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World War Z [abridged audiobook] : An Oral…
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World War Z [abridged audiobook] : An Oral History of the Zombie War

by Max Brooks

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This is a review of the abridged audiobook edition:

This was a parting gift from a friend when I left Alaska. The first time I listened to it, I was riding through the desolate off-season roads of Alaska and the Yukon Territory with winter chasing us south. It was so magnificently creepy that we had to car camp one night instead of pitching the tent.

The book lends itself so well to the audiobook format, and it is wonderfully executed with excellent acting. The unabridged version didn't exist when I received this, and I most certainly look forward to hearing it someday. ( )
  Zoes_Human | Jul 16, 2018 |
After hearing Max Brooks on the Nerdist podcast, I was interested in listening to the audiobook of his novel World War Z. He mentioned getting a variety of actors, including some family friends, to read the various sections. I hadn’t realized the book was a series of interviews as opposed to a more linear, plot-based story. I don’t listen to audiobooks often but this premise sounded too interesting to pass.

I finished the audiobook the other day at the gym. It was definitely worth listening to this book rather than reading it. I loved the distinct voices, especially since the interviewees are varied and international. The accents would not have risen from the page with the same immediacy.

The premise of World War Z the novel is very different from the movie which was fine in its own right. The novel is a compilation of work conducted by a man on behalf of the UN to report on the zombie war. However, most of his work is rejected as too personal. So he takes it upon himself to publish the accounts he collected.

It begins with an Asian patient zero then moves to the Middle East where Israel is the first to build walls to protect their citizens from African rabies. Then some of the accounts are heavily military which is fascinating. Max Brooks referenced working with West Point in some capacity, which I’m so curious about, but the research shows. With no personal military experience and without enough discernment to realize elements made up to deal with a zombie war, the tactics and tools of the military came across as real and viable. Discussions about historical strategies and which would or wouldn’t work was very interesting.

The story that got to me and made me tear up on the treadmill was the account of the female pilot who went down on her way to Florida to drop off supplies. **Spoilers** She maintains radio contact with a sky watcher who guides her to a pickup point. Her contact – call sign Mets – yells when necessary, insults her, to keep the pilot pushing forward. She makes it to the point and is picked up by a helicopter as planned. Only it’s a private helicopter, not search and rescue, who happened to see her flare. She knows the doctors think she made Mets up to keep herself sane and alive but she doesn’t care; she’ll remember Mets for the rest of her life.

That got me and I love when a story gets me. A book can be good because overall the tale is enjoyable and engaging. A book can also be good because of a single moment that stays with you. I collect them like stones in my mind and when I recall one the rest follow. I have a new one to add thanks to World War Z. Mets saved her and will always be real. ( )
  JillianGetting | Oct 28, 2016 |
I was told to read this by a couple of friends and was not disappointed. It was a book that told the story of the war against zombies. What was nice was that it was a bunch of different stories from all over that all were interconnected. It was really well written and kept me reading. It wasn't very technical or with too many war details but enough for you to get the picture.

I recommend it to anyone who likes a good read. ( )
  midkid88 | Apr 2, 2014 |
I missed a few of my favorite sections (I hate abridged audiobooks), but overall, an excellent production. Also, once again I got through the whole thing going, "That guy's voice sounds kind of familiar," only to discover that that guy was Mark Hamill. ( )
  jen.e.moore | Mar 30, 2013 |
I loved how up close and personal this book made the zombie war. A must read for any zombie fan. ( )
  jawshoeah | Apr 24, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0739366408, Audio CD)

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, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:45 -0400)

This is the fictional, searing, gruesome account of the decade-long period when civilization stood on the brink of extinction due to a viral plague that transformed anyone it infected into a ghoulish creature with an appetite for living flesh, as told by the civilians, soldiers, and politicians who survived it.… (more)

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