Book Review: World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War ~ Max Brooks
From amazon.com: Brooks tells the story of the world's desperate battle against the zombie threat with a series of first-person accounts "as told to the author" by various characters around the world.
This is exactly what this book is. It's told in excerpts from interviews with people who lived through the zombie apocalypse from it's beginning to the end of the "war." There are many different "interviewees" and each tells his or her story from a unique perspective. There are civilian, military and political points of view, and each tells a different aspect of the fight against the undead.
The book itself is unique, and so is it's premise. We've been assailed with zombie tales in recent literature and, while I hope this is a trend that continues, it's going to be difficult for writers to come up with unique points of view. Mr. Brooks doesn't have that problem here.
Those interviewed range from a Chinese doctor who shares his experiences from the beginning of the war to a Russian soldier describing the horrors perpetrated on her army by it's superiors. My personal favorite is the story of the blind monk who managed to hold his own in the wilderness.
We are told about military operations that failed miserably, accounts of families heading northward to escape the zombie horde, and American politician's struggles with having to basically decide who gets to live. Reading the book, I honestly could envision people making those same decisions. To me, if zombies came calling tomorrow, I would expect the world to fall apart the way it did in this novel. I would also expect the indomitable human spirit to rise up against the undead army and take back the world from it.
What Mr. Brooks has done here, and has done well, is written an excellent piece of zombie apocalypse fiction. The interview style is a novel idea and it made the story fresh and interesting. The writer also showed a vast knowledge of different countries' military and cultural practices, especially evidenced by the interviews with the Chinese doctor.
My only real issue with the novel is that the different people telling their stories all seemed to be using the same voice. Though the names changed, as did the tales, the voices stayed the same. It became somewhat confusing when interviewees were revisited. I'll over look this issue, though, because this book was that damned good.
From beginning to end, I found the book to be interesting, riveting and highly recommendable.
On a scale of one to five stars with one being the worst, I'd give this book FIVE stars.
Side note: I've been reading about the film adaptation of this book (with Brad Pitt, no less) and they're apparently going to end up turning this into a regular old zombie movie. That would be a BAD move, as this is an exceptionally told story that deserves to be told the way it was written.
Buy World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks on Kindle from amazon.com.
Buy World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks in paperback from amazon.com.