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Review: World War Z by Max Brooks

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks


Synopsis from Goodreads
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.

Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository US/UK | Fishpond


* * *
This was one mind-blowing, brutal and absolutely glorious zombie book! Oh My God, people, you all have to read it. Please, I beg you...

Max Brooks did one genius thing, - he made this story a documentary, literally a series of interviews with the survivors of zombie war 20 years later. When you read these interviews you think of people who tell you of their experiences, their pain, horror, guilt of leaving someone behind or killing a loved one or fighting their way out through guts and gore as real live people. They have characters, they have spark, they just spring before your eyes.

The scope of these interviews is humongous, from so many parts of the world, different ages, races, backgrounds, from mercenaries to children... Some of the interviews were even cut in half, the second half we would suddenly find at the end of the book and the emotional impact would be so much greater.

I couldn't put World War Z down, I even had a couple of very intense zombie dreams and as there was so much to absorb I was reading this book very slowly. It was one of the best zombie stories I've ever read not because it was about zombies but because it was about the resilience of human spirit.

“They say great times make great men. I don't buy it. I saw a lot of weakness, a lot of filth. People who should have risen to the challenge and either couldn't or wouldn't. Greed, fear, stupidity and hate. I saw it before the war, I see it today. [...] I don't know if great times make great men, but I know they can kill them.”

Two words, an EPIC READ. Recommended to the fans of Mira Grant. The film will come out next summer, and from what I can see they are going to absolutely ruin it. So... Go read the book!

* * *
Великолепная книга! Я такого восторга не испытывала от зомби фикшн со времён Миры Грант.

Гений Макса Брукса заключается в том, что вся книга построена на сериях интервью с выжившими Мировую Войну Z 20 лет спустя и поэтому воспринимается как документальное кино. Голоса героев настолько живы, полны боли, ужаса, раскаяния, вины, гнева и горечи, что так и хочется представить их на экране.

Безумно интересно, колоссальный масштаб событий и персонажей - с многих стран мира, многих возрастов, вероисповеданий и происхождения, от наёмников, до искалеченных детей...

Больше всего меня кстати напугала Северная Корея. До сих пор холодок по коже пробегает. Очевидцы описывают важнейшие битвы и небольшие местные стычки, выживание изо дня в день и труднейший выбор который им пришлось делать снова и снова. И страшно и горько и абсолютно реалистично.

Но в конечном счёте, Мировая Война Z - это книга не о зомби, а о человеческой силе духа и нашей неукротимой надежде. Чертовски ЭПИЧНО. ЧИТАТЬ!


Blodeuedd said...

That is different, and I do like different. An author that takes another road in his writing

M.A.D. said...

Couldn't agree with you more! This is one of the BEST zombie novels, intelligently written and magnificently executed! Anyone who hasn't read this needs to asap! <3

Mel said...

I listened to the audio book last year and loved it as well. It works so well as a audiobook too. So glad you loved it! :-)

Kat said...

I loved this one, particularly as it was written in documentary style which makes it quite unique as a zombie book. I really want to listen to the audio of this one!

Megan said...

I'm glad you loved this one. Max Brooks is an amazing zombie writer!

Ellie said...

Huzzah! I'm so glad you loved it, it's on my all time faves list :)

Unknown said...

Fab review, Kara K. I'm adding this to the pile! Along with Feed and books by David Moody. God.

Christina said...

10/10! I need to read this so much. It's Mel Brooks' son! And awesome, apparently. And zombies! Perfection!

kara-karina@Nocturnal Book Reviews said...

Christina, it was a gorgeous book, very emotional and real. You have to read this!

Joy, I know... but it's so goooood you have to read it sooner rather than later :)

Ellie, definitely one of the best reads of 2012 for me!

Megan, he definitely is!

Kat, I think the audio would be amazing if it's done with a lot of different people.

Mel, me too!

M.A.D.m I can't believe I've waited for so long to read this!

Blodeuedd, it's fabulous! Now you have to read it too :)

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