August 1, 2018

Book Review: World War Z by Max Brooks


World War Z

by Max Brooks

Genres: Horror, Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic, Zombie
Publisher: Crown
Length: 342 pages
Published: September 12, 2006
Purchase Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Audible

My Goodreads Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Official Book Summary:

"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"?'"



Quote: 

“Lies are neither bad nor good. Like a fire they can either keep you warm or burn you to death, depending on how they're used.”  

Excerpt: (from Chapter One)

"Greater Chongquing, The United Federation of China

[At its prewar height, this region boasted a population of over thirty-five million people. Now, there are barely fifty thousand. Reconstruction funds have been slow to arrive in this part of the country, the government choosing to concentrate on the more densely populated coast. There is no central power grid, no running water besides the Yangtze River. But the streets are clear of rubble and the local 'security council' has prevented any postwar outbreaks. The chairman of that council is Kwang Jingshu, a medical doctor who, despite his advanced age and wartime injuries, still manages to make house calls to all his patients.]

The first outbreak I saw was in a remote village that officially has no name. The residents called it 'New Dachang,' but this was more out of nostalgia than anything else. Their former home, 'Old Dachang,' had stood since the period of the Three Kingdoms, with farms and houses and even trees said to be centuries old. When the Three Gorges Dam was completed, and reservoir waters began to rise, much of Dachang had been dissassembled, brick by brick, then rebuilt on higher ground. This New Dachang, however, was not a town anymore, but a 'national historic museum.' It must have been a heartbreaking irony for those poor peasants, to see their town saved but then only being able to visit it as a tourist. Maybe that is why some of them chose to name their newly constructed hamlet 'New Dachang' to preserve some connection to their heritage, even if it was only in name. I personally didn't know that this other New Dachang existed, so you can imagine how confused I was when the call came in."


My Book Review: 

Gory, redundant, and a lot of cursing. While I really like the concept of a fictional, worldwide journalistic endeavor and the author created an interesting blend of voices, zombie literature is just not my thing. If you want something haunting and full of post-apocalyptic despair, read The Road by Cormac McCarthy instead.


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