World War Z: Capsule Review

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks

I gave Robert this book for Father’s Day at the suggestion of a friend, then picked it up myself last week because all my current books were too earnest for my current mood. Needed a little escapist fluff and it was handy.

This is my first (and probably only) experience with the zombie genre. It was a fun read, immersive and smart. Brooks tells the story of the zombie war through interviews with people from all over the world. Their tales were  terrifying, amusing, wry, and heartbreaking. Brooks does his homework, and his descriptions of how the war would have looked from different vantage points (a childhood survivor of Hiroshima, a teenage girl whose family fled to the northern part of Canada, an astronaut trapped on the International Space Station) were convincing. I wished the voices of the “interviewees” had been more distinct from one another, but the format and details painted a vivid picture. I found myself wondering “What would I do?”

The movie will star Brad Pitt.

I’m fascinated by the fact that zombie fiction is so hot right now. What’s that about, do you think? I suspect it’s our lack of a clear-cut “enemy” anymore (post-Cold War) combined with the simmering fear over al Qaeda bogeymen that, like zombies, can pop up WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT CNN BREAKING NEWS TUNE IN FOR THE LATEST!!!!!!!

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5 thoughts on “World War Z: Capsule Review

  1. Matthew says:

    Oh come on! You’re a Christian minister. Definitely NOT your first zombie genre. Lazarus and Jesus!

    I think zombie fiction tends to be at its strongest when it taps into the feeling of impending apocalypse. It’s not hard to find such talk in the mainstream media and culture, with many people actually feeling like they’re in the end times. Zombies really tap into the fear of what one would have to do in order to survive in case of an actual apocalypse.

    Great zombie fiction always mirrors the times. In “Night of the Living Dead,” it was a mix of a fear of the end times, mixed with a bit of racial tension.

    “Dawn of the Dead” (the original) mirrored the shopping mall 80’s with the survivors camping out in malls and the zombies roaming down the mall hallways.

    “28 Days Later” mirrored the outbreak scares of the late 90’s, early 00’s.

    But make no mistake about it, we’re definitely in the golden age of zombie fiction for all the reasons I said above. Mix of Al Queda, apocalypse, culture clash, blah blah blah.

    • MaryAnn says:

      And it does appear that some of Christ’s followers have had their brains eaten right out of their heads….. hmmmmmm….

    • MaryAnn says:

      There’s also a very strong tension in the book (perhaps other books too) between community and the individual. The ultimate defeat of the zombies requires people and nations to work together, but there’s also an undercurrent of paranoia and every-man-for-himself (woman for herself).

  2. Matthew says:

    I’m reading the ongoing “Walking Dead” graphic novels and they belong among the best books I’ve ever read. The level of realism he’s able to get out of the zombie stories is beyond shocking. Very very well done. The tv showed is pretty solid, as well.

  3. […] when I said my reading was rather earnest these days? This book was a case in point. My mother gave it to me in […]

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