"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.
The srory consists of a series of interviews with key characters who survived the World War Z. The characters are from all countries and different phases of the war. The 'interviews' are frighteningly believable and take us on a journey of mass destruction and breakdown of society. An excellent story.
The very begging of the book and the early description of the war were interesting. It covered individuals, countries, and explained how the virus spread and how people helped the curse to become global. Well, this was it! The rest of the book just described other individuals, their encounters, little survivor's stories and nothing that I would prefer to hear about the war.
This is likely caused by the Walking Dead series and other similar zombie related films/books.
If you are anything like me, then I do not recommend to read this book. The movie will do just fine.
I would be willing to try another book from Max Brooks. However, will spend more time going through the reviews and see if other readers with similar preferences recommend a book.
If it was not for the narrators, most likely the book will never be read until the end. The narrators did a wonderful work.
I read this book because of the latest movie "World War Z" starring Bred Pitt. I liked the movie.
It was a pretty good book to listen to. Interesting story/stories, and a few different narrators - which is a first for me. I will listen to it again.
There was a "ooh" moment half way through - don't want to say too much in case it gives something away, but it was a good little surprise.
For the most part the narrators's performances were pretty good - except when they were supposed to be chinese/Japanese/Russian - and they all sounded half German....
This book has already been made into a film - and let me tell you IT IS NOTHING LIKE THE MOVIE!!!!!!! I think two lines from the book were used in the movie and that was it....
The portrayal of the different characters was so good, they all had correct accents and emotions. This definitely added a lot to the book.
All of it.
This book is amazing, the whole story is so well researched and in depth. I would recommend this to anyone who likes intelligent and captivating books. The audio for this book just added that extra something to the story, each voice was perfectly suited to its character. I will definitely listen to this again some time.
How this author took a done to death concept, mixed it up, and made it fresh & exciting I will never know. There is a reason they made a movie about this with one of the most popular actors on the planet in the lead - A BIG REASON! But good news if you have seen the movie there is lots more they did not film in here for you to listen to. Enjoy!
Lover of sci-fi and the occasional horror story. Philosophical inclinations. English is my second language.
The author make use of several different styles of writing to convey a complex history of a global catastrophe. I found the global angle particularly compelling; the zombie threat not only shows how societies hang together, but also how they differ and consequently respond to the situation in different ways. The author compellingly uses the zombie theme to implicitly ask some disquieting questions about class, justice and the economy. For me, it was this political and philosophical dimension that made the novel stand out from other more action-oriented zombie-themed narratives. That is not to say that World War Z does not have its share of action and suspense - two important reasons why I choose this kind of book to begin with.
There are several interesting and thought-provoking subplots. Admittedly, some are a bit cheesy, such as one involving traditional Japanese martial arts. I did nevertheless find most of them nicely sculptured. I was particularly intrigued by the story about the Russian army using guilt to whip a generation of soldiers into obedience. Such episodes, which situates the narrative in a long-standign discussion over human nature, strangely lends credence to the surreal narrative and almost make it feel anchored in history.
"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.
"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.
"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!
"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.
"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.
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.
"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!
"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.
"A Disappointment For The Unobservant"
Okay, before I get to the main body of the review, the onus lies with me. I'm disappointed with this because I didn't look closely enough at the product description. I expected to get the abridged version, narrated by Max Brooks and a cast of great actors, since Google told me that was the only version available. I chose to get it from Audible because that's where I get my audiobooks on subscription. Now I wish I'd forked out the few extra quid for the proper version from elsewhere...
Because this sounds like a cheap, knock-off copy. The sound quality is okay but the voice acting and linking narrative are terribly wooden! The accents are terrible and the whole thing seems as though a bunch of students recorded it as part of their Audio Tech degree.
All the drama and emotion is sucked from the tales of fear and confusion because this version is obviously being READ OUT rather than ACTED (as the abridged version is). In short, this one is not half as good or gripping as the old version. Sure, the story is there, and in full! But I'd rather sacrifice the less relevant or important sections of the story and get a real, dramatic take on the story rather than 14hrs of some blokes doing frankly offensive foreign accents.
Since the source material is so good (and all here) it's getting three stars, but I wouldn't recommend anyone get this. Spend the extra cash - of you love the story so much - and get the real deal.
I'm disappointed in this purchase. But since it's the only version available on Audible (and the only one available according to Google is the original, Brooks-narrated version) I thought nothing of checking the cast list. You've been warned - there is a MUCH better version out there, for not too much money, but you won't get it here... Look elsewhere.
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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