Words cannot properly do justice to the awesomeness that is this book. Max Brooks has outdone himself by creating a novel that could as easily merge into the realm of factual literature as fiction, except for the problem that World War Z is fictional fact. The book is based around the premise that the zombie uprising has happened, the world has suffered, panicked, fought back and survived, but no longer exists as it once did. The book is a collection of firsthand accounts which have been compiled as an historical record of the war, having been previously cut out of a governmental report which was also assembled by our narrator. Our narrator feels it is important to keep the ‘human factor’ of the war alive, rather than in 100 years only being able to remember statistics and official reports and yet none of the individual stories of victims or survivors. The book is broken up into sections, categorizing the accounts and interviews into those tackling the outbreak and initial spread of the zombie virus ‘Warnings’, the initial response and ‘Blame’, the ‘Great Panic’ (mass exoduses of citizens from cities, northern migration en-masse and lack of preparedness or survival skills resulting in massive death tolls and chaos.) followed by ‘Turning the Tide’, ‘Home-front U.S.A’ and ‘Total War’ which tackle the governmental and personal fight for survival both globally and in the United States (which by this time are an awful less united and far more overrun – with only a few remaining strongholds of people) The book ends with a chapter entitled ‘Good-byes’ which looks at the long-lasting impact of the war, even after most of the zombies have finally been defeated.
I don’t want to ruin the book by giving away too much, but I will say that it is STUNNINGLY well thought out, managing to tackle the scenario flawlessly; having thought of everything from the media response to issues surrounding traditional warfare against an enemy which is more resilient, more prolific and more unrelenting than anything the military has ever faced before. As well as the military and media responses, Brooks tackles the issue of survival and provision in a society that has adjusted to specializing in modern technology and white-collar jobs, but suddenly needs the skills of blue-collar craftsmen, farmers and basic survival skills – something modern society is not prepared for what-so-ever. Economics, the devaluation of money and resource scarcity – with importation and exportation ground to a halt and resources such as fuel and metal no longer being readily mined – are also tackled, alongside politics, psychological impact, the problem of sky-rocketing suicide rates, individual struggles and bizarre stories of survival. Brooks thinks about things no other author ever has, such as feral children, dog packs, secessionists, zombie-sympathisers, cannibalism and underwater zombies.
There is a massive variation within the accounts with Brooks realistically creating different persona with different agendas, experiences and personalities and the writing style reflecting these as though the people had genuinely been interviewed one by one, rather than all being the figment of an incredibly imaginative mind.
My one and only criticism of this book is that it is too short. I never wanted the book to end; just as you really entrench yourself into one of the chapters – falling into the mindset of the Great Panic, or the retaliation, the next chapter begins and you must leave behind an incredibly absorbing section and move onto the next phase of a 10 year war. I wanted to know more about ever character’s story, more of the history, more of EVERYTHING, and Brooks manages to leave you wanting more with every page turned, even when you are willing him to linger a little longer.
World War Z, along with Feed by Mira Grant, has fully informed my opinions on the, albeit fictional, zombie apocalypse and I really doubt that anything could ever weave a Zombie War quite as comprehensively or realistically as World War Z. Absolutely epic, I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone interested in zombies, the apocalypse, history, war, military strategy, survivalism, human behavior, economics, government or the media. READ IT!
Written by Liz 🙂