"We are of opinion that instead of letting books grow moldy behind an iron grating, far from the vulgar gaze, it is better to let them wear out by being read." - Jules Verne
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Friday, August 6, 2010

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks

I reluctantly started this one and finished it enthusiastically

A friend from work had World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War on his desk and said I should read it.

Zombies!? No thanks!

I've avoided all of the Twilight books and the other undead/monster books. He pitched it by saying it was fictional (of course!) but modeled after the very real work of Studs Terkel, The Good War: An Oral History of World War II. For those that don't know, Terkel interviewed hundreds of people about World War II and arranged their interviews into a narrative of sorts that told the history of the war.

Well, that wasn't much of a selling point either because I never really got into Studs Terkel very much, so this was strike two. But, I took it home and started reading.

Max Brooks
The first 20-30 pages are boring but they do set up the rest of the book by introducing the concept of zombies, how they came to be, what they are capable of and what stops them. Once we get to the Battle of Yonkers this book hits its stride and really hums along.

There are recurring characters but the four that struck me the most were the Japanese gardener and the computer geek, the Chinese submarine and the dog handler. The dog handler struck me as the most "human" story of the bunch because of the unabashed affection and bond between dog and handler. I was actually moved to tears about this fictional story about a man and his dachshund/beagle mix - partially because I had one and he described its fiesty, independent, love to fight personality to a tee, and partially because they survived.

Well, there it is - I went from reluctant reader to nearly crying about what I was reading. That's why I'm giving it 5 stars out of 5.

By the way - so much better than the movie - and much different! Basically, they share a common theme and a title.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: World War Z.

Reviewed on December 23, 2009.

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