World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks
Let me start off by declaring my complete and utter hatred of zombies. Zombies are shortsighted cannibals who turn their victims into zombies. I will never understand people’s fascination this year with growing zombies in a garden (Plants vs. Zombies) or people’s desire to wear stickers that declare “I Heart Zombies.” In a zombie apocalypse, these would be the first people to go (and subsequently turn into zombies).
Last year after discovering The Walking Dead (an AMC TV program based on a graphic novel), I picked up the book World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks. Set up as a series of interviews, Brooks examines the “zombie apocalypse” from its point of outbreak to the rebuilding that happens after. The story is well thought out and pushes the reader to reflect on the following question, “Is this plausible?” I’ll admit, I was frightened by my answer to that question.
What made this book spectacular was not the zombies. Let’s be frank, zombies put no forethought into their actions. They want brains, preferably, now (cue musical interlude – Jonathan Coulton’s Re: Your Brains). What was compelling about World War Z was how different governments and individuals handled the crisis. Some governments chose to ignore the problem or to not fund the zombie war efforts as they should have. Some individuals chose to profit off the zombie apocalypse in a variety of ways (including a “reality show”). All of this made was designed to push the reader to think, “Would this happen?”
If you are looking for a light read on the beach this summer, do not pick up this book. But, if you want a book that will make you think about the nature of humanity and what would actually happen if we were confronted with the zombie apocalypse, read it. Twice.