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Synopsis

“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.


Book Reviews

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War
Average rating
4.2 / 5
Just don't expect the film
November 6th, 2015
First of all, if you are wondering what the book World War Z has in common with the Brad Pitt movie; that would be two things: (1) the name (2) there is zombies in it. I suppose World War Z uses the literary equivalent of the “found footage” stratagem so common in horror movies. The book is composed of several interviews made with survivors after the catastrophe. In structure, it reminded me of Hiroshima, by John Hersey, with interviews of survivors that showed the aftermath of the American nuclear attack on Japan at the end of World War II. This structure helps build a more realistic atmosphere of the zombie infestation, especially in a genre that usually revolves around small groups of survivors. The interviewees may be common people lost in a situation that ran out of control, or the ex-president of the United States and Chinese generals; all playing the blame game. The CIA chief even says the wrongdoer was “the administration that started the Iraqi war”. In the book, the zombie epidemic starts in China, close to Three Gorges Dam. The Chinese government hesitates to divulge information to the population fearing social instability, and tries to contain the disease with an iron fist, sending elite troops to “clean” zones suspected of infection. As far as zombie lore goes, these are the classic slow-moving Romero types. Infection is also not immediate, taking days or weeks to the disease to sink in. The perfect kind to widespread infection across the globe. World War Z is a zombie book with – brace yourself for the joke – brains. Other than the fantasy of a zombie apocalypse, the book criticizes our too real world in topics such as bureaucracy, how unprepared the authorities are against the threat of real pandemics, such as the avian flu, and generals more interested in looking good on TV than help the population. My favorite is a pharmaceutical mogul that became rich on the last days before social breakdown selling a placebo miracle cure to the desperate population. Enough to build himself a self-sustaining stronghold on the Arctic. Being Brazilian, I got a few chuckles at how the author Max Brooks imagines the country. The fictional author goes up the Amazon river to a village where the natives build huts up in the trees, like ewoks rather than Indians. And there he finds a crazy former doctor from Rio that sounds like a stand-in for Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now!. Another nice cliché of “Gringo Brazil” is the widespread organ black market than apparently happens here. The book does not do worse than the usual Hollywood treatment, though.
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1 review
Fantastic read
September 20th, 2015
The progression of events and the reaction of the various cultures and people all seem so.plausible against this fictitious backdrop. A fantastic read, and have recommended over and over again.
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1 review
Excellent Read!
May 28th, 2015
I've read this five times now and will read it again, unlike the horrible movie that shares only a name.
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1 review
Interesting approach
January 12th, 2015
Personally, I liked how thbook was written in an interview style of different people with their own problems and perspective. It is able to throw a new light onto the whole zombie apocalypse theme.
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1 review
Thrilling!
November 13th, 2014
Don't let the movie fool you, "World War Z" is an incredible and masterfully-woven story. A series of shorts telling the stories of different characters that are all woven together to tell the story of the zombie outbreak, panic, and how it is eventually overcome. Absolutely incredible.
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1 review
A Case study in disaster
November 5th, 2014
What would happen if a plague tore through earth and billions of people died? The fact that they happen to rise from the dead does make things worse, but even if they stayed dead, how would the world react? World War Z provides an excellent, and believable, account of how this might just come to pass.
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1 review
This is not a zombie book
October 31st, 2014
This is a book about sociology and psychology. This is a book about what people would do in extreme situations and what they do is fascinating. Zombies are secondary.
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1 review
World War Z
August 24th, 2014
Most intelligent zombie novel ever written Disregard the movie.
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1 review
World war z
August 11th, 2014
It was a very good read
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1 review
Good read....
July 13th, 2014
The movie would have been so much better if it had followed the format of the book.
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1 review
Great read
May 31st, 2014
I really liked it.
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1 review
World War Z
April 5th, 2014
Couldn't put it down! If you've seen the movie dont judge the book based on that! Excellent
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1 review
Entertaining and thrilling
March 3rd, 2014
Perhaps the zombie topic is over used in media, but this book makes it fresher and gives a new lookout into it. It's a choral story, no main characters, just stories with a common theme, like Martian Chronicles. This is the story of humanity fighting the biggest zombie crisis ever and how it survives it. So it's good stuff.
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1 review
A simple fun read
January 17th, 2014
Just that, simple and fun. Not a whole lot of thought required but if you do actually think about what your reading your mind can really wander into the "what if"...
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1 review
realistic
December 30th, 2013
a good read. pretty realistic for something that is so unrealistic. love that this book goes beyond just the outbreak
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1 review
A must read!
December 23rd, 2013
Amazing read, took me a while but well worth the time it took.
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1 review
Powerful
December 20th, 2013
Yes, it's a zombie book, but it's not about the horrors of the undead, though they certainly play a large part! Instead, it's more about people and how, in humanity's current state, things might go in the event of any apocalyptic event. And that's pretty scary in itself.
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1 review
World War Z
December 9th, 2013
Much better than the movie.
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1 review
1 of 2 people found this helpful
World War z
November 21st, 2013
Great book, shows the true human spirit when faced with the ultimate goal of survival...
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2 reviews
World War z
November 21st, 2013
Great book, shows the true human spirit when faced with the ultimate goal of survival...
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2 reviews
Don't bother reading this book!
October 26th, 2013
I had a really hard time reading this book. Hardly entertaining and had to convince myself it was worth finishing it. Hardly! If you watch the movie that the only thing that remains the same is the title and that it is about a zombie apocalypse. Other than that there is nothing similar between he two. I really enjoyed the movie! Don't bother reading this book unless it's the only book left after the zombie war.
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1 review
Its ok
October 2nd, 2013
Would be better if it wasn't In interview format the whole book
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1 review
3.5
August 27th, 2013
I would prefer to rate it 3.5 but I don't have that option ... a decent read but not as good as I hoped.
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1 review
pretty good
August 16th, 2013
Good book. some of the stories I wanted more. but good read.
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1 review
Not your typical zombie book
August 11th, 2013
I was pleasantly surprised, I had seen the movie and was worked about it spoiling the book, if anything it wonderfully complemented it - told you everything you wanted to know after seeing the movie! The author's literary style is so interesting! I loved it! Could barely put it down!
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1 review
Take the chance, it's worth it.
July 19th, 2013
This book calls to question not only the obvious "how would I survive a mass extinction?" But also, why does our species deserve to survive? The logical sequencing of individual to international response is a microscope on humanity. Great read for the summer.
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1 review
Brilliant
July 14th, 2013
So intelligently written that I often forgot I was reading fiction.
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1 review
A zombie novel with heart
June 28th, 2013
Easily one of the best, if not the best, zombie novel I have ever read. Brooks does a masterful job of matching the expected blood and gore of traditional zombie stories with truly insightful opinions of human responses to a catastrophe. The book also has tons of cool facts and notes mixed in throughout. I only wish we were able to become more attached to the main character because they really had the power to teach us something at the end of this epic. Loved it.
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1 review
Great book!
June 21st, 2013
Couldn't put it down. Some aspects are questionable but this was a great, great book
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1 review
Interesting book
June 19th, 2013
Very good overview of the Z War!
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1 review
Not what I expected...in a good way
June 19th, 2013
I have the other max brooks book, and liked is writing style which carries over here. The historical perspective from the multiple angles was really well done.
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1 review
Awesome
June 18th, 2013
Very good recommended to me and did not disappoint
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1 review
WWZ
June 16th, 2013
Great book, told from a uniquely matter-of-fact perspective.
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1 review
Garbage
May 19th, 2013
Ponderous to the point of being unreadable. As a long time zombie fan, I was looking forward to reading this book; now, I can't even put into words how disappointed I am with it. Obviously, the book's success is due only to all the current hype about all things zombie.
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1 review
Fun and well written.
May 19th, 2013
I loved the narrator's voice, or style. It was a report, so there had to be certain amount of consistent voice, yet all of the stories shines through wonderfully.
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1 review
Just finished
May 16th, 2013
Amazing book. I haven't read anything like it before. I couldn't stop reading it. Great book. I Highly recommended.
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1 review
Bueno
May 12th, 2013
De los que son difíciles de dejar a un lado.
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1 review
Exciting story of survival
April 26th, 2013
Very fast read, loved the excitement of surviving the zombie apocalypse. To bad the movie is not like the book at all. Disappointed in the makers of the movie cashing in on the reputation of the book
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1 review
Holy
April 13th, 2013
This was amazing thats all I can say.
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1 review
So good....
April 6th, 2013
reads like a 100 short stories of how the zombie apocalypse would go down, if it ever did go down...way 2 much time was spent analyzing the cultural & worldwide effect of an uncontrollable virus on various populations ...Thank You!!!
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1 review
World War Z
March 17th, 2013
An imaginative and journalistic account of the Zombie War... Can't wait for the movie!
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1 review
Good Read
March 17th, 2013
I was sad when I was finished reading this book because I wanted more!
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1 review
!
February 11th, 2013
Can't wait to see the movie
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1 review
Didn't Really Work
February 11th, 2013
This is the story of the zombie apocalypse, as told by the survivors. It is a collection of interviews with people that lived through the war. Sadly this unusual approach just doesn't work. You never get a chance to identify with any of the characters and the text reads like a boring history book. There's no excitement, limited tension and the people being interviewed are immediately forgettable.
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1 review
World war awesome
January 18th, 2013
Loved it, wish it was longer. Great, episodic approach to telling the story. Even though the episodes were often short, I really got into the characters plight. This was a story about people, not zombies. Great book.
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1 review

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