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World War Z by Max Brooks

World War Z (original 2006; edition 2007)

by Max Brooks

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
9,285505323 (4.02)3 / 587
Title:World War Z
Authors:Max Brooks
Info:Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd (2007), Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
Tags:Sci-Fi, Horror, TBR

Work details

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks (2006)

  1. 192
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  3. 141
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  4. 152
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    Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson (timspalding)
    timspalding: Very similar style.
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  7. 50
    The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham (infjsarah)
    infjsarah: Older sci-fi but still very effective. Survival against mindless, ever increasing enemy.
  8. 72
    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
  9. 51
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  10. 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.
  11. 30
    Zombie CSU: The Forensics of the Living Dead by Jonathan Maberry (ShelfMonkey)
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(see all 33 recommendations)


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English (492)  French (6)  Spanish (3)  Danish (2)  Italian (2)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (506)
Showing 1-5 of 492 (next | show all)
I loved this book! It was absolutely fascinating! I loved the very concrete look at the behavior of humans in a dramatic situation, and I of course enjoy a good zombie book. But this isn't really a zombie book. It is a people book. It is a look at how people act when faced with a terrifying future/situation that seems hopeless. It was fairly impartial when reporting how people behave. Some people were heroic, and some people were horrible, and that is part of the human condition. So I loved how this book was able to take a topic that so many people are interested in, to look at just how people act and be fairly successful doing so. So, loved it. Yup. Loved it. ( )
  Misty-Rose | Sep 25, 2015 |
The premise is brilliant -- telling the story of the so-called Zombie War from a variety of points of view. And this does feel very much like one of those real oral history collections, especially if you listen to the recorded version. (Just be sure you get the complete one, and not the abridged -- until recently, abridged was all that was available. If you listened to a recording and you don't remember hearing a story from a Russian priest or an American feral child, you got the abridged one.)

As a writer, I admired and envied Brooks his premise and brilliant execution. I was surprised and impressed by the fact that the scariest part of this story isn't the zombies, but the human beings. The Russian soldier and her story of the "decimations" was especially chilling.

As a reader, I kept groping around for an arc that wasn't possible with this storytelling technique. Although I enjoyed many of the separate chapters and am glad I read the whole book, I think I may find it too difficult to feel genuinely compelled by a story without a hero to root for. (The entire human race doesn't quite count.)

Also -- and this is really a personal quirk -- I think including Alan Alda as one of the readers was a mistake. His voice is so distinctive that I had a hard time just listening to his story. I just kept thinking, "Hey -- that's Alan Alda." Which isn't something that's as likely to happen with, say, Rene Auberjonois (though of course I'm crazy about him and was delighted to see his name on the cast of characters).

Do read this for what it says about people and the scary place our flaws may lead us, and do see the movie for a really great scary time; and don't worry about which order to do those, because they're completely different creations and you can enjoy them separately. I'd love to have a great spoiler-ful discussion about which take on North Korea was more likely to be accurate, the book's or the movie's. They were both brilliant, and creepy as all get-out. And (spoiler alert): the book will tell you what that mushroom cloud Brad Pitt sees in the distance is. ( )
1 vote Deborah_Markus | Aug 8, 2015 |
Terrific book. One giant story, told through hundreds of small stories. Beautifully written, thilling. Nothing like the movie (thank god). One of the best books I've read in a long time. ( )
  Joeyzaza82 | Jul 31, 2015 |
Interessante mas um pouco cansativo o conceito de relatos. Uns são viscerais, outros fastidiosos. Estive a ver o trailer e não parece ter nada a ver com o livro, logo não percebo para quê passar ao cinema, pois vai ser uma história completamente diferente ( )
  bruc79 | Jul 31, 2015 |
This quickly became one of my all-time favourite books. I am a HUGE zombie nerd, and this had been on my wishlist for so long, and once I got it it was well and truly devoured!
The Oral History angle on this book is refreshingly unique, and a realistic way to tell such a story. I was impressed at the range of characters, the differences in their stories of survival, and the way the story flowed so well between them all despite many of the speakers living on opposite sides of the world.
World War Z is the ultimate book for zombie-lovers, or really anyone interested in sci-fi. Not much more I can say other than: read it! It's brilliant! ( )
  chimocho | Jul 7, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 492 (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 (24 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Max Brooksprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Elias, MariaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keränen, HelmiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Petersen, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ramírez Tello, PilarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reiner, CarlNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reiner, RobNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tran, DavidCover designersecondary 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
Introduction - 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."
Setting - Greater Chongqing, the United Federation of China
Chapter One - 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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:36 -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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 12 descriptions

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