Sarah Maddaford's Reviews > World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

World War Z by Max Brooks
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it was amazing
bookshelves: apocalyptic, modern, natural-disaster, political, sci-fi, supernatural, war, zombies, temple, favorites
Read 2 times. Last read July 24, 2013 to July 31, 2013.

I had to read this again because the movie was such a travesty. There is virtually nothing in common between the movie and this book. I hope that someone eventually gets the rights to do a more authentic version because Brad Pitt's was just an excuse to make himself a zombie apocalypse hero. The book is such a great commentary on society and humanity, but the film has almost none of the same points. This second reading also gave me less nightmares than the first one for some reason.

Original Review
This book fits extremely well into the horror genre. It is certainly not for the faint at heart even though it is told from a historical/interview perspective. Zombies can only be killed with head shots that destroy the brain, and the soldiers take great pride describing how accurate they were. Also, they and the civilians both describe some pretty terrifying and graphic scenes of others taken down by zombies. The immediate threat of danger is not present at any point in the story because the interviewees are all discussing past events, but the clear affect of the events on them is enough to create the feeling of unease and horror. Those being interviewed and every other survivor are just that, survivors of an event that nearly wiped out humanity and caused those left to adapt quickly despite their fears. Zombies make a pretty terrifying enemy because they do not think or feel; they just create more zombies and eat humans. The humans were not exactly kind to one another either. There was almost no sex in the book, but one of the soldiers does make allusions to victory celebrations that may have resulted in miniatures of him across the country. The language was not exactly kosher, but many of the interviewees were soldier before the war and during it.

I really enjoyed this book. Even though I will probably be dreaming about zombies for a while, it was not so scary that I had nightmares last night. Zombies and epidemics are actually really scary for me because they always spread so quickly in movies. I Am Legend terrified me. If this book had been written as a narrative instead of a collection of interviews it probably would have been scarier, but it might not have been as horrific. There were some aspects of the events that could only be truly understood in hindsight and it would have been difficult to be so detailed about so many different people around the world. These people sometimes made choices that may have been the only choice at the time but still haunt them ten years later. The long lasting effect of the war is more horrific than the war itself even though the actual fighting must have been utterly terrifying and sad. There were some pretty poignant parts in the book, such as realizing that cities with suburbs were the hardest places to clear of zombies not just because of the maze of buildings but the population. I think the main reason that I loved this book is that the historical accounting of it made it seem more real and plausible than a narrative about fighting zombies would be.

I think a sci-fi reader is the only other genre that might really enjoy this. There are some pretty cool weapons and techniques developed to respond to zombies and that description level may be enough to draw them in. There is no romance. The action is described by the person who experienced it, but not always in a very exciting manner. There is no magic or even a cure to discover for the zombies. Someone who likes the feel of historical fiction or non-fiction war accounts might enjoy this book if they do not mind zombies.

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Reading Progress

November 17, 2009 – Shelved
April 11, 2010 – Started Reading
April 13, 2010 – Shelved as: apocalyptic
April 13, 2010 – Shelved as: modern
April 13, 2010 – Shelved as: natural-disaster
April 13, 2010 – Shelved as: political
April 13, 2010 – Shelved as: sci-fi
April 13, 2010 – Shelved as: supernatural
April 13, 2010 – Shelved as: war
April 13, 2010 – Shelved as: zombies
April 13, 2010 – Finished Reading
July 31, 2010 – Shelved as: temple
January 22, 2011 – Shelved as: favorites
July 24, 2013 – Started Reading
July 31, 2013 – Finished Reading

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