World War Z: The Complete Edition

An Oral History of the Zombie War
Length: 12 hrs and 9 mins
4.6 out of 5 stars (16,537 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Winner, Multi-Voiced Performance, 2014

World War Z: The Complete Edition (Movie Tie-in Edition): An Oral History of the Zombie War is a new version of Max Brooks' episodic zombie novel. The abridged versions of the original stories are now joined with new, unabridged recordings of the episodes that were not included in the original (abridged) version of the audiobook. These additional episodes feature a star-studded cast of narrators to coincide with the upcoming release of the film.

New narrators include Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese, Spiderman star Alfred Molina, The Walking Dead creator Frank Darabont, rapper Common, Firefly star Nathan Fillion, Shaun of the Dead's Simon Pegg, and members of the casts of Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Heroes and more! Max Brooks will be reprising his role as The Interviewer.

The original abridged edition, released in 2006, won an Audie Award for Best Multi-Voiced Performance. Original cast members include Alan Alda, Mark Hamill, Carl & Rob Reiner, and John Turturro.

In this new classic of apocalyptic fiction that feels all too real, the Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. The documentary-style oral history records 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.

Featuring five more hours of previously unrecorded content, this full-cast recording is read by F. Murray Abraham, Alan Alda, René Auberjonois, Becky Ann Baker, Dennis Boutsikaris, Bruce Boxleitner, Max Brooks, Nicki Clyne, Common, Denise Crosby, Frank Darabont, Dean Edwards, Mark Hamill, Nathan Fillion, Maz Jobrani, Frank Kamai, Michelle Kholos, John McElroy, Ade M’Cormack, Alfred Molina, Parminder Nagra, Ajay Naidu, Masi Oka, Steve Park, Kal Penn, Simon Pegg, Jürgen Prochnow, Carl Reiner, Rob Reiner, Henry Rollins, Jeri Ryan, Jay O. Sanders, Martin Scorsese, Paul Sorvino, David Ogden Stiers, Brian Tee, John Turturro, Eamonn Walker, Ric Young, and Waleed Zuaiter.

©2006 Max Brooks (P)2012 Random House

Critic Reviews

"What happens after the end of the world as we know it? Humanity rebuilds, and Kirby Impoinvil (Max Brooks) is there to help survivors make sense of what happened the day the zombies came. Helping author Brooks is a host of family friends, including Alan Alda, Nathan Fillion, Paul Sorvino, Rob Reiner, Carl Reiner, Simon Pegg, John Turturro, and many others. This audio production was released to coincide with the movie of the same name. That it’s a real drama is not surprising given the stellar cast. They don't just read the book, they act it out. And don’t think this is a teen thriller. The zombies serve as a backdrop to the larger story of how humankind reacts to such an unexpected and catastrophic invasion and the inevitable conclusion that millions must be sacrificed to save the rest. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award, 2014. Audies Finalist." (AudioFile magazine)

Featured Article: 10 Best Full Cast Audiobooks


As any audiobook fan knows, the perfect narration can take a listen from good to great. Full cast ensembles in particular are the perfect choice for those times you really want to dive headfirst into a story. A cast of narrators, sometimes accompanied by music or sound effects, craft a unique and immersive listening experience. Unique performances let listeners intimately experience each character’s personality as the story progresses. If you’re looking to liven up a long road trip or day of chores, look no further than our list of the top 10 full cast audiobooks.

What listeners say about World War Z: The Complete Edition

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Listed as unabridged when I ordered it: Not really

What you get from this book is wonderful. However, you still aren't getting everything. When I ordered the first version (orange cover) it was missing a significant part of the first eyewitness report, and missing other reports entirely. Then they introduced 2 new audiobooks, one with all the witness reports, and the other, the "Lost Tales", with just the new eyewitness reports.

However, there are still some gaps. For example, with Sinclair's testimony in the book he discusses dirigibles and a failed "Silicon Valley" method to kill the zombles. This is missing from the audiobook.

The following link explains this and other omissions. Bottom line: in the original version they left out some witnesses, and for consistency removed references to the missing witnesses' testimony from the witnesses testimonies they retained. When they made the above edition, they kept the previous recordings and added recordings for the new witnesses, but didn't put back the references they had initially removed in the "old" witness reports.
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https://www.reddit.com/r/audiobooks/comments/4nb5uo/what_exactly_is_missing_from_the_complete_edition/

Someday it would be nice if they went back and fixed the witness recordings from the first version of the audiobook, and finally have something that matches.

All this being said, this is one of my favourite audiobooks.

44 people found this helpful

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A Good Story with an All Star Cast but ABRIDGED

First off, I have to say I was “duped” into thinking this was finally the unabridged version of the book. I have a strong aversion to abridged books and probably would not have purchased this had I known it was not the complete work. Having said that, it was still a good listen despite the missing parts. If you never read the print version you probably won’t notice because the story is told in the style of firsthand accounts that are choppy by nature. Think Ken Burns doing a documentary on a worldwide zombie war. All-in-all it is a moving story that is less about zombies than the human spirit, good and bad.

230 people found this helpful

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Boring

Extremely boring. Nothing like the movie. Very slow and not at all what I thought it was going to be. Definitely regret wasting money on this.

12 people found this helpful

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Not really a Zombie fan, but ... simply brilliant!

I'm not really a fan of the horror genre, although there was a time when "Night of the Living Dead" made Zombie flicks the exception for me. But it's so played out. Add to that the movie version of this (which basically shares the title only) was so awful, I didn't listen to my friends who recommended the audiobook.

My mistake. This audiobook version, with it’s all-star cast, is spectacular.

The premise of the book is unique -- you know from the get-go that it’s a look back from the perspective of those who survived the zombie war, which is now more or less over. Rather than diminishing the story, knowing that every character is telling his/her story in flashback somehow manages to *increase* the intensity. There are sections that are poignant, cynical, gripping and terrifying. The underwater sequences, for example, are nutso intense.

But the thing that truly makes this audiobook one of the best I’ve heard is the cast. The voice actors are spectacular. *Spectacular*.

This review is in some ways pointless, insofar as most people inclined to listen to it already have. However, if you’ve stumbled on this review as someone who stays away from horror in general and zombies in particular, do yourself a favor – it’s the audiobook equivalent of a summer blockbuster that manages to *exceed* the hype. It’s everything audio dramatizations try to achieve.

It's simply that good.

31 people found this helpful

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Will never pre-order again

Would you listen to World War Z: The Complete Edition (Movie Tie-in Edition) again? Why?

I love this book. I mostly love the audio book. I know I will listen again and again, simply because it is so moving and powerful. However, when I pre-ordered this book it was advertised as "unabridged", which is not quite the truth.

1 week later I now get an email stating "... This is an Abridged book, but when you made your purchase, it may have been listed as "Unabridged" on our site, which was in error. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused." Also, chapter 3 has a fairly huge gap in it that readers have picked up on but no one who put the book out seems to be addressing.

Had I known this was still an abridged version of the book, would I still have bought it? Maybe, depending on what had been written about it. I mean, I love this book, so yes, I probably still would have bought it knowing that more of it had been recorded. I just hate being lied to.

249 people found this helpful

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The full book

Ok this book is not really related to the movie at all. Zombies don’t run is a key point of the book. The book is entertaining with a great full cast audio. I have listened to this book well over 20 times. This is a retelling of wwz or wwz1 as the narrator says is a bad title since it implys a wwz2. (Mind you I wish the author would do a sequel book) We are left with so many questions about the fall of humanity and I wish they would do more.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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With missing section restored, Now it's great

After restoring the missing section in Chapter 3, now it's a coherent whole. Thanks for working with the publisher to fix a 4 minute gap, which while obviously an easy thing to do, had me worried for a while that it wouldn't be done in the short term. This relatively rapid response is much appreciated.

I think Studs Terkel would be proud. The various performers' interpretation of the text made the messages from the witnesses much more varied, both in voice and in the message. This makes it feel more like independent witnesses than in the original texts, and the emotion in some of the performances was much more moving. Some of the standouts for me included the K9 trainer, the feral young lady being treated and acting out the incident that orphaned her around age 4, Sinclair as acted by Alan Aldo, the performance of Redecker, and the Chinese submariner.

57 people found this helpful

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Excellent, but I pre-ordered Unabridged...

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Of course! This is one of the best multiple-cast audiobooks I've heard. There were too many fine performances to count, and it was less an audiobook than a picture-less movie. Along with others, however, I too eagerly pre-ordered as soon as the option became available and am angered by the same issues already raised.

How could Audible.com, an Amazon company, release an audiobook with an obvious omission of over four minutes? Even more shocking, the missing portion of the recording had already been completed for the (first) abridged version.

What bothers me much more than that, though, is the misrepresentation that this is an unabridged version. Is "Complete" a new pseudonym for "Abridged, but not as abridged as before"? Perhaps this was rushed to market to take advantage of the "Movie Tie-in," prominently featured on the book image. From all reports, this sounds like a great summer action movie featuring Brad Pitt, but far removed from the moving, chilling, thought-provoking novel on which it is based.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

Max Brooks gave an excellent performance, perfectly portraying the reporter--always in the background, but providing a consistency throughout the many stories of "survivors."

57 people found this helpful

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Great add-ons, but not 'unabridged'

Where does World War Z: The Complete Edition (Movie Tie-in Edition) rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This ranks on my top 5 best audiobooks, the different actors/actresses really make this a great listen.

What did you like best about this story?

The realism.

Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Haven't heard any others, unfortunately.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Very much so.

Any additional comments?

The description states this is an 'unabridged' reading, which I took to mean all the people who did the original reading, had come back to fill in the dialogue that got cut from the original. Unfortunately, this isn't the case. All that was done was new actors were brought in to read the chapters not included. Hopefully the site will change the wording.

24 people found this helpful

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StoryCorps Documents a Pandemic

I can't believe I am saying this, but I LOVED World War Z. I have studiously avoided this book for a while because I really hate zombie literature or movies. Zombies have always seemed the most boring of monsters to me since they have no individuality or personality unlike dragons or ogres or demons. However, I finally succumbed to the buzz and checked out the newest version of World War Z on audio. I decided the cast alone might be worth a credit. Well, that proved to be true - the cast is superb and this is a fabulous audio book. But I also really, REALLY enjoyed the plot, settings, characters in this documentary style presentation of what is called the Zombie War, but could easily be read as the results of a global raging pandemic. Although a virus that could cause reanimation of the dead seems quite unlikely to me, we have certainly seen some virulent forms of viruses that are contagious/infectious and if not properly contained have potential for world wide impact no less than our historical World Wars. And, in listening to this book, it was easy to forget that the subject of World War Z was a fantastical virus because effects of the virus were laid out one story at a time in such a thoughtful manner by Max Brooks. Brooks presents the outcome of this global challenge with personal memories from people all over the planet from all walks of life having been impacted in many different ways - an astronaut watching his world collapse from a safe view in space, a Russian soldier, a Chinese doctor, an American suburbanite, etc. We see one story at a time how the planet's various cultures, political systems, and military respond or are changed or destroyed. The author not only shows how people and our institutions would be impacted, but also how the environment (flora, fauna, and weather) might be affected. He has thought through this scenario in such detail that he includes a story from a man who worked in the K-9 Corps (this was my favorite chapter) which explains in detail how dogs were used very effectively to "smell out" the undead. OK, I will admit I'm crazy about dogs and that's probably why that chapter got to me so much, but I also thought this was a great detail to include. Dogs have been our work mates since before recorded history and have been there with us in every previous challenge to our survival so of course they would be ready, willing, and able to stand with us in a Zombie War! (Doesn't seem far-fetched that dogs with their keen sense of smell and proven ability to detect certain diseases within a person could be useful in fighting a real pandemic.) The personal accounts that make up this book have a sort of StoryCorps or PBS POV feel to them - raw, personal documentary style. And, because there is no "tongue in cheek" reserve built into the dialog and the reactions of people and governments are so true to life it is easy to suspend disbelief and many of the stories are then quite chilling.

The first person perspective for each story makes this book absolutely ideal for a multi-cast audiobook and this is the MOST effective use of that style of presentation that I have listened to. Some of the wonderful actors recording these personal accounts might not actually be good narrators for a standard book with a lot of narrative passages, but there is none of that in World War Z so these actors who can adopt and project a personality so vividly come across as genuine - it sounds like listening to interviews with many real people. These are stellar performances and are delightful to listen to in spite of some of gruesome details. All-in-all, World War Z is a well-written piece of literature that is wonderfully presented in this audio book. I found it immensely entertaining and surprisingly thought provoking.

42 people found this helpful

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  • Roger Kenny
  • 04-29-19

very good but...

overall very good, unusual style and most of the story segments work very well. A couple of standouts, Common, Mark Hamill, Rob Reiner but a couple were a real slog and nearly derailed the whole experience! on occasions I almost just quit listening. I'm glad I didnt, as I say overall it was a good story and those stand out segments really were excellent, Recommended.

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  • Ollybie
  • 02-07-19

Just loved this

Wow, what a book and what a story. I normally listen to standard epic fantasy but this was so real, the detail, the experiences. Thinking this was a book about zombies kind of put me off, but it’s so much more and once I started listening, I was hooked!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-29-18

If only the movie had been this good

I read the book years ago, loved it. I especially liked, “The World at War” take on a hypothetical zombie war. Very well written and researched, a lot of factual background information which really sets the overall scene. This is interlaced with the personal, emotional stories which get the reader invested. The audiobook is superb, the cast as good as what you would expect. Some to the individual stories seem more harrowing in the audiobook. Between the movie and this, the audiobook stands out by far as the best. This is, in many ways, the way the movie should have been told. Brilliant.

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  • Mr. M. Anandarajah
  • 07-26-17

One of the best audiobooks

A collection of incredible performances by an amazing cast which brings this series of survivors' stories to life! The book is engrossing already but this audiobook adds another layer of richness to the story. Amazing how many familiar voices are in the cast. This is the version of World War Z to get!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-18-17

Brilliant!

New version of my favourite audio book with much more content and a great cast. Harrowing but uplifting

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  • R,J,Jervis
  • 07-15-16

Best audio book ever!

I've lost count of how many times I've listened to it! Equally as good is the Zombie Survival Guide also by Max Brooks. Encore!!