World War Z by Max Brooks – Review (Book)

WWZ Cover

I remember seeing World War Z in a bookshop a while back and thinking it looked quite cool. Since then several people have recommended it and a friend offered me his copy, which I gladly accepted.

Max Brooks paints us a world where a Zombie virus struck and almost annihilated mankind.

What’s really interesting about this book though is that it’s set 10 years after the outbreak, with some cases still being reported, and the story is told almost in a documentary style through a set of ‘talking heads.’

We get to see the ‘war’ unfold through the eyes of many, via their individual stories.

WWZ1

Concept Art by Dan LuVisis

Civilians, US army, Chinese army, various government advisors – all get a say in what happened. Who do they blame? What really happened?

This is a worldwide war and Brooks does a great job of making sure World War Z isn’t too US centric. It’s nice to see a lot of other countries featured and Brooks himself admitted he wanted to “…maybe give my fellow Americans a window into the political and cultural workings of other nations.” (eatmybrains.com interview)

The ‘interviews’ are so realistic in tone and each one so different in characterisation that it’s a real feat of writing that makes you believe you’re reading about something that actually happened.

There are a few mentions of familiar things (Starbucks/Iron Maiden etc) to keep one foot in reality but it’s the stories that really make this book.

The tales of despair, hope and denial flow and some of the reactions from people, particularily in government positions leave a lot to be desired – but fundamentally (and quite disappointingly) those reactions are how I imagine most governments would react when faced with that threat.

There are plenty of things in World War Z that you can point to as a ‘social commentary’ on various matters and while that is certainly interesting I preferred to just read it and enjoy the stories.

I couldn’t put this down once I’d started it and it is an amazing read – even if you’re not into the whole Zombie thing.

Rating: 9/10

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