Friday, November 27, 2009

RAview: World War Z

To kick off Thankfully Reading Weekend with a bang, I finished Max Brooks' World War Z. I only had about 50 pages left, so I thought this would be a confidence-boosting way to start my first challenge.

I'm not that into zombies and even less into blood and gore, but a persistent friend convinced me to read World War Z. She was right! Although the book is a fictional oral history recorded 12 years after the zombie war, it is primarily about the world politics, military tactics, and practical details of the effects of mass panic, exodus, and death on the world's environment, economics, psyche, and day-to-day life.

The storyline is also a draw--the oral history format will appeal to some and turn others (even huge zombie fans) off. The book can even be compared to Daniel Defoe's fictional A Journal of the Plague Year, although readers should be warned that, having been published in 1722, the language is much different and more difficult than Max Brooks'. Defoe uses the same detached tone of looking back from the future at a horrific time and making a fictional narrative feel real with specific "facts" and practical details.

Certain science fiction readers may appreciate World War Z's military tactic details, as will Tom Clancy fans, although the structure of Z does not make for a tremendously fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat read. The Booklist review on Amazon compares it to Studs Terkel's nonfiction The Good War.

Of course, it's also a book for zombie fans (and I won't begin to recommend those since I don't read them. There are a ton of lists online--e.g., see the Monster Librarian), but, as I like to say, my focus is not the plot.


  1. Humm, I'm not sure this is for me, but I did like Forest of the Hands and Teeth.

    Have fun this weekend.

  2. I've heard such great things about this book. I'm not a huge fan of zombies either, but I do like a supernatural tale now and then. I am glad you enjoyed it, Anna!

    You're off to a great start and I hope you have many wonderful hours of reading this weekend!

  3. I thought it was a really interesting book and found myself subconsciously prepping foe the coming zombie hordes. As much as I enjoyed it conceptually, I found that because of the style, it seemed like it often seemed to go a bit long.
    Regardless, an enjoyable read.

  4. I've been tempted to pick this book up in the past but couldn't decide whether I would like or not. Your review makes me think that I'd enjoy giving it a shot but should probably get it from the library. Thanks for posting about it and enjoy Thankfully Reading Weekend!

  5. @Beth F: Forest of Hands and Teeth is on my list, too. Seems to have appeal beyond zombie lovers!

    @Literary Feline: Enjoy your weekend! Thanks for stopping by!

    @m: Brooks' Zombie Survival Guide will be good for the planning, too, but I'm avoiding it so as not to become paranoid!

    @Emily: Yeah, I never thought this would be a book for me. It can feel bogged down at times but has a very interesting international perspective! Enjoy the weekend.

  6. A friend just recently recommended this to me. Now I'm convinced to give it a shot. :)