Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Book Shelf: World War Z by Max Brooks

This is a wonderfully written book that looks at the possibility of a Zombie outbreak through a completely different lens. Unlike most books that focus on a single individual or group and their struggles throughout the outbreak this wonderful book is presented as a series of loosely interconnected survivor stories. 

It's an incredibly well written book that only fails in two survival stories (about 15 pgs total). That's a pretty impressive considering that Max Brooks makes some daring choices throughout his narrative that will have you on the edge of your seat far more than you would ever have thought possible in a book filled with stories from survivors.

I should caution you that if you've watched that terrible movie Brad Pitt starred in that this book is nothing like that awful mess. This book is an outstanding read that feels more like reading World War II eye witness stories than anything else. Definitely worth reading.

Five LARPers out of five.


  1. Oh man, I'm the exact opposite of you on this one Charles. I hated the book, enjoyed the movie. That book just totally wore me out to read. He has a tendency to prattle on and you're not terribly sure if what he's babbling about will have any impact on the story. The movie, on the other hand, was fun. Nothing great, but I enjoyed it.

  2. There is an audio-book version of World War Z that is pretty darned good, I don't usually go for them but tit worked great for me given the style of World War Z.

    The movie was okay but had virtually nothing to do with the book it bought the title of.

  3. World War Z is my favorite piece of zombie literature ever. The movie is actually pretty decent if you pretend it isn't even REMOTELY related to the book (because it's not, save from the title. I will never understand that.)

  4. Eish, ja, the movie was just utterly abysmal. Worse, it missed the whole point of the book.

    The book is a great example of (pseudo)social history — it's not any one man who changes the course of history (although there *are* great men who make an impact), it's the many individuals on the ground, contributing to a whole. Each in their own way. Walking, almost literally shoulder to shoulder, all the way across a continent.

    And then they take that, and throw Brad Pitt in, and he's the *only* one who can put all the pieces together. Even after the great expert shoots himself in the head. And the Israelis, who've made it work until he gets there, get eaten. And the medical experts can't make it happen until he's there to show them the way. And he shows them the magic bullet that alleviates all the hard work by potentially martyring himself, as a pseudo-Christ figure.

    And, of course, it missed Yonkers, which was one of the great takedowns of the modern US military and its recent record.

    By the by, what were the survival stories you thought failed?

    1. The one with the girl who was feral (I think that's what they called her condition) and the Russian priest without any teeth near the end.

    2. It's been a while, and I have it in a box (just moved), so I'm going from memory:

      I thought the girl was an interesting idea. I don't know that's necessarily how a child would really grow up and survive, but I thought the way that Brooks used that idea of narrative was worthwhile. I can see the idea of it being cheesy, but I think he was trying to offer a "different" POV. If it doesn't work for you, I'd say YMMV.

      The priest at the end? Is that the same priest who was in the book earlier? The Russian Orthodox, who, it appeared, had been basically Gulag-ed? IIRC, it was a really quick page, where "Brooks" (the narrator) was asking about Russian policy, and the priest was basically like, "Dude, I'm in enough trouble as it is." Am I wrong?

    3. Yeah, that's pretty much it.


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