zombie tales! This book covers almost every situation that you could think of if our world was infested with the living dead. It's a cool way of telling the story (told as interviews with the survivors from all around the globe). There is a good deal of politics in here but not so much that it distracts from the walking corpses - the real stars of this book. A fun read. Take it for a spin!
Date published: 2008-01-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from couldn't put it down a great follow up to Max Brooks' Zombie Survival Guide, this book covers the complete history of the zombie war as told by the people who fought and survived it. a must read for any zombie fanatics like myself!
Date published: 2008-01-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An alternate history of a bleak future One of my most enjoyable reads in 2007. I listened to the audio version, which is also one of the best audiobooks I've ever experienced - the all star voice cast includes Mark Hamill and Alan Alda; I kept thinking..."I know this voice!". A documentary of the alt-history Zombie War, told by the survivors. Not literature, but thoroughly engrossing, ontologically complete and sometimes just plain fun for boys who like guns.
Date published: 2007-10-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I'm in love Way better than the Zombie Survival Guide even though that was more practical. The part I loved about ZSG were the accounts of outbreaks throughout history, similar to this! Plus it is kind of practical, it's just not saying right out what to do, it's showing success and failure in real situations. Plus, you might follow the ZSG and still not survive, flexibility, common sense and good fortune is needed.
Date published: 2007-09-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from An Amazing history of the war that humanity surviv This book may be hard to read for vetrans of yonkers or the road to New York. But this book will remind humanity of how close we actually came to all being the living dead. This war was trully a world war . It touched all corners of the world from Los Angles to Tokyo and Siberia to Antartica. Thank you max brooks for being brave enough to tell the story of humanitys greatest tragidy ever. I'm sure that those near 600 million souls are thanking you.
Date published: 2007-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Much More Than Your Regular Zombie Story "World War Z" is an excellent book, far more engaging and interesting than I had expected it to be. Though I sat down expecting to read an interesting yarn about a future war of humanity against a horde of zombies, what I actually got was a rather complex commentary on civilization, and society. How exactly WOULD the structures of society survive in the face of a massive, terrifying plague in which the enemy swells with every death on your side? How would the military adapt to an enemy they can't injure or kill except with a head shot? How would people learn to live if forced to flee to small, embattled fortifications all across the globe, extinction looming with every passing day? Written as a series of oral accounts, "interviews" taken from all manner of survivors of the ten-year long event that came to be known as World War Z, this book analyzes all that and more. Documenting the earliest spread of the undead plague in China through the Great Panic that resulted when the outbreak hit monumental, worldwide proportions, through to the scrabbling to survive and stem the tide all the way to the long, slow march to reclaim their infested homelands, "World War Z" is an excellent read that presents a realistic and often harrowing answer to the popular question of "What if... what if the dead rose again, and we were forced to fight for our very existence as a species?"
Date published: 2006-08-25

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WARNINGS GREATER CHONGQING, THE UNITED FEDERATION OF CHINA [At its prewar height, this region boasted a population of over thirty-five million people. Now, there are barely fifty thousand. Reconstruction funds have been slow to arrive in this part of the country, the government choosing to concentrate on the more densely populated coast. There is no central power grid, no running water besides the Yangtze River. But the streets are clear of rubble and the local "security council" has prevented any postwar outbreaks. The chairman of that council is Kwang Jingshu, a medical doctor who, despite his advanced age and wartime injuries, still manages to make house calls to all his patients.] The first outbreak I saw was in a remote village that officially had no name. The residents called it "New Dachang," but this was more out of nostalgia than anything else. Their former home, "Old Dachang," had stood since the period of the Three Kingdoms, with farms and houses and even trees said to be centuries old. When the Three Gorges Dam was completed, and reservoir waters began to rise, much of Dachang had been disassembled, brick by brick, then rebuilt on higher ground. This New Dachang, however, was not a town anymore, but a "national historic museum." It must have been a heartbreaking irony for those poor peasants, to see their town saved but then only being able to visit it as a tourist. Maybe that is why some of them chose to name their newly constructed hamlet "New Dachang" to preserve some connection to their heritage, even if it was only in name. I personally didn't know that this other New Dachang existed, so you can imagine how confused I was when the call came in. The hospital was quiet; it had been a slow night, even for the increasing number of drunk-driving accidents. Motorcycles were becoming very popular. We used to say that your Harley-Davidsons killed more young Chinese than all the GIs in the Korean War. That's why I was so grateful for a quiet shift. I was tired, my back and feet ached. I was on my way out to smoke a cigarette and watch the dawn when I heard my name being paged. The receptionist that night was new and couldn't quite understand the dialect. There had been an accident, or an illness. It was an emergency, that part was obvious, and could we please send help at once. What could I say? The younger doctors, the kids who think medicine is just a way to pad their bank accounts, they certainly weren't going to go help some "nongmin" just for the sake of helping. I guess I'm still an old revolutionary at heart. "Our duty is to hold ourselves responsible to the people." Those words still mean something to me . . . and I tried to remember that as my Deer bounced and banged over dirt roads the government had promised but never quite gotten around to paving. I had a devil of a time finding the place. Officially, it didn't exist and therefore wasn't on any map. I became lost several times and had to ask directions from locals who kept thinking I meant the museum town. I was in an impatient mood by the time I reached the small collection of hilltop homes. I remember thinking, This had better be damned serious. Once I saw their faces, I regretted my wish. There were seven of them, all on cots, all barely conscious. The villagers had moved them into their new communal meeting hall. The walls and floor were bare cement. The air was cold and damp. Of course they're sick, I thought. I asked the villagers who had been taking care of these people. They said no one, it wasn't "safe." I noticed that the door had been locked from the outside. The villagers were clearly terrified. They cringed and whispered; some kept their distance and prayed. Their behavior made me angry, not at them, you understand, not as individuals, but what they represented about our country. After centuries of foreign oppression, exploitation, and humiliation, we were finally reclaiming our rightful place as humanity's middle kingdom. We were the world's richest and most dynamic superpower, masters of everything from outer space to cyber space. It was the dawn of what the world was finally acknowledging as "The Chinese Century" and yet so many of us still lived like these ignorant peasants, as stagnant and superstitious as the earliest Yangshao savages. I was still lost in my grand, cultural criticism when I knelt to examine the first patient. She was running a high fever, forty degrees centigrade, and she was shivering violently. Barely coherent, she whimpered slightly when I tried to move her limbs. There was a wound in her right forearm, a bite mark. As I examined it more closely, I realized that it wasn't from an animal. The bite radius and teeth marks had to have come from a small, or possibly young, human being. Although I hypothesized this to be the source of the infection, the actual injury was surprisingly clean. I asked the villagers, again, who had been taking care of these people. Again, they told me no one. I knew this could not be true. The human mouth is packed with bacteria, even more so than the most unhygienic dog. If no one had cleaned this woman's wound, why wasn't it throbbing with infection? I examined the six other patients. All showed similar symptoms, all had similar wounds on various parts of their bodies. I asked one man, the most lucid of the group, who or what had inflicted these injuries. He told me it had happened when they had tried to subdue "him." "Who?" I asked. I found "Patient Zero" behind the locked door of an abandoned house across town. He was twelve years old. His wrists and feet were bound with plastic packing twine. Although he'd rubbed off the skin around his bonds, there was no blood. There was also no blood on his other wounds, not on the gouges on his legs or arms, or from the large dry gap where his right big toe had been. He was writhing like an animal; a gag muffled his growls. At first the villagers tried to hold me back. They warned me not to touch him, that he was "cursed." I shrugged them off and reached for my mask and gloves. The boy's skin was as cold and gray as the cement on which he lay. I could find neither his heartbeat nor his pulse. His eyes were wild, wide and sunken back in their sockets. They remained locked on me like a predatory beast. Throughout the examination he was inexplicably hostile, reaching for me with his bound hands and snapping at me through his gag. His movements were so violent I had to call for two of the largest villagers to help me hold him down. Initially they wouldn't budge, cowering in the doorway like baby rabbits. I explained that there was no risk of infection if they used gloves and masks. When they shook their heads, I made it an order, even though I had no lawful authority to do so. That was all it took. The two oxen knelt beside me. One held the boy's feet while the other grasped his hands. I tried to take a blood sample and instead extracted only brown, viscous matter. As I was withdrawing the needle, the boy began another bout of violent struggling. One of my "orderlies," the one responsible for his arms, gave up trying to hold them and thought it might safer if he just braced them against the floor with his knees. But the boy jerked again and I heard his left arm snap. Jagged ends of both radius and ulna bones stabbed through his gray flesh. Although the boy didn't cry out, didn't even seem to notice, it was enough for both assistants to leap back and run from the room. I instinctively retreated several paces myself. I am embarrassed to admit this; I have been a doctor for most of my adult life. I was trained and . . . you could even say "raised" by the People's Liberation Army. I've treated more than my share of combat injuries, faced my own death on more than one occasion, and now I was scared, truly scared, of this frail child. The boy began to twist in my direction, his arm ripped completely free. Flesh and muscle tore from one another until there was nothing except the stump. His now free right arm, still tied to the severed left hand, dragged his body across the floor. I hurried outside, locking the door behind me. I tried to compose myself, control my fear and shame. My voice still cracked as I asked the villagers how the boy had been infected. No one answered. I began to hear banging on the door, the boy's fist pounding weakly against the thin wood. It was all I could do not to jump at the sound. I prayed they would not notice the color draining from my face. I shouted, as much from fear as frustration, that I had to know what happened to this child. A young woman came forward, maybe his mother. You could tell that she had been crying for days; her eyes were dry and deeply red. She admitted that it had happened when the boy and his father were "moon fishing," a term that describes diving for treasure among the sunken ruins of the Three Gorges Reservoir. With more than eleven hundred abandoned villages, towns, and even cities, there was always the hope of recovering something valuable. It was a very common practice in those days, and also very illegal. She explained that they weren't looting, that it was their own village, Old Dachang, and they were just trying to recover some heirlooms from the remaining houses that hadn't been moved. She repeated the point, and I had to interrupt her with promises not to inform the police. She finally explained that the boy came up crying with a bite mark on his foot. He didn't know what had happened, the water had been too dark and muddy. His father was never seen again. I reached for my cell phone and dialed the number of Doctor Gu Wen Kuei, an old comrade from my army days who now worked at the Institute of Infectious Diseases at Chongqing University. We exchanged pleasantries, discussing our health, our grandchildren; it was only proper. I then told him about the outbreak and listened as he made some joke about the hygiene habits of hillbillies. I tried to chuckle along but continued that I thought the incident might be significant. Almost reluctantly he asked me what the symptoms were. I told him everything: the bites, the fever, the boy, the arm . . . his face suddenly stiffened. His smile died. He asked me to show him the infected. I went back into the meeting hall and waved the phone's camera over each of the patients. He asked me to move the camera closer to some of the wounds themselves. I did so and when I brought the screen back to my face, I saw that his video image had been cut. "Stay where you are," he said, just a distant, removed voice now. "Take the names of all who have had contact with the infected. Restrain those already infected. If any have passed into coma, vacate the room and secure the exit." His voice was flat, robotic, as if he had rehearsed this speech or was reading from something. He asked me, "Are you armed?" "Why would I be?" I asked. He told me he would get back to me, all business again. He said he had to make a few calls and that I should expect "support" within several hours. They were there in less than one, fifty men in large army Z-8A helicopters; all were wearing hazardous materials suits. They said they were from the Ministry of Health. I don't know who they thought they were kidding. With their bullying swagger, their intimidating arrogance, even these backwater bumpkins could recognize the Guoanbu. Their first priority was the meeting hall. The patients were carried out on stretchers, their limbs shackled, their mouths gagged. Next, they went for the boy. He came out in a body bag. His mother was wailing as she and the rest of the village were rounded up for "examinations." Their names were taken, their blood drawn. One by one they were stripped and photographed. The last one to be exposed was a withered old woman. She had a thin, crooked body, a face with a thousand lines and tiny feet that had to have been bound when she was a girl. She was shaking her bony fist at the "doctors." "This is your punishment!" she shouted. "This is revenge for Fengdu!" She was referring to the City of Ghosts, whose temples and shrines were dedicated to the underworld. Like Old Dachang, it had been an unlucky obstacle to China's next Great Leap Forward. It had been evacuated, then demolished, then almost entirely drowned. I've never been a superstitious person and I've never allowed myself to be hooked on the opiate of the people. I'm a doctor, a scientist. I believe only in what I can see and touch. I've never seen Fengdu as anything but a cheap, kitschy tourist trap. Of course this ancient crone's words had no effect on me, but her tone, her anger . . . she had witnessed enough calamity in her years upon the earth: the warlords, the Japanese, the insane nightmare of the Cultural Revolution . . . she knew that another storm was coming, even if she didn't have the education to understand it. My colleague Dr. Kuei had understood all too well. He'd even risked his neck to warn me, to give me enough time to call and maybe alert a few others before the "Ministry of Health" arrived. It was something he had said . . . a phrase he hadn't used in a very long time, not since those "minor" border clashes with the Soviet Union. That was back in 1969. We had been in an earthen bunker on our side of the Ussuri, less than a kilometer downriver from Chen Bao. The Russians were preparing to retake the island, their massive artillery hammering our forces. Gu and I had been trying to remove shrapnel from the belly of this soldier not much younger than us. The boy's lower intestines had been torn open, his blood and excrement were all over our gowns. Every seven seconds a round would land close by and we would have to bend over his body to shield the wound from falling earth, and every time we would be close enough to hear him whimper softly for his mother. There were other voices, too, rising from the pitch darkness just beyond the entrance to our bunker, desperate, angry voices that weren't supposed to be on our side of the river. We had two infantrymen stationed at the bunker's entrance.From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERUSA TODAY BESTSELLERWALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER“An ‘oral history’ of the global war the evil brain-chewers came within a hair of winning. Zombies are among us—turn on your television if you don’t believe it. But, Brooks reassures us, even today, human fighters are hunting down the leftovers, and we’re winning. [His] iron-jaw narrative is studded with practical advice on what to do when the zombies come, as they surely will. A literate, ironic, strangely tasty treat.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)“Max Brooks has charted the folly of a disaster response based solely on advanced technologies and brute force in this step-by-step guide to what happened in the Zombie War. He details with extraordinary insight how in the face of institutional missteps and greed, people in unexpected ways achieve unique, creative, and effective strategies to survive and fight back. Brooks’s account of the path to recovery and reconstruction after the war is fascinating, too. World War Z provides us with a starting point, at least, a basic blueprint from which to build a popular understanding of how, when, and why such a disaster came to be, and how small groups and individuals survived.” —Jeb Weisman, Ph.D.,Director of Strategic Technologies, National Center for Disaster Preparedness“Possesses more creativity and zip than entire crates of other new fiction titles. Think Mad Max meets The Hot Zone . . . It’s Apocalypse Now, pandemic-style. Creepy but fascinating.”—USA TODAY“Prepare to be entranced by this addictively readable oral history of the great war between humans and zombies. . . . Will grab you as tightly as a dead man’s fist. A.”—Entertainment Weekly, EW Pick“Probably the most topical and literate scare since Orson Welles' War of the Worlds radio broadcast. . . . This is action-packed social-political satire with a global view.”—Dallas Morning News“Brooks [is] America’s most prominent maven on the living dead. . . . Chilling. . . . It is gripping reading and a scathing indictment of weak responses to crises real and over-hyped.”—Hartford Courant“A sober, frequently horrifying and even moving account. . . . Brooks has delivered a full-blown horror novel, laced with sharp social and political observations and loads of macabre, gruesome imagery. . . . The real horror of World War Z comes from the all-too-plausible responses of human beings and governments to the menace.”—Fangoria “A horror fan’s version of Studs Terkel’s The Good War. . . . Like George Romero’s Dead trilogy, World War Z is another milestone in the zombie mythology.”—Booklist“Brooks commits to detail in a way that makes his nightmare world creepily plausible. . . . Far more affecting than anything involving zombies really has any right to be. . . . The book . . . opens in blood and guts, turns the world into an oversized version of hell, then ends with and affirmation of humanity’s ability to survive the worst the world has to offer. It feels like the right book for the right times, and that’s the eeriest detail of all.”—A.V. Club, The Onion“The best science fiction has traditionally been steeped in social commentary. World War Z continues that legacy. . . . We haven’t been this excited about a book without pictures since–well, since ever.”—Metro “Each story locks together perfectly to create a wonderful, giddy suspense. Brooks also has the political savvy to take advantage of any paranoia a modern reader might feel. . . . The perfect book for all us zombie junkies.”—Paste“This infectious and compelling book will have nervous readers watching the streets for zombies. Recommended.”—Library Journal