World War Z by Max Brooks

Mike’s review

Context is important, possibly: I ran out of reading materials in Wisconsin and my friends wouldn’t sell me anything and I couldn’t find anything worth full cover price at Woodland Pattern, so I bought this in the airport. Though it’s been on my to-read list for years (since it was book-trendy), it hasn’t exactly been super-high on said list.


Plot summary: There isn’t one, exactly. Weird to say in a zombie book, right? I mean, sure, there’s a zombie uprising and said zombies are more or less defeated, or at least kept at bay, but it’s told through a series of vignettes and interviews with survivors, only a few of which have a throughline. Not that it’s Jenifer Egan Powerpoint chapter experimental, but it’s a bit out there for a book that was as large as it was. The style is the perfect choice for capturing a whole world in panic.

Pull quotes are strange. “Mad Max meets The Hot Zone… It’s Apocalypse Now, Pandemic Style.” “An oversized version of hell.” When really, the book is much more clinical than that. It’s not a thriller, it’s a case study. All in all, pretty confusing why you would read this and see a movie in there. Sure, anything zombie-related must be somewhat cinematic, but this is closer to a how-to guide on surgery than it is a zombie movie thriller. There’s very little bloodshed, few chills, few thrills.


Interview in Denver as I touch down in Denver. Only in books is the world ever right.


“I think that most people would rather face the light of a real enemy than the darkness of their imagined fears.”


Actually got genuinely pumped at U.S. president’s declaration for the need for war. Strange in general as I’m not a big time war monger. Especially strange given the clinicalness/lack of fear instilled earlier in book.


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