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World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War | [Max Brooks]

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

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 30 million souls, to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet.
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Publisher's 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 30 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 12-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.

Note: Some of the numerical and factual material contained in this edition was previously published under the auspices of the United Nations Postwar Commission.

©2006 Max Brooks; (P)2006 Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • Winner of Audio Publishers Association 2007 Audie Award, Multi-Voiced Performance
  • Audie Award Finalist, Audiobook of the Year, 2007

"Hard to put down." (Publishers Weekly)
"A literate, ironic, strangely tasty treat." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Horror fans won't be disappointed: like George Romero's Dead trilogy, World War Z is another milestone in the zombie mythos." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (5966 )
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  •  
    Mike and Heather 05-06-11

    The reviews are by Mike.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Probably my favourite audiobook so far"

    This is a wonderful piece! The writing is great, the narration is fantastic. I could barely turn it off.

    I'm a fantasy/SF audio book fan. Although this one is a Zombie/horror book, it aims more toward a general audience than the typical genre piece. Doesn't go for cheap gross-out or suspense, which I wouldn't like.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam Sydney, Australia 03-29-11
    Sam Sydney, Australia 03-29-11 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    35
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    "Dull"

    I was fairly gripped by the book. Although by no means great writing and too long, there were enough good ideas on the page to carry through a clever premise. This audio production however is very poor. The style of writing cannot withstand being read out, and the cast taken as a whole, including great actors, come across as flat, overly cynical, bored and uncompelling... which is a great shame.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher D Crook 03-19-11 Member Since 2015
    ratings
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    5
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    Overall
    "Leans left then falls over."

    I did love the first couple hours before it got too political. I liked some of the story and Mr. Brooks style of writing. This book was obviously meant for an international audience. The book leans left while having a random splattering of class warfare and a veneration of the "collective". I really wish there was more philosophical balance. A good zombie book for anyone who agrees with or can ignore the liberal philosophy of the author.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan RICHMOND, CA, United States 02-14-11
    Jonathan RICHMOND, CA, United States 02-14-11 Member Since 2014

    fan_blades

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Pretty good, but the format is not for me."

    I love zombie movies. That being said, I went into this book knowing next to nothing about it's contents except a vague notion of a world at war fighting zombies.

    The book was well written, the audio was well acted, and the story in general was actually pretty good. I just did not enjoy the format of the book, in which it's basically a collection of short stories. (Although, some characters are revisited for additional chapters.) In retrospect it makes a lot of sense because it succeeds in giving the impression that it's happening on a global scale. To the author's credit, this is something many movies fail to do. It's just not something that works well with a visual medium.

    After reading this book I've discovered just how much I enjoy a single narrative that follows a single (or very few) characters.

    If I enjoyed this style of storytelling it would have been 5/5. Instead it gets a 4/5 from me personally.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darcy J Thomas 01-20-11
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    7
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    "The reason I love Audio Books"

    This is read by an amazing cast, I heard it first on a road trip. I was riveted and had to hear the rest of it, in the hotel and then I had to hear it again on the drive back. I had never listened to an audio book that I liked. The characters are strong and well portrayed, the actors are amazing. The reading done by a full cast is now what I look for in audio books, I have listened to this over and over. It is written as a history book, and worth the read if you get the chance, but I still come back to the audio.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    a pelham, NY, United States 01-10-11
    a pelham, NY, United States 01-10-11 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "shouldn't have been abridged!"

    WWZ is definitely the scariest book i've ever read. listening to it was disappointing only in that i knew what was being cut out. the narrators were fabulous. thinking about the 'redeker' segment is giving me chills as i write this. to the reviewers who think this book was too political: no politicians were named. if a worldwide pandemic were to occur, however, zombies or not, i guarantee the response would be very political and politics would cramp the logical response. that's the only political agenda being put forth here.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph Portsmouth, NH, United States 12-14-10
    Joseph Portsmouth, NH, United States 12-14-10 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Short but greatly executed concept!"

    While the zombie genre works, such as AMCs The Walking Dead, usually follows one group of people this lets you see moral decisions and various trials of different people and nations through out the world. As a history buff this is something that I don't believe is explored enough in the zombie genre. I do understand the two complaints of the short length and subject matter of the book thinking its to politically driven.

    While it is short, the books set up of being a collection of interviews allows the various performances of the voice actors to make this the best audiobook I have ever heard and you feel that you are actually getting something special when listening, instead of feeling that you are simply listening to someone reading you a book. I can see how this won an award as an audio work. Though, obviously it would have been better if you had more of the interviews. I haven't read the book so I can't speak to what's left out but if it's as good as what's here then you are missing out.

    As a lover of detail I could have gone for having access to the fictional report that is full of nothing but "cold hard facts" on everything about the outbreak. Perhaps Brooks will go Tolkein style and create a samarillion type book that is full of all that.

    In regard to the complaint that it is to politically driven, I found the argument pretty weak. I assume the people who think this are overly sensitive Bush fan/warhawks but I had trouble seeing this book as an indictment on him personally at all. It seemed to show more commentary on how different forms of governments may tackle decisions and that there are winners and losers in history and the effects that mistakes/decisions made by leaders can have. In my opinion, looking at how the events could change the world's nations and hypothetical thoughts and how they would react is the best aspect of this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew Bozeman, MT, United States 12-03-10
    Matthew Bozeman, MT, United States 12-03-10
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    "Interesting concept"

    An interesting and enjoyable concept, but I wish it was unabridged. The abridged version seemed choppy at times.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wilfredo Queen Creek, AZ, United States 10-19-10
    Wilfredo Queen Creek, AZ, United States 10-19-10 Member Since 2011
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    "I so wanted to love this"

    I love zombie apocalypse fiction, so why didn’t I enjoy this book? It’s because the book is comprised of a bunch of interviews with people who encountered the zombies. Throw character development out of the window because there isn’t any. Some stories (interviews) held my attention a little while others were, well… lame. Another thing, these are the slow shambling zombies that don’t run, jump, or open doors; so why is the world getting their butts handed to them by these things. It would seem like a blind man could take these things out. In fact, there is one story about a blind man fighting the zombies. By the way, flying an Apache helicopter at a dive angle low to the ground to cut off the heads of zombies isn’t going to happen. The blades would shred to pieces; just throwing that out there. So many friends recommended this book to me (when I say many, I mean like 3) and I can’t figure out why. Sorry if I offended anyone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Damien Farmington, UT, United States 10-18-10
    Damien Farmington, UT, United States 10-18-10 Member Since 2012
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    "Awsome book, shame it's only available abridged."

    I can't stand that they don't have an unabridged version of this book. I held off buying it forever but I keep hearing how good it is so I broke down and bought it.

    This is easily one of my favorite books though, I will definatley listen to it several times.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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