Google+ If You Like Books: World War Z by Max Brooks

Thursday, January 5, 2012

World War Z by Max Brooks

If you like: conspiracy theories * zombies * interviews

World War Z is comprised of a series of interviews after the successful defeat of a zombie invasion. Though some locations or characters overlap from one interview to the next, each can be read alone. This gives the book a feeling of a short story collection more than one singular novel. This allowed me to take over a year to read it. The book itself isn't designed to terrify the reader, but the realistic scenarios and my over-active imagination led me to read World War Z infrequently.

The depiction of the spread of the zombie infection is one of the most plausible I have encountered. This is not an outbreak that occurs overnight. Instead, it begins in rural China. Then spreads through a series of cover-ups and smuggling. The lack of understanding and appreciation by the general public, as well as world governments, allows the outbreak to spread until it is almost insurmountable. Failure to understand the problem is a common theme throughout the story. Underestimating an enemy with no fears or self-preservation instincts nearly leads to the demise of the human race.

After reading this book, you will look at many modern wars or potential pandemics with different eyes. Propaganda and the spread of falsehoods to pacify the general populace seem entirely plausible. Self-motivated acts by the powerful and wealthy are not surprising either. With this in mind, it seems entirely possible that the day-to-day bureaucracy could allow a global pandemic to spread without the information or resources allocated to stop it. The zombies are not the most terrifying aspect of this story, it is the failure to asses the threat and act accordingly.

If you have ever wondered where all the bodies for Bodies: the Exhibition come from, or if you are stock-piling canned goods and weapons for the inevitable apocalypse, read World War Z.

Brooks, Max. World War Z. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2006.

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