#816: World War Z by Max Brooks

World War Z by Max BrooksIt began with rumours from China about another pandemic. Then the cases started to multiply and what had looked like the stirrings of a criminal underclass, even the beginnings of a revolution, soon revealed itself to be much, much worse. Faced with a future of mindless, man-eating horror, humanity was forced to accept the logic of world government and face events that tested our sanity and our sense of reality.

Based on extensive interviews with survivors and key players in the 10-year fight-back against the horde, World War Z brings the very finest traditions of American journalism to bear on what is surely the most incredible story in the history of civilisation.



World War Z captivated me from the beginning, but unfortunately the captivation petered out. I found I needed to sit and consider why that was. It didn’t make sense to me.

I love how World War Z is written. I admit I am not a fan of zombies. They freak me out. Ask me to take part in a zombie walk or some sort of zombie role play and I’ll… just…. Hmmm… No… No thank you. However, I tend to consume my fair share of zombie entertainment (especially lately with games, this book, and movies). My fear of them aside, zombies are entertaining.

The writing style was one of the main reasons I was captivated in the beginning. The novel is written well as an ‘oral history’. While reading I could picture some of these events occurring in real life. Zombies are far-fetched, but the character’s reactions in World War Z completely overshadows it and made me consider the possibility.

If this was actual non-fiction I believe I would have been engrossed. I find reading non-fiction to be a laborious task, especially when it comes to history and war, due to the delivery. Reading an account of an event with an emotional component is when I am able to absorb the details and relate. Unfortunately it’s not often you come across a retelling of a warlike or historical event such as that.

This is where I find World War Z works, but also fails for me. The oral history delivery mixed with human emotion sucks you in. Having so many individual stories, although riveting at times, made me lose focus. Reading something like this only re-enforces to me how much I crave character development. I’m a character reader. I do love detail and there’s stellar world-building in World War Z, but I require some form of character growth.

I don’t regret reading World War Z. Far from it. I enjoyed it, I just wasn’t as taken with it as many other readers have been. Some of those stories, even if I don’t remember the characters all too well, they were excellent. Quite a few come to mind when I think back on the entirety of the novel, which only tells me World War Z definitely makes an impact.

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