Book Chat: World War Z

The exciting, intense novel filled with survivor stories of the Zombie War!



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.

If you’ve watched the movie, and not read the book, I highly recommend it. As many other fans of the book expressed; I was disappointed the movie did not follow the plot of the book. The main reason I love zombie stories so much is seeing how people survive and this book was filled with many such stories.

We follow a reporter who interviews survivors after the zombie wars. People still have to deal with the undead, but in manageable numbers, not the onslaught that almost extinguished the human race. The reporter journals the techniques people used to survive, with some ingenious methods and fascinating stories; such as the use of old castles in Europe, or a town who lived in houses on stilts.

My favorite story was two different characters whose tales intersected. Kondo was a computer geek in Japan. He and his internet friends researched how to survive zombies and shared online. But it wasn’t real to him, until Kondo threw back his curtains and realized the zombie infestation on the streets was outside his door. The way he escaped was interesting and dangerous.

Tomonaga was an old blind man in Japan, one of the Hibakusha (survivors of the bomb in WW II. They were treated with sympathy and sorrow, but were little more than social outcasts) . He escaped to the Hiddaka Mountains national park, hoping to get away from people, so as not to be a burden while humanity fought to survive.  Tomonaga quickly learned to kill zombies with a shovel he’d brought with him as a cane. He knew each part of the park and used hills, rocks and other natural obstacles to give him the advantage in fights. He piled up many kills. One day a human stumbles into the park.  Tomonaga and Kondo team up; the old man becoming a mentor to the frightened young man.

Two other favorites were; one, a man who was a dog hater and became one of the trainers who paired with a canine in order to recon zombie locations. How he went from dog hater to dog lover was a searing tale of guilt and regret. The second was about a female pilot making survival drops to sieged people.  When her plane crashes, her survival is tied to a mysterious ham operator, a skywatcher (those who watch for downed planes and do what they can to aid in rescue). We discover in the end, the interactions were not possible. Not only was there no record of the woman operator, but the pilot’s radio was busted when she landed via parachute.

This novel is a Must Read for zombie fans!

NOTE: All my reviews are published in Uncaged Book Reviews emag. This review will be in the November issue.