World War Z by Max Brooks

Read: 14 June, 2012

I’ve been reading a lot of zombie stuff recently, so I picked up World War Z after a YouTuber (I think it was Hank Green?) made a comment about being really freaked out by the book. So, knowing absolutely nothing else about the book, I decided to check it out from the library. The result was that I went on vacation with three books in my bag, two about zombies (Rise of the Governor and World War Z) and one about bunnies (Watership Down, which my dear gentleman friend has decided to read). Only slightly embarrassing.

All zombie stories that I’ve read/watched to date have followed the Rise of the Governor model: Small group of people are hit by the zombie apocalypse, and the story follows their efforts to survive. From the subtitle of WWZ (“An oral history of the zombie war”), I assumed that it would follow the same general format from the perspective of a character narrating her/his survival story from some point in the future.

That’s not what WWZ is about at all.

Rather, WWZ is presented as the “human stories” behind a report written by the United Nations Postwar Commission. These are presented in a collection of first person accounts, written by a wide variety of people from all over the world, offering a global perspective of the zombie apocalypse.

Because each POV character gets only a couple pages, the reader doesn’t have the chance to bond with them. This directs the focus more towards a sense of shared humanity that, in some ways, made the tales even more emotionally powerful.

I really can’t stop raving about WWZ. It was alien yet relatable, entertaining yet thought-provoking, horrifying yet uplifting. This isn’t just an excellent zombie book, it’s an excellent book, period. I ended up buying a copy as soon as I got back from vacation, and I highly recommend that you do the same!

Learn how to survive the zombie apocalypse and support this blog in one fell swoop! Buy World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War from Amazon today!

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