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Zombie Nation Survival Zombies

World War Z: An Account, Not a Guide

by Patrick Sweeney   |  November 22nd, 2011 8

World War ZWorld War Z is not a manual. It isn’t a list of useful tools, calibers, medicines, etc. It is a series of transcribed interviews of survivors of the plague.

Which means you are going to have to accept the author’s interpretation of speaking styles, perspectives and scenes. What you do get, however, is a series of scenes that are practically exercises in script-writing.

If you grew up reading in the old, pre-movie style, where the author spends pages setting the scene and describing what everyone wears, drinks, smokes and drives, this won’t be for you. But if you are attuned to the modern sensibility of “get to it” and want people in stressful situations, dealing with life and death, this will work for you.

What you won’t get is what your professor/teacher in English tried to get you to like in their choice of novels; the growth of a character over the arc of a novel.

Growth? Arc? This is a zombie apocalypse we’re talking about. Survival. Life and undead. “Growth” means surviving until tomorrow.

What I found interesting was not so much what was said or shown, but what wasn’t: the woeful unpreparedness of officialdom, and the unwillingness of most to see what was happening before their eyes.

Which, I guess, is what makes us human, and not undead. That said, opinions are pretty strong on this one. You may want to read a few pages before you plunk down your cash. If in a few pages it doesn’t click, move on. Otherwise, you’ll have fun.

  • WerkinHard

    Great book! Are you an A1 or a F6???

  • rey

    I wished the author of this review would have put at least 10% of the effort that Max Brooks put into writing his book.
    "The growth of character…" Its a zombie book for crying out loud! It supposed to be fun and it does so brilliantly. It also serves as a great "what if…." discussion tome. We easily accept the Battle of Yonkers because we have seen the same behavior in other brush wars (Grenada, Panama). We can accept the failures of the Federal Government in an emergency because we have seen them fumble before (Katrina).

    Max Brooks uses well known themes and reaches into the past in order to create a plausible scenario for an imaginary catastrophe and because he does so, he provides a decent opportunity to Monday morning quarterback before the fact. You can see what the government reaction will be and it is credible since this has been the reaction in the past. And you can take lessons learned from this scenarios because they are credible.

    We are not meant to like or dislike any particular characters, we are only supposed to be entertained by them and if we happen to use the stories as a lunching pad for a serious discussion on emergency preparedness, well that is a bonus.

  • Mike

    I've read most Zombie books on the market, and World War Z is hands down the best one in terms of storytelling and style. It also has the most realistic approach to what would likely happen if there was an outbreak. And yes, it does go into calibers, weaponry, apparel to wear when the last remanents of the government prepare for the climactic battle with the zombie hordes. Excellent reading.

  • Robert

    I work third shift at a Walmart and this book brought up something I didn't realize. If there was a zombie apocalypse I'd never notice. Maybe some of our more "colorful" characters would be a little quieter but thats about it. Just kidding. Its a great book. I really like the parts that detail how fighting the zombies turns everything about fighting the living on its head.

  • David Ramey

    I always figured zombies taking over the world was a joke. However seeing the happenings in our capitals, both at the federal and sate levels, I am beginning to believe we may have found our first stronghold of brain dead individuals. I enjoyed the book for the piece of fiction I bought it as. Its any different than the zombee rounds being offerred by Hornady. Take a breath there.

  • sdog

    WWZ is pretty awesome, i must agree with the previous posts, another one of my favorite Zombie series is "Day by Day Armageddon, the third book of the series come out in the spring.

  • Hesperus

    Eh, the weapons used and their implementation is silly by both civilian and military forces in this book. But the thing that irritates me the most is that the guy spends at least half the book singing the praises of the glorious UN. Some of the backdrops are interesting though.

  • shannon_f

    I love that book! Anyone who enjoyed World War Z should definitely check out the Zombie Survival Guide, written by the same author, Max Brooks

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