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World War Z by Max Brooks

World War Z (2006)

by Max Brooks

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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8,267440374 (4.06)3 / 510
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  1. 192
    Feed by Mira Grant (Aerrin99, andreablythe, HenriMoreaux)
    Aerrin99: An awesome look at the world post-zombie-apocalypse with history, politics, and fantastic world building.
  2. 150
    The Walking Dead, Volume 1: Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman (Aerrin99)
    Aerrin99: An awesome look at the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse in the longer term.
  3. 131
    The Passage by Justin Cronin (divinenanny)
  4. 142
    The Stand by Stephen King (timspalding)
  5. 101
    Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson (timspalding)
    timspalding: Very similar style.
  6. 82
    Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry (stmartins)
    stmartins: Also a killer Zombie thriller and an awesome first book in the "Joe Ledger" series. Teaser and free prequal story avaiable at stmartins.com/JonathanMaberry
  7. 50
    Earth Abides by George R. Stewart (timspalding)
  8. 50
    The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham (infjsarah)
    infjsarah: Older sci-fi but still very effective. Survival against mindless, ever increasing enemy.
  9. 52
    Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler (storyjunkie)
    storyjunkie: Both are tales of how to survive a world gone mad, though there are no zombies in Butler's. Both works' treatment of the human questions are equally nuanced, variable, and detailed.
  10. 30
    Breathers: A Zombie's Lament by S. G. Browne (FFortuna)
  11. 30
    Zombie CSU: The Forensics of the Living Dead by Jonathan Maberry (ShelfMonkey)
  12. 20
    The Rising by Brian Keene (yoyogod)
    yoyogod: The Rising is probably my favorite zombie novel.
  13. 31
    Zone One by Colson Whitehead (ahstrick)
  14. 21
    Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist (elvisettey)
    elvisettey: A completely different take on zombies: here, they're not "out to get you," just beings who may or may not have souls, and Lindqvist treats all those related questions.
  15. 21
    Zombies of Byzantium by Sean Munger (meggyweg)
  16. 10
    Exit Zero by Neil A. Cohen (Neil.Cohen)
  17. 10
    Apocalypse Z: The Beginning of the End by Manel Loureiro (jorvaor)
    jorvaor: Similar zombie apocalypse from a single protagonist point of view.
  18. 10
    Fallout by Todd Strasser (meggyweg)
  19. 21
    Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1: Unmanned by Brian K. Vaughan (MyriadBooks)
  20. 00
    Day by Day Armageddon by J. L. Bourne (rcollett)
    rcollett: Great Books!

(see all 33 recommendations)


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English (428)  French (5)  Spanish (3)  Italian (2)  Danish (2)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (441)
Showing 1-5 of 428 (next | show all)
Zombies are all the rage these days – funny that George Romero’s cult classic, “Night of the Living Dead,” has been so…reanimated in popular culture. The Centers for Disease Control even sprouted a sense of humor with a marketing campaign for disaster preparedness. The talk surrounding Romero’s film over the years had a lot to do with the subtext, mostly political in nature. Released in 1968, many saw the film as a comment on the chaos and pain of the time – remember, the movie is about a group of young people who are inexplicably attacked by a horde of unthinking automatons, bent on their destroying and consuming them. In 2006, before “The Walking Dead” or some of the other more current zombie media, Max Brooks took the torch from Romero with [World War Z], creating a story that transcended its subject, a zombie apocalypse, to critically examine the state of our species. Don’t watch the movie – read the book.

While the film version of [World War Z] is thrilling, it lifts only a few pages of Brooks’ prose to formulate a plot. Brooks’ narrator is no Brad Pitt angling to save the world, but a historian and an academic hoping to capture the state of humans at the brink of extinction. Psuedo-epistolary, the text of the book is comprised from his interviews with people from around the globe who played some role or observed some event in a war of survival against zombies. There are blind Japanese gardeners and Russian chaplains turned religious icons; defected Chinese sub commanders; South African zealots; blood-thirsty mercenaries; and soldiers of every ilk. The authenticity of all these voices exhibits a deft talent. The technique also allows a broad examination of cultures and values, but also a broad view on the common blight of humanity.

Brooks, and his narrator, blame human weakness, selfishness, and shortsightedness for the spread and failed containment of the zombie threat. Some leaders or countries were interested only in containing panic rather than saving lives. Others saw the crisis as a means for gain. But the most common failing is lazy, frightened thinking. The heroes of the story are the ones who see beyond their own fear. Brooks could easily have used some other enemy, replaced zombies with a crisis made of nuclear war or climate revolt. But using the fanciful shines a harsher light on human foibles and elevates the social commentary.

Don’t be fooled by the movie or the marketing for the book, this is not your typical zombie story. There’s a lot … to chew on.

Bottom Line: More cerebral than gore and goo – a thoughtful social commentary.

5 bones!!!!! ( )
1 vote blackdogbooks | Apr 20, 2014 |
What really happens to the world when the living dead run amok and start devouring humanity? In this engaging volume, journalist Max Brooks gathers together tales of humanity's survival from the zombie hoard from around the world. How did things go so very wrong and what did go right? ( )
  phoenixcomet | Apr 18, 2014 |
If you've read my review of Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick, you would know that my interest in zombie apocalyose fiction has been heightened thanks to The Walking Dead. Thanks to fantastic stories behind different fictional apocalypses, my reading interests in the genre have expanded. This inevitably led me to World War Z.

The 'history' of World War Z is told through a series of interviews and first-hand recounts of people who lived through ten years of zombie war, twelve years since VA Day. There are stories from throughout the world - nowhere was untouched by the devastation wrought by the living dead. I thought this was a unique way to present original fiction and slowly, before I knew it, I was reading it as if it was a nonfiction reflection of the war years - something that happened many years before and we should not forget.

The line between fact and fiction felt so blurred to me. It seems silly, I know. But the accounts given by those who lived through it were written with such conviction and of course, the human factor. All the mistakes and triumphs, the shock and grief, humanity bonding together against a common enemy, I'm not going to lie. I found it moving and heart warming, espcially when in those final chapters we are given a few small glimpses of hope.

This book however still falls short of a 4 star read because after a while I missed the familiarity of a developing storyline and the presence of characters to get attached to. I enjoyed the anecdotes and varying perspectives on the war but I think there's a lot of potential for Brooks to expand into a series of novels set during World War Z as I find it a fantastic premise. Also a bit disappointed in the back of Australian representation (the one character interviewed in Sydney was actually in space for the whole war so I feel like he missed out) but I should be used to that by now! ( )
  crashmyparty | Apr 9, 2014 |
One of the better recent zombie novels ( )
  bke | Mar 30, 2014 |
This might have been the fastest I have read any book. I could not put this one down. It races along with survivors telling their stories of the zombie apocalypse. It sounds simple enough, but the stories are riveting. A very exciting book. ( )
  juliettehendrikx | Mar 26, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 428 (next | show all)
And while all the action and drama is top notch, it would just be a mechanical exercise if it weren’t for the sociological commentary inserted. It may be out in the open but Brooks does not beat you over the head with it. I love how he shows how both the general public and governments deal with zombie crisis, mainly with denial. If you want, zombies are simply a symbol for the entire real world such as climate change or a dwindling supply.
added by paradoxosalpha | editDaily Kos, billssha (Jul 4, 2011)

» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Max Brooksprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ramírez Tello, PilarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Henry Michael Brooks,
who makes me want to change the world.
Bana dünyayı değiştirme isteği veren
Henry Michael Brooks için...
First words
It goes by many names: "The Crisis," "The Dark Years," "The Walking Plague," as well as newer and more "hip" titles such as "World War Z" or "Z War One."
Greater Chongqing, the United Federation of China
The first outbreak I saw was in a remote village that offically had no name.
'Fear is the most valuable commodity in the universe' Turn on the TV what are you seeing? People selling you products? No. People selling you the fear of you having to live without their products' Fear of aging, fear of loneliness, fear of poverty, fear of failure. Fear is the most basic emotion we have. Fear is primal. Fear sells. pg 55 (edit)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307346617, Paperback)

“The end was near.” —Voices from the Zombie War

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

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:48:37 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

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.

» see all 12 descriptions

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