Author: Max Brooks
Genre: zombie apocalypse
Length: 420 pages
Where Bethany’s copy came from: Personal Collection
Plot Basics: The zombie war is over and an intrepid researcher travels the globe to talk with survivors, piecing together a compelling, geopolitical narrative about the successes and failures of people and governments during the war with the undead.
Banter Points: I don’t quite know what I thought this book was supposed to be (funny, maybe, given Max Brooks relation to Mel Brooks) but what I found was a definite Top Ten sleeper pick for 2013. World War Z isn’t an action novel, it’s a novel about people who have lived through crazy circumstances. It’s about scientists and soldiers and parents and pirates as they try to wrestle with big questions like whose life is the most valuable?
What Brooks has done is take the global politics and economic forces of the mid-2000s and dropped zombies into the mix. Is anyone surprised, for example, that Israel quarantines itself, one of the first nations to shut its borders? India and Pakistan drag out dirty bombs that we’ve long suspected the two countries have. American capitalism rears its head; old Soviet thinking comes to the forefront. Nations and people make good and bad choices based on their systems.
Bummer Points: There are few interviewees who make repeated appearances, but I would have liked to see more of that. Some of the voices only appear once and there were definitely characters I wondered more about and how they survived to be interviewed at the end.
Word Nerd Recommendation: If you want to read a thoughtful zombie novel, this is it. There’s some gore, but that’s not the point of this book. And I’ve heard to steer clear of the movie, so the book it is!