Reviews In A Pinch

When You Just Need an honest review in a pinch.

World War Z

by Max Brooks

Overview (from Goodreads):  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. Eyewitness reports from the first truly global war.

My Thoughts:  I didn’t think it was possible for me to dislike a zombie book.  I was wrong.   Zombies are one of the most interesting monsters out there and have so many metaphors that go along with them.  Frankly their mindless killing is one of the scariest and daunting things about them.  You don’t have to go far to find something zombified now-a-days.  TV, movies and books have zombies aplenty.

World War Z has intrigued me for a while since it has multiple perspectives on what exactly happened throughout the zombie war with humanity.  Plus it was made into a movie starring Brad Pitt (that I haven’t seen).  The way I saw it, there was no reason not to read World War Z.

The plot had quite a bit of potential.  I love the idea of different parts of the “zombie war” being told from varied perspectives.  This idea did not live up to its potential.  There were a few interviews that were interesting, but for the most part I found World War Z to be boring.  I mostly just slogged my way through to the end.  The first interview with the doctor in China, at the start of the outbreak was interesting and few others with military personnel, but in the end they weren’t enough to save the entire book.  I imagine the plot of the movie is pretty different.

The characters were varied.  The only one that was consistently in the book was the interviewer, Max Brooks.  Everyone else was interviewed and then we moved on to the next interview.  I was underwhelmed by the majority of the interviews.  A few stick out in my memory more than the others, but not all because I liked them.  I’ll admit that I may have dozed off a few times while reading too.  That usually doesn’t bode well for a book.

I can’t say that I would recommend World War Z.  It never fails to sadden me to say that about a zombie book, but it’s the truth.  There just isn’t enough in World War Z to make it an interesting read.  I did make me more curious about the movie though.

2 out of 5 Bookmarks = I was too bored to actually like it.

Interested in buying this book?  Amazon or Barnes & Noble




  1. I have been wanting to read this for awhile but keep putting it off because the word “boring” occasionally pops up in reviews. Its a book about ZOMBIES. How in the world can it be boring? How disappointing.

    • That’s exactly what I thought when I decided to ignore those reviews and read it anyway. Apparently zombies can be boring. There are a lot of people that think it’s a modern classic though, so it could just be an issue with personal taste. Maybe?

  2. I’ve also heard the book was boring from a few people, which is disappointing. I have to say though, I’ve seen the movie and really liked it – and it sounds totally different from the book. It wasn’t told as interviews and it was very action-packed, I think you’d like it a LOT more than the book 🙂

    • Yeah, I haven’t managed to watch the movie yet but I agree. I’m positive I’d like the movie better, but I’m thinking it’ll be completely different than the book.

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