Review: World War Z by Max Brooks

March 22, 2012 5 stars, Book Review 48 ★★★★★

World War Z

The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand 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.

Ranging from the now infamous village of New Dachang in the United Federation of China, where the epidemiological trail began with the twelve-year-old Patient Zero, to the unnamed northern forests where untold numbers sought a terrible and temporary refuge in the cold, to the United States of Southern Africa, where the Redeker Plan provided hope for humanity at an unspeakable price, to the west-of-the-Rockies redoubt where the North American tide finally started to turn, this invaluable chronicle reflects the full scope and duration of the Zombie War.

Most of all, the book captures with haunting immediacy the human dimension of this epochal event. Facing the often raw and vivid nature of these personal accounts requires a degree of courage on the part of the reader, but the effort is invaluable because, as Mr. Brooks says in his introduction, “By excluding the human factor, aren’t we risking the kind of personal detachment from history that may, heaven forbid, lead us one day to repeat it? And in the end, isn’t the human factor the only true difference between us and the enemy we now refer to as ‘the living dead’?”

Note: Some of the numerical and factual material contained in this edition was previously published under the auspices of the United Nations Postwar Commission.


World War Z is what started my personal zombie craze.  I have read this book every year since I picked it up and I have gone through about 8 copies.  Every time someone asks me for a book recommendation I point them to World War Z – or I give them my current copy.

The zombie plague in World War Z could be replaced with any other widespread epidemic of catastrophic proportions and people who aren’t into the whole zombie craze would probably dig it just as much.  Personally I love how this book switches perspective every chapter.  The different stories of each individual weaves together to tell the complete tale.  Some made me laugh and others made my cry. – but importantly they each had their own flavor.

If you don’t mind that it is essentially mini stories to make up the one story then you will thoroughly enjoy World War Z.  The transition between each character is done so well I only wish the book was twice as fat!  I’ve seen other authors try to do this and they come no where near executing it successfully the way Max Brooks has done.  This book is due to be made into a movie in 2012!!

You must read World War Z! – if you don’t I’ll drooooool on you….

Find World War Z by Max Brooks: GOODREADS

* Personally purchased copy. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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48 Responses to “Review: World War Z by Max Brooks”

    • Pabkins

      You must read it! It is such a super short read…swear …honest…promise….course then you might become an addict like me…but never fear least you’ll be prepared for the zompocolypse!

  1. Kriss Morton-Weekley

    Have you listened to the Audio Book? OMG it made the book .. how can this be, EVEN BETTER. I did it last night (well six this morning) while I was winding down. I listed again to the opening part with patient 0, and it was shocking to read, but to hear it? AND Max got a CAST it is not read by one person in different voices. I can SEE IT.. All I can say is if they screw this book up with the movie I am going to spit nails! HEY did you go and sign up for my zombie giveaway??
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  2. Ning

    wow awesome review! I actually read this last year and it was one of the first reviews on my blog. I hate zombies. they terrify me, but it’s also one of those i’m obsessed with what I hate, so I had to read this one. It was soo good. I totally get how you’ve read it so many times. It’s one of those books you can reread over and over, and I love the different narratives too!

    Ning @ Reading by Kindle Fire
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    • Pabkins

      Yes! It demands to be read again and again. I’m kinda crazy I love rereading books. I know there are so many books out there that I need to read and why am I using up precious time to reread something I’ve already read. But hey – least I haven’t read it this year yet – though I forced my husband to finally read it haha.
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      • Ning

        haha good job! I rarely reread books, but this one would definitely be worth it. There’re just so many new books that require attention like you said.
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  3. Sarah (saz101)

    You read it… every year? 8 copies… uh… is this in preparation?

    OK, seriously… I’ve been vaguely meaning to read this for years… but if I wasn’t sure before, you’ve just TOTALLY convinced me… you 8 copies alone would’ve convinced me, but then you had to go write a brilliant review 😛
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    • April

      I know Saz, I haven’t read it either but I’m seriously putting it on my MUST READ SOON list! A book worth reading 8 times is definitely worth me reading once – and ZOMBIES! LOL Byyy the way, have you read The Passage by Justin Cronin ( the second book The Twelve comes out this October) – if you haven’t … OMG GEEEEEEET it 😀 It’s probably my fav dystopian of all time *nod*

    • Pabkins

      Yes! I’ve read it so many times – I’ve lost count – but I do know I’ve gone through that many copies. I have to replace it every time I give it away. Cause I likes to force it on people. Its definitely worth the read. Whats nice is too if you are reading something else at the same time you can stop WWZ each chapter since it switches characters each chapter.
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    • Pabkins

      Yes I’m going to give the audio book version a try! I figure might as well since I’ve read it enough times I think listening to it would be nice. I’ll have my trusty knitting needles handy to stab anything that jumps out at me…like you know the husband…or the cat… haha
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    • Pabkins

      See, yes my point exactly it sucks people in. Plus it reads so fast anyway. It really is a thin book. Also considering when you are reading little mini stories heck you could read it in a day. Thanks for commenting! *drools*
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  4. kimba88

    I thought i had this in my tbr pile…turns out its in my B&N wishlist…pushing it up..8 times it most me good and i love this genre

  5. kimba88

    I will read it next week and post my review…if you read The Passage by Justin Cronin and post a review.

      • April

        Tabby – you haven’t read The Passage yet?!?! *faints dead away* I can’t wait for you to read and review it! So we have a deal here – Kimberly will read World War Z and Tabby will read The Passage (I’ll just make myself the referee and crack the whip *giggles*)

    • April

      Oh awesome you were able to find the error! Thanks for following us so diligently, gives me warm fuzzies 😀 I’m making sure Tabitha starts The Passage ASAP *cracking the whip on her * (even though I havent read WWZ either *cough* she can’t be a zombie lover and not read The Passage 😀

    • Pabkins

      Way to go Janiera! You should read it soon – Kimba is reading it now after being converted by my crazy rantings and she’s already loving it!!
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  6. Bookworm1858

    Wow-you are a very effective evangelist for this book. I have a copy of this book and hope to read it before the movie but now I really need to bump it up my tbr-list.
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  7. Rinni

    One of my all time favorite books! Fantastic review, yes yes! Good job selling the brain loving, decomposing, shambling, formerly sentient masses to the masses. 😉 I bought this book for Tom and he still hasn’t read it! Get him Pabkins!
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    • Pabkins

      How the heck could your hubby have not read this yet? What the heck is wrong with him!!!? I even got my hubby to read this book and HE doesn’t like to read anything but Manga!!
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  8. Ashleigh Swerdfeger

    I haven’t read this yet. It sounds great! I do like these type of stories even though they are kinda freaky to think about. I don’t mind multiple POVS. If they are done right, they make the story more interesting. I just read Feed by Mira Grant, so I would love to have another zombie story to read.
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    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      If you liked Feed then you will love WWZ! Personally, I think this is one of the better done zombie books I have read to date. Doing the multiple POVs well is so important. This one doesn’t necessarily actually DO multiple POVs…it does and it doesn’t. Technically the reporter is interviewing them. But as you see that it switches to that person’s account as given to the reporter. Hard to explain but it is so awesome. This is the book that started my zombie craze years ago. I have slowed down though since now there are sooo many out there. I try to be choosey.

  9. Anna

    I just finished reading this book last month. I really enjoyed it. I agree they wove the stories together wonderfully and I enjoyed the different accounts. I had this book on my TBR pile for a long time. I only finally read it because of the movie. I loved your review.
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    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      I think its so neat when a movie can prompt you to want to read the book. This is one of my favorite zombie books. I still haven’t watched the movie – I heard it’s completely different than the book. I’m so glad you enjoyed the book and the review!! Thanks for stopping by!