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

by Max Brooks

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
14,765698337 (3.98)3 / 686
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.
  1. 202
    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. 152
    The Passage by Justin Cronin (divinenanny)
  3. 163
    The Stand by Stephen King (timspalding)
  4. 131
    The Walking Dead, Volume 01: Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman (Aerrin99)
    Aerrin99: An awesome look at the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse in the longer term.
  5. 91
    Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson (timspalding)
    timspalding: Very similar style.
  6. 70
    The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham (infjsarah)
    infjsarah: Older sci-fi but still very effective. Survival against mindless, ever increasing enemy.
  7. 60
    Earth Abides by George R. Stewart (timspalding)
  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. 61
    Y: The Last Man Vol. 01: Unmanned by Brian K. Vaughan (MyriadBooks)
  10. 62
    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. 41
    Zone One by Colson Whitehead (ahstrick)
  12. 30
    Zombie CSU: The Forensics of the Living Dead by Jonathan Maberry (ShelfMonkey)
  13. 64
    And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic by Randy Shilts (timspalding)
    timspalding: Some may take offense at the suggestion, but I think don't think World War Z could have been written without And the Band Played On, an oral history of the all-too-real AIDS epidemic. Shilts' is by far the better book, even if it weren't true and important.… (more)
  14. 20
    The Three by Sarah Lotz (sparemethecensor)
    sparemethecensor: Speculative fiction, same piecey storytelling style.
  15. 20
    The Rising by Brian Keene (yoyogod)
    yoyogod: The Rising is probably my favorite zombie novel.
  16. 31
    Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist (ijustgetbored)
    ijustgetbored: 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.
  17. 20
    Breathers: A Zombie's Lament by S. G. Browne (FFortuna)
  18. 21
    The Dogs of War: The Courage, Love, and Loyalty of Military Working Dogs by Lisa Rogak (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: Yes, it's a history nonfiction being recommended for association with World War Z, but readers who enjoyed Darnell Hackworth's interview will love the true stories in this book.
  19. 10
    Day by Day Armageddon by J. L. Bourne (rcollett)
    rcollett: Great Books!
  20. 21
    Zombies of Byzantium by Sean Munger (meggyweg)

(see all 34 recommendations)


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» See also 686 mentions

English (675)  French (7)  Spanish (4)  Italian (2)  Danish (2)  Hungarian (1)  German (1)  All languages (692)
Showing 1-5 of 675 (next | show all)
This is the first bit of zombie fiction I've read, and I'd been interested in it for a while. It was the first purchase I made my shiny new Kindle, and I read it very quickly in 3 days over Christmas. I have to say, it's pretty awesome!

I really enjoyed this book, and I found it to be a really refreshing way to present a zombie apocalypse. I particularly liked the different reactions in different countries and their political and cultural differences. The USA initially tried to downplay it, then capitalists profit from selling inaffective vaccines and wards, the Chinese are still preoccupied with with keeping their militarised state despite their impending doom of their large population, the Japanese being forced to evacuate their homeland. The difficult moral and ethical decisions that had to be made by governments were well explored I think, Redeker's Plan making so much practical sense but entails horrifying sacrifices. I found it interesting that the author chose South Africa to be the leader in that area (the politics of the apartheid perhaps make it easier to believe) and that Israel and Palestine put aside difference to save their people. This is really quite complex book, that weaves a huge global tapestry of events and choices.. all of which I found to paint a picture of a realistic nightmare.

Zombies have to be fought on all sides.. land, water, snow. Max Brooks tackles the problems with underwater zombies, frozen zombies and underground zombies left by the war. Even space and satellites aren't forgotten, with an interview with an astronaut that had to stay up in space for years in order to keep the satellite running!

There is a huge cast of characters telling their different perspectives and there are a few that I would have loved to hear more about - especially the two Japanese characters, Redeker's fate, and I really want to know what happened in North Korea!


Over all I really enjoyed it, and I found it to be a very realistic presentation of what would happen if there really was a zombie outbreak! Especially the political and cultural anges. And it is terrifying. I don't know if if was because I had a bit of a Christmas flu when reading this, and I've been sleep deprived because of it.. but it's sent my imagination wild! I need to stop thinking about zombies. You could make some criticisms.. some of the "voices" of characters are very similar, and it can be difficult to keep track of who is who and where.. but I didn't bother with trying to do that, it isn't a novel about characters but more about events. I suggest you don't try to be all literary about it, and just enjoy it for what it is!

A word on the upcoming World War Z movie...

So after finishing the book I took a look at the trailer for the Brad Pitt adaption.. and I was confused. The trailer basically seems to have no resemblance to the book other than a world wide zombie outbreak, I looked at IMDb and the cast of characters are not ones I can remember reading about.. I don't understand why they would go to the trouble of getting the rights for the book if they are just going to make a different film? Other than it is a cool titles and they want to cash in on the popularity of the book. Maybe it is just a terrible trailer (it does look boring).. but I'm disappointed! This could and should make an awesome mockumentary style film.. like District 9 (freaking love District 9)! Or just pick some of the most interesting stories and following them. It could have been so good.. I don't want to see just a bit budget zombie blockbuster following Brad Pitt around the world, which is what this looks like. DISAPPOINTED. ( )
  ImagineAlice | May 8, 2023 |
cea mai bună carte (post)apocaliptică pe care am citit-o, cinci stele nu-mi ajung să-mi exprim părerea. Dacă și-n ce a mai scris e la fel de bun, sper să mai citesc Max Brooks.
E realistă, sobră, atentă la detalii și la contexte culturale, rece și (imaginar) obiectivă, extrem de expresivă în pofida stilului (e pseudo-memorialistică, alcătuită din interviuri, deci nu există personaje propriu-zise sau o poveste continuă), reușește să transmită o doză bună de oroare fără a descrie direct scene horror, e captivantă, scrisă cu multă inteligență și finețe. Surprinde (și critică în fundal, indirect) foarte bine, deși subtil, societatea, politica și mentalitățile și prezintă foarte corect (dpdv sociologic) modul de reacție primară al grupurilor de oameni. Ar fi putut fi de fapt pornită de la orice altă invazie pretext (ET, sovietici ori era glaciară în loc de zombie) și ar fi fost exact aceeași carte, deci nu lăsați ”Z”-ul să vă descurajeze.
nu are nici o legătură cu porcăria de film omonim (din cauza căruia am ezitat mult să mă apuc de ea).
E copiată foarte prost de Wilson în Robocalipsa, o clonă pe care o contra-recomand puternic. ( )
  milosdumbraci | May 5, 2023 |
One of the most unique and well written books I've read for fantasy/horror. By that I am referring to the style of interviewing subjects after an event took place, especially one as wild as a zombie apocalypse. And beyond that, Brooks really spread his net wide and covered so many different subjects that not a single story within this book was not interesting. Top 5 in my favorites of all time. ( )
  Velvet-Moonlight | May 1, 2023 |
Maybe the fact that this book is about zombies might turn some people off, but the fact is, that this book is more than just a zombie book. This is a book about survival. And it is not just a survival book, it is a very well written, entertaining, survival book that happens to be about a zombie war, that I would recommend to almost everyone. Hands down, Max Brooks knows what he is doing, and he does it well. Read it, you'll know what I mean. ( )
  MrMet | Apr 28, 2023 |
3.5 Stars

Book 19 in my Zombie-a-thon!

CW: described suicides of people who do not want to turn into zombies after being infected, gore, loss of loved ones, death

Well that was a mixed bag but overall a very engaging book. Some of the people interviewed told brilliantly frightening stories of zombie hordes sweeping through their towns. On the other hand, the interviews with authority figures whilst necessary for context, were dull as dishwater. I listened to this as an audiobook so appreciated the use of voice actors to reflect the international nature of the apocalypse. Very entertaining! ( )
  Mrs_Tapsell_Bookzone | Feb 14, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 675 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Max Brooksprimary authorall editionscalculated
Alda, AlanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Elias, MariaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Körber, JoachimÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keränen, HelmiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Petersen, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ramírez Tello, PilarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reiner, CarlNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reiner, RobNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rollins, HenryNarratorsecondary 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 officially 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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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.

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