World War Z – a book review
I’ve made note on this blog before that I love post-apocalyptic novels – specifically zombie focused ones. It is the geek in me that has no problem imagining myself brandishing a katana sword and clearing a path through zombies for my group to run safely through. It is the spiritualist in me who views these stories as more than just a good read but a way for us to face our humanity, the good and the bad. Reading these stories allow us to ask ourselves, ‘what would I do?’ without having to actually face the choice between humane vs inhumane in a world gone mad. Who we relate to in these stories and how we react to them tells us a lot about ourselves.
World War Z, written by Max Brooks, is a great story to read from a purely human perspective. It is this reason that this story feels more like a history lesson (which was Brook’s intention) than a dramatic novel filled with non-stop and violent action. Max tells the story of humanity’s great battle with the zombie from a collection of individual stories, acting as an agent for the United Nations Postwar Commission. “He” travels around the world to meet with different individuals who all played different roles throughout various points in time. From the beginning stages of the outbreak to the ‘Great Panic’ to the all out war against the zombies worldwide we are introduced to heroes and heroines and even a bastard or two. They share with us their pain at losing loved ones, their fear at facing the zombies and their horror at some of the atrocities they witnessed. We learn about their willingness to defy orders when those orders would have them hurt their own people and we learn about their bravery in protecting those around them. It is these voices that give World War Z the haunting pulse that flows throughout the pages.
We meet Barati Palshigar, an interpreter who tells his story about working with Radio Free Earth. A program that worked hard at distributing accurate information around the globe to help people combat the zombies.
Colonel Christina Eliopolis tells us about the woman that guided her to safety through a zombie infested area – all through her radio – hinting at the spiritual.
And we meet Darnell Hackworth who speaks with emotion of the important and often overlooked role dogs played in the zombie war (be prepared to bawl your eyes out).
There are dozens of ‘voices’ that tell their story throughout this novel and it is these snapshots into these people’s lives that make this novel so life-like and so effective – you begin to feel as though you know these people, that you fought alongside with them. I sped through this book, page by page, flipping quickly, eager to read the next story, hear about the next person who fought like hell to survive another day through the zombie war.
Because this book is told from various perspectives there are not too many extreme details as it pertains to the battles so if you are looking for extreme violence filled with blood and gore, pass this one by. This story is about our humanity, good or bad, how we survived, how we fought, how we hoped and how we survived (though there are some pretty gross parts).
This story reminds us that we all have only one thing in common that matters – that we are human. We share this earth, this life and hopefully, it won’t take such an epic threat to our world to make us realize this.