World War Z by Max Brooks – five stars

Posted on May 12, 2020


World War Z

Max Brooks



Brilliance is not a world I toss around a lot. Yet when I start considering World War Z by Max Brooks, it might be worth considering.

Max Brooks first really came to attention with The Zombie Survival Guide. This was a fictious handbook on how to survive in a zombie apocalypse. It was built using all sorts of details from fictitious ‘sources’, bound together in an entirely believable yet humorous approach. Brooks certainly did a heck of a lot of research to underpin his creations. I am guessing plenty of zombie films and television played a role as well. It also really looked at what the reality of a zombie apocalypse would be like. For example, most deaths would not be from zombie bite but from dirty drinking water. That would be a harsh reality.

The reality and believability factor in how Brooks put that together is reflected in how he has been used as a speaker at military training bases.

So how did World War Z compare?

I have had a copy of World War Z sitting in the humungous To Be Read pile for a long time. I finally watched the film adaptation. That wasn’t bad. But was it like the book? A positive of sorts of this covid 19 virus is that I have made some inroads into that pile. Including World War Z. So, at last I was going to answer that question.

My response? Wow. Not just wow but W.O.W!!!!

This is a collection of fictious accounts of what happened in a zombie apocalypse that became known as World War Z. It is a pretence of transcribing interviews. People from all sorts of experiences, events and locations. And it has next to no direct relation to the film adaptation, apart from a zombie infection/apocalypse taking place.

I have previously done a great deal of military research while writing a research thesis. And while reading World War Z, it was like I was reading actual military history. There were times when I found myself so engrossed in the book it was as if I really was reading a history of an actual zombie apocalypse.

This was so real. It was wonderfully put together. So many different voices created. Some harrowing descriptions. So much creative exploration of ideas. I even found myself wondering just how I would have performed in such situations.

After thinking about it, I am decided.

World War Z is brilliant. Bloody brilliant.

Anyone with even the slightest interest in zombies or zombie films or zombie television, is going to get a buzz out of this. But even people who have no interest in zombies but like history and historical approaches to writing, are going to get some interest in this.

Five stars is rare from me. But it is deserved this time.




Posted in: Review