Read This!: World War Z

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War
By Max Brooks

Maybe I should list this as a “Hear This!” because I bought this as an audiobook.  You can judge for yourself.

Written by Max Brooks, author of previous best-seller The Zombie Survival Guide, World War Z takes place years after a world-wide zombie apocalypse, as told through interviews with several characters who were there to witness the carnage first hand.  These interviews are both insightful and entertaining, offering a rather real world explanation of a fantastical event.  Brooks covers the challenges a world would face in this situation, and he tackles them in a practical matter.  Problems such as fighting an army that can replenish itself with its kills, solidifying government, and survival in its most basic form are covered.

These interviews tell the story of the war in a fashion that’s both entertaining and more than a little creepy.  We meet many characters whose own personal stories play into the greater story in ways both big and small.  A few of them, like the South African who came up with the plan that would eventually save his country, will leave you cringing with their tales.

The cast for this audio book is an incredible one.  Featuring actors as Alan Alda, Carl Reiner, Rob Reiner, Eammon Walker, and Henry Rollins, the talent is more than capable of breathing life into the material.  Alda is especially powerful, but then again, he usually is.

If there’s fault with World War Z, it’s that-aside from its oral history structure-it’s just another zombie story.  We’re not with any of the characters long enough to grow attached to them.  It’s an academic work, not a narrative one.  It could have been released as a short story collection with little to no change.  Still, there’s more good than bad, here.

Recommendation: Moderate.  Brooks is the golden child of popular zombie books (Brad PItt has already snagged the film rights to this one), so shouldn’t you be reading him, too?