This book caused a few arguments in my store, over who got to choose it as their staff pick. This alone would have made me want to read it, even if the description wasn’t intriguing. Also, I had already read some of his other work, like The Zombie Survival Guide, which the battle strategies in World War Z are actually based on.
The full title is actually World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, and it’s in an interesting format. The premise is that a man working for the United Nations is interviewing survivors, after an infection that caused any infected to rise as zombies, which decimated the population of earth.
The style it is written in makes the idea seem plausible, and the perspectives of the various interviewees is so well done, it’s incredible. Brooks does a very creditable job of looking at, not just personal reactions to the outbreak, but the way the various world powers would react to it, with varying success depending on their strategies of dealing with the undead.
The fact that Brooks footnotes many of the references the survivors make in their recounting of the war makes it easy to live in the world he creates. The feelings invoked are quite intense, but don’t look here for a never ending action novel. This is more of immersing yourself in the mindset of a world that doesn’t take day-to-day survival for granted, and getting a pretty good idea of what it would be like to live when you are no longer the top predator.
Apparently the audiobook version of this won an Audie award, and is fully acted by a cast including Alan Alda and Mark Hamill, so definitely worth checking out. I’m not a big audiobook person, but even I’m tempted to have a listen. There is a movie coming next year, that apparently stars Brad Pitt, although I believe it is only loosely based on the book, since the narrator/interviewer apparently is an action hero type of role in the film. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Highly, highly recommended, even for those who aren’t normally zombie fans.