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World War Z

An Oral History of the Zombie War

Brooks, Max

(Paperback - 2011)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
World War Z
Random House, Inc.
Soon to be a major motion picture!

The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.

Ranging from the now infamous village of New Dachang in the United Federation of China, where the epidemiological trail began with the twelve-year-old Patient Zero, to the unnamed northern forests where untold numbers sought a terrible and temporary refuge in the cold, to the United States of Southern Africa, where the Redeker Plan provided hope for humanity at an unspeakable price, to the west-of-the-Rockies redoubt where the North American tide finally started to turn, this invaluable chronicle reflects the full scope and duration of the Zombie War.

Most of all, the book captures with haunting immediacy the human dimension of this epochal event. Facing the often raw and vivid nature of these personal accounts requires a degree of courage on the part of the reader, but the effort is invaluable because, as Mr. Brooks says in his introduction, “By excluding the human factor, aren’t we risking the kind of personal detachment from history that may, heaven forbid, lead us one day to repeat it? And in the end, isn’t the human factor the only true difference between us and the enemy we now refer to as ‘the living dead’?”

Note: Some of the numerical and factual material contained in this edition was previously published under the auspices of the United Nations Postwar Commission.

Eyewitness reports from the first truly global war

“I found ‘Patient Zero’ behind the locked door of an abandoned apartment across town. . . . 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. . . . 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 . . . cold and gray . . . I could find neither his heartbeat nor his pulse.” —Dr. Kwang Jingshu, Greater Chongqing, United Federation of China

“‘Shock and Awe’? Perfect name. . . . But what if the enemy can’t be shocked and awed? Not just won’t, but biologically can’t! That’s what happened that day outside New York City, that’s the failure that almost lost us the whole damn war. The fact that we couldn’t shock and awe Zack boomeranged right back in our faces and actually allowed Zack to shock and awe us! They’re not afraid! No matter what we do, no matter how many we kill, they will never, ever be afraid!” —Todd Wainio, former U.S. Army infantryman and veteran of the Battle of Yonkers

“Two hundred million zombies. Who can even visualize that type of number, let alone combat it? . . . For the first time in history, we faced an enemy that was actively waging total war. They had no limits of endurance. They would never negotiate, never surrender. They would fight until the very end because, unlike us, every single one of them, every second of every day, was devoted to consuming all life on Earth.” —General Travis D’Ambrosia, Su

Baker & Taylor
An account of the decade-long conflict between humankind and hordes of the predatory undead is told from the perspective of dozens of survivors who describe in their own words the epic human battle for survival.

Publisher: New York : Three Rivers Press, [2011], c2006
Edition: 1st mass market ed
ISBN: 9780307888686
Branch Call Number: FIC B
Characteristics: 420 p. : ill. ; 18 cm.


From the critics

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I LOVED THIS BOOK! It was a different take on a zombie story and unlike anything I have ever read before. I loved the perspective in the book, the story was told very well. Highly recommend reading this book, if you have seen the movie doesn't matter, book is worth reading since they have so little in common.

Dec 08, 2014
  • lbarkema rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I liked the way in which this was told, an oral history, but despite not being a super-long novel, it dragged. Maybe it was because I was interested in some stories or even parts of the war, and not others? I can't tell what it is that just didn't "do it" for me. But because there were places that were interesting and it was a unique telling of a story, it still gets a solid 3.

Nov 02, 2014
  • black_hawk_403 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A different spin on the modern zombie story - 5 stars but definitely not for young children.

Sep 19, 2014
  • WVMLStaffPicks rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Brooks presents a dystopic future featuring a crippling virus. The story features the zombie pandemic as told to 'the author' by people involved, from the doctor who saw the first case, to military personnel involved at the height, to leaders trying to rebuild. Featuring a global perspective and a journalistic tone, this book is excellent and a riveting read.

Jul 03, 2014
  • angeye87 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Loved it! :) I saw the movie, so I decided to give the book a shot. Although they are very different I definitely loved them both! Quick read, would def recommend

Jun 13, 2014
  • rags1523 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Found this book on a buzz feed list and decided to give it a try. I was really surprised. It isn't about Zombies, it is about how different people and parts of the world deal with disaster and what it says about us as humans and cultures.

May 14, 2014
  • pamcora87 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Great book. I loved the multiple perspectives given by each interview. The fast paced images and thrilling subject matter make it a quick and enjoyable read.

Mar 21, 2014
  • vegemite9 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Fast paced and a truly exiting novel, i praise Max Brooks, for his intriging writing. Seeing the Zombie apocaylypse through this veiw, was slightly depressing. As realization came to as how helpless we would be in such a situation. Max brooks keeps into consideration the possible dangers of a non-infected. Survival needs. And the conditinal conspiracy out of the story-the belief that because you are you, you would survive. He painted a different picture of the zombie in my mind and i thank him for it. I highly recommend this read, perhaps for an older audience as the book is quite visual.

Nov 15, 2013
  • Ferrous1 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Totally different from the movie, which makes the format take a bit to adjust to, but totally enjoyable. An interesting view of human nature and society, and what would happen if an all-encompassing calamity that was very difficult to escape happened. Well worth a read even from just this perspective if you're not into zombies.
Highly recommended.

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Frightening or Intense Scenes: Of course, people just escaping zombies, and multiple shootouts. There is quite a bit of intensity.

Violence: Plenty of violence. It's a zombie horror event, you gotta expect it.

Coarse Language: Almost every swear word used at least once. But most are used several times.

Sep 23, 2013
  • mariednguyen rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Other: Release date June 21, 2013 (USA)

Feb 22, 2013
  • rayyan0705 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Violence: there is alot of killing and war

Aug 22, 2011
  • cmills10 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Violence: Gore, dead bodies, walking dead, cannabalisim,

Aug 22, 2011
  • cmills10 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

Violence: It's a book about dead people coming back to life and eating other people. I think it may be a TOUCH violent, don't you?

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.


Add Age Suitability

Nov 02, 2014
  • black_hawk_403 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

black_hawk_403 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

WestCoastFilms thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

violet_cat_4942 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Feb 22, 2013
  • rayyan0705 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

rayyan0705 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 31

Violet_Bee_66 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Kumakmibru thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Jan 16, 2012
  • scifinerd rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

scifinerd thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Aug 22, 2011
  • cmills10 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

cmills10 thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


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scary and a really good book

Jul 28, 2013
  • Tingwerson rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

What about your parents?
What about them? We lived in the same apartment, but I never really conversed with them. I’m sure they thought I was studying. Even when school closed I told them I still had to prepare for exams. They never questioned it. My father and I rarely spoke. In the mornings my mother would leave a breakfast tray at my door, at night she would leave dinner. The first time she didn’t leave a tray, I thought nothing of it. I woke up that morning, as I always did; gratified myself, as I always did; logged on, as I always did. It was midday before I started to feel hungry. I hated those feelings, hunger or fatigue or, the worst, sexual desire. Those were physical distractions. They annoyed me.

Dec 17, 2012
  • LazyNeko rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

It's fear, dude, just fear and you don't have to be Sun freakin Tzu to know that real fighting isn't about killing or even hurting the other guy, it's about scaring him enough to call it a day. Break their spirit, that's what every successful army goes for, from tribal face paint to the "blitzkrieg" to... what did we call the first round of Gulf War Two, "Shock and Awe"? Perfect name, "Shock and Awe"! But what if the enemy can't be shocked and awed? Not just won't, but biologically can't!


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