"The end was near." Voices from the Zombie War.
The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched firsthand 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.
©2012 Max Brooks (P)2012 Audible Ltd
Fans waited for an unabridged version of the audiobook with bated breath... and it's been a bit of a letdown. For a book that seems tailor-made for the aural medium - it is a spoken word history of the titular war after all - the performances were uneven, some of them particularly weak, and some of the accents were absolutely terrible. Given the care and thought that went into the original abridged celebrity-laden audio book - not even legally available in some countries - it's a pity that the same attention wasn't given to this unabridged version. There are countless audiobook performers who, although not stars like Alan Alda, Henry Rollins etc, could have done very good jobs with these stories and characters. I would recommend this version for hardcore fans only.
It wasn't until I'd seen the film and read the reviews of how much it deviated from the original novel that I decided to take the plunge. If you're looking for a 'kicking zombie ass' post-apocalyptic action thriller, don't buy this.
If, on the other hand, you're interested in just how craftily speculative fiction can be employed to critique modern society, this is a masterpiece.
World War Z felt realistic as much as a fictional world with zombie in it can be. After reading the Zombie Survival Guide, these short stories really captured the urgency and seriousness of a wide spread plague epidemic rather than a gung-ho kid's wet dream. Don't get me wrong those are fun but the seriousness and tragedy of these stories made me care about these people.
Its format was really enjoyable and I can listen to any part just by itself. Since it is mostly made up of short stories, I can just play back the story I was listening to or just let it finish and start a new chunk.
The accents. It made the apocalypse feel like it just wasn't isolated in America. I have no idea how accurate they were but it was great listening to these fictional people recount their stories from different countries.
Haven't finished it yet but I really liked the smuggler, spy, little girl and soldier short stories.
I work in IT, I love reading, I love Writing and for those daily travels too and fro I love to listen to Audible books too
I have not read the print version but this book is tailor made for an audible book
The cast of voices, the stories that they told were very believable
Zombies are doomed, by land, sea, air or space, we will get them
I was surprised by how better this was than I had expected. I loved the way we traveled the world listening to the stories of the survivors and the fighters. How the author turned a phrase or a nickname for a Zombie or a weapon was clever and well thought out.
Enjoy this, I have not seen the movie yet but would be surprised if both are the same somehow to me that is not a discouragement for either.
Variance, interesting, involved
I would like I know what I could compare this to so that I could find more like it. It is essentially the typical zombie story, but told to an amazing depth because it is told from so many more perspectives. It is a wonderfully unique entrance point.
The Japanese researcher, I can't remember who played him. That was a really interesting one. Even though the accent wasn't really that Japanese sounding, it was performed very well emotion wise
There was a point where one smuggler is asked a a question about his own unethical behaviour during the first stages of the zombie war and his response is quite amusing.
This book I awesome and made so much better as an audiobook. I got my subscription here JUST to get this book, so do indeed try it out.
The movie was like a Zombie version of this beautiful book. Lifeless.
The Audible version is especially well done. One of the best Audio Books around. Please go ahead and listen to this book.
With respect for Max Brooks,
PS: Not a paid review. Just a genuinely happy reader/listener :)
Even if you don't care for a zombie novel, this is just a great book - full of interesting ideas, social commentary and wonderful stories. Some of the individual accounts have stuck with me in a way that I wasn't expecting. The narration was very absorbing and added a level of realism, even if the accents weren't always spot on. Thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook!
For entertainment, it was. But it is not a great book, it is a ok book. Some of the characters are very stereotypical or mono dimensional. There is very little surprise in the book and there is very little foundation of why the zombie plague succeeded to spread. Most of it relies on the fact that people are under prepared.
The diversity of situations is very interesting. Some of the stories are actually very good and plausible. Also, the criticism to some aspects of international and local politics are valid in my opinion.
Good not amazing
It would be interesting if it was made in a documentary format. Stars? no idea. This movie would be better done with local actors of different countries than with famous ones.
If you are looking for a thriller, this book is not for you. This book explores cultural differences and their flaws into deal with big crisis. In my point of view, it is a good snapshot of the world as it is right now, disguised inside a zombie outbreak.
"Good old fashioned gory fun"
Max Brooks has attempted something really ambitious with World War Z - a zombie story told on a global scale.
He's really given a lot of thought to how a zombie plague would affect every aspect of life on Earth, political, social, military, environmental etc.
The story is told via a series of anecdotes from survivors of the War, the narration is for the most part pretty good, some is excellent, the American voices are more convincing than those that use accents.
There are some pretty clunky national stereotypes and some far-fetched scenarios, (as if a zombie plague wasn't far-fetched enough) and possibly a little too much gore in places. Having said that this is a very entertaining listen and a brilliant achievement on the part of the writer.
"Great book however...."
Ok so I have heard the abridged version that was done a while ago and this new version but I have to admit that the voice acting is 10x better in the old version than this one. I mean the japanese, german, or even american accents sound shocking!!!
I have no idea what has happened in the making of this audiobook but please redo the foreign bits (outside UK) with actors that don't make jap voices sound almost german????
My opinion is stick with the original 2007 version it has more of what this book deserves rather than this one.
Once you get used to the documentry style of this book its not a bad listen. Some accounts are more interesting than others but overall I found it enjoyable.
"Best zombie story I have read. :)"
I do not like zombie stories as I do not believe in possibility of zombies, at least not as living dead. But I like this story from the social and military and also people's personal point of view. How people would react on any such problems and what kind of solutions you could use and how they would have to cope and what might happen to nature. Also the insight on how and why our infrastructures are or are not weak on any such cases of global issues. Even the part on astronauts was very well thought through, how they had to cope in space. It was not just a zombie attack story, it was much more. So I have to give a maximum result to this book.
"Intresting, Original and Exciting!"
World War Z By Max Brooks. (May contain mild spoilers)
This book was a thoroughly enjoyable listen. The story has an intresting take on the Zombie apocaplyse and is told through a series of interviews, each chapter followng different character and a different set of experiences. The interview style of World War Z is part of the charm of this audiobook, i did not find myself listening to the same narrator for very long, this helped keep the excitement and momentum going as well as the my focus.
This story also bring some instresting ideas (how humanity deals with Zombie invasion) that i have not seen before... although i am releatively new to the genre!! however here lies my only criticism some of the ideas Max Brooks brings into this story i feel are rather far fetched and possibly unrealistic... but then this is a zombie, fantasy book.
Anyway thoroughly enjoyable book, i highly recommed!
"Totally absorbing story..."
... which bears no resemblance to the (pretty mediocre) film.
I've never read zombie fiction before, so wasn't sure what to expect. This book kept me totally engaged in the story all the way through. It almost felt real in the way the individuals' stories were presented, and I found myself reacting out loud at key points - thank goodness I was in the car and not in public!
I took a star off for the narration. Although it was still very good indeed, some of the characterisations were less absorbing than others, and as others have said elsewhere, the non-English speaker accents didn't always hit the mark. I'd love to now find the alternative recording, which although abridged, seems to get better ratings on the performance side unsurprisingly with some of the stellar cast.
But the story is the real star here, and I really enjoyed being made to think about what would happen from so many different perspectives, and how much the world changed. It was so absorbing that when I finally finished it, I actually hit replay to start listening all over again.
Suspend belief, and strap yourself in for a really entertaining listen. Highly recommended.
"Even for a Z fan .."
.. this is a wonderful experience. The audio book must be the best way to access this fascinating story - stories, in fact, as the account of the "real" war Zombies vs the Earth is told through post-war interview, with those who survived. The harrowing accounts are well-told and all-involving, from old and young, all over the world. Be prepared (a Zombie fan's mantra) to learn about survivalism, military tactics, despair, desperation, determination and human resilience. It's all in there.
This book is simply the most clever and thought out zombie book ever written. The research into the social economics and politics of each country mentioned within is simply sublime. It throws a whole new spin on the zombie apocalypse and is written with brilliance and consideration.
You feel and empathise with each of the characters interviewed and you are genuinely sad when the book comes to an end. Best zombie read ever
"Why didn't I listen to this sooner?"
I've had the book of World War Z on my shelf for ages! I was determined to read it before I sat down to watch the film but just never have the time! Sound familiar?
I tried the version of the audiobook which I already had and I was hooked instantly! When I tried to locate my position in the physical book, I realised I had an abridged audiobook. I thought to myself, I need to hear every last word of this - so I signed up with Audible and grabbed the unabridged version.
I was completely surprised as I had preconceptions that the book (regardless of the film) was somehow a comedy?! I can't believe how detailed and thought out the story is. It takes the form of a series of retrospective interviews with survivors of a war that almost wiped out humanity and I have to say I was completely sold. It's almost as if Brooks knows something that I don't!
I've read mixed reviews of it on the site, but I would definitely recommend it to people who want an intriguing listen! It's a gripping, tense and sometimes humorous (not very often though) story. All the different voice actors also give a brilliant depth and add to the feeling of realism. My only very minor criticism would be the voicing of the Englishman midway through the story - we don't all talk like that!
Really enjoyed the listen and think it might inspire me to listen to more zombie fiction - and I never thought I would say that!
This is not the new movie tie-in edition which supplements the previously abridged full cast recording with new material from previously unrecorded chapters by the talents of Simon Pegg, Frank Darabont, Martin Scorcese etc. I felt really tricked when I paid for this. Hang on for the full edition with people who give actual performances, rather than the droning automatons who ENUN-CI-ATE every damn syllable in this version. A soulless cash-in.
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