Book Review: Max Brook’s World War Z


Its very rare to find a peice of creative writing that goes beyond just being a clever use of words,  structures and gimmicks that is worthy of commercial and literary success; and yet World War Z is just such a work. A great many people will be put off by the oral history (interview) format used by Max Brooks, but personally I found it quite interesting and absorbing.
Max Brooks casts himself as the interviewer travelling the world on behalf of the UN in the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse to chronicle the international experiences of the before, during and after of WWZ. The book is structured in this temporal format, with eye witness accounts telling the human side to each country’s experiences. This allows for objectivity on behalf of the author, whilst telling very subjective stories. It could almost be read as a series of short-stories, or mini episodes.
What makes this a difficult read for some people will be the lack of dates to give people a better sense of how much time has passed and the sequence of world events. Also, the lack of any real main protagonist, including the interviewer himself may leave a vacuum for some readers to fully empathize with the characters. I would have personally liked to have read about the experiences of the Muslim world too which were limited to an Iranian and an American Pakistani.
However, what this book does really well is tell a wider story, capturing the consequences of a huge global event and reinforcing the idea of inter-connectivity and idiocy of sectarian and political differences in light of the big issues that effect us as a species.
Max Brooks successfully delivers a nightmarish vision of the challenges that lie ahead of humanity in the case of a major global upheaval and how unprepared we are for the harsh realities that we will have to face, one day, as a species. I am certain that this book will become a bible for all future zombie stories in the same way that George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead has served to inspire past writers and film-makers. For this reason alone, World War Z deserves a full set of stars

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