A good book really can change the way you look at the world. Before I read World War Z, for instance, I never sat on a beach and wondered: how would I defend myself, right now, if zombies came staggering out of the surf?
Thanks a lot, Max.
Subtitled “An Oral History of the Zombie War,” this macabre exercise in hypothetical apocalypse is the most realistic exploration of zombie warfare you are ever likely to read. Presented as the work of a U.N. postwar commission, it’s a collection of interviews with the politicians, doctors, and front-line soldiers who lived through humanity’s ten-year war against the living dead. The big picture—the near annihilation of the human race—takes shape through individual stories from all over the globe, from the doctor who was there when the first case of zombie plague appeared in China to the last poor guy on the International Space Station, tapping into satellite feeds to watch the evacuation of Japan. The Q&A format and short interviews make it a fast-paced read.
Brooks has devoted more thought to the logistics of zombie warfare and to anti-zombie weaponry than is probably quite sane. World War Z is a technothriller, really, the text laced with acronyms and explanations of why conventional military tactics don’t work against undead opponents. And while I’m tagging it as horror, it’s the kind of horror you find on the front pages of newspapers. The scariest thing about this book isn’t the monsters, it’s the breakdown of civilization as we knew it, and the way the survivors’ stories contain echoes of Jonestown, Chernobyl, Dunkirk.
But it’s also zombies. Read it for the social satire or the deadpan jokes. Read it if you enjoy a good, old-fashioned end-of-the-world story. Or, you know, you just enjoy zombies.
WRL owns the Zombie Survival Guide, too. Just in case.