Rebecca DeLaTorre's Reviews > World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

World War Z by Max Brooks
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Jul 07, 08

Read in July, 2008

I just can't get on this bandwagon. The pseudo-government reports the book is written in handicap it in many ways. First, there are no protagonists to grow with, no story arc, no climax, etc. You know what's going to happen from day one--there was a world crisis involving zombies and at least some people live to tell the tale. The sure knowledge of the outcome deflates any tension and book feels flacid. The pseudo-scientific jargon is a poor imitation (my sister, a nurse, tossed aside Brooks' other Zombie manfesto in disgust within the first few pages and this one fairs no better)and there are far too many emotional pauses and descriptive introductions for what amounts to an addendum to a government study of events. The thing that put me over the edge with this book is the inconsistency--one chapter has a boy with bloody knuckles sliding his hands about in zombie goo and remaining uninfected and in the next chapter there is an expression of gratitutde that no one exposed to detrius from a headshot has open wounds to be infected through. What editor let that get by? On top of that, racial, national stereotypes abound and are crude and unappealing. Brooks is obviously a big fan of Israel, as they are the heroes of the day, even going so far as to selflessly save Palestinian refugees (yeah, right)and remnants of South Africa's apartheid system are given a reprieve due to their pragmatism. Russians are wacky comrades, Chinamen are inscrutable and Americans are cowboys weakened by education and consumerism. Ugh.

I won't recommend this book to anyone, even a die hard zombie fan, lest World War Z ruin the genre for them forever.
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Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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Casey Of course he likes Israel, he's Mel Brooks' son. :)

Leslie Oshust I know your review is more than a few years old but I got on here to look for a new book to read because I am about 60 pages into this book and I have been struggling to get into it for over a month now. I was curious to see if I'm just a dummy and don't get it but your review hit it on the head for me...No protagonists to grow with, no true story arc...I need to connect with characters and this just isn't that kind of book. The Forest of Hands and Teeth is a little more my style if we are gonna do the zombie thing. Thanks for your review.

Jason Williams I think the book is well written and entertaining. However, I agree with what you said about the stereotypes. They're ridiculous. I'm almost at the end of this book, so I'll finish it, but I wouldn't pick anything up from Brooks again.

Jason Williams In addition to 7 out of every 10 chapters being from military members talking a whole a bunch of weapon technology jargon instead of interesting ideas about the story. But a lot of the survival stories are interesting.

message 5: by Jenn (new) - rated it 1 star

Jenn Glad I'm not the only one struggling with this book. I'm 33% done and almost ready to give up, which I rarely do!

Gerry Dorby I wondered why I was really struggling with this book and read this review, I now know why. There may be better academic and literary commentaries elsewhere but this gets to the nub of it smarty and swiftly. How most of us like a review to read.

I'm going to persevere as I don't like dropping a book unless its truly awful. Il write my review soon

Waiza thank God am not the only one! am really struggling with this book and am giving up! I just can't continue this nonsense

Jared Ross agreed! its just a bunch of random stories that makes this book super pointless to read

Simone Ramone I was recommended this book and downloaded Apocalypse Z by mistake. As ordinary as it was, it was better than this.

Read Breathers or Brains for zombie lit with a twist.

Jaksen It is just a bunch of random news dispatches, or interviews. There is nothing to hold it altogether. Or, I am missing something that all who love it have found. I gave up halfway through.

Yammy random news dispatches? you obviously haven't read the book.

message 12: by Jaksen (last edited Jan 01, 2014 07:30AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jaksen I did read the book. I do realize that this book is well-liked and was tremendously well-received. I tried re-reading sections. I put it aside and picked it up again after a week. And it has been described (by some) as a series of dispatches, and by others a (fictional) oral history. If there was a thread of a story in there somewhere, I just didn't catch it.

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