World War Z by Max Brooks

World War Z by Max Brooks | bluchickenninja.com

I don’t normally read books like this. I know some people enjoy reading scary books, but I am not one of them. However World War Z was something I decided to read after watching the film version. And to be honest I only watched that as I wanted to see Glasgow all done up as Philadelphia.

So even though World War Z turned out to be a terrible movie, the book was brilliant (which made the movie even more disappointing). The book is written as a series of interviews compiled by the narrator which tells the story of the global war against zombies. It begins with the first recorded infection and ends with the clear up of North America and the world’s slow return to normality while still dealing with the remaining zombie hordes.

One of the things I enjoyed most about the book was the fact that there was no simple cure for the zombie virus. In fact a large portion of the book focuses on how the US Army adapt to fighting an enemy that donโ€™t plan and work entirely on instinct. This means that their normal tactics are totally ineffective and they also have the added problem of every dead soldier means one more zombie to kill.

The book focuses on the short sightedness of humans. It makes you think about what you would do in the same situation. It makes you realise the terrifying nature of humanity. It shows how people will do anything, even kill others, if it means saving their own lives. And it annoys me that the film ignored all this in favour of Brad Pitt travelling the world looking for a cure. In my opinion the only similarity between the book and film is that they share the same name.

In conclusion, the book is very good and I would have quite happily read another 300 pages of zombie apocalypse goodness. However the movie was a giant pile of poop. Avoid if possible.

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32 thoughts on “World War Z by Max Brooks

  1. I wanted Ken Watanabe to say the line about ‘there might be a million monsters but they will be facing the gods’. Instead I got Brad Pitt pouting in locations. Not a good trade.

  2. I thought the movie was alright; I expected terrible, and got okay, was what happened in my case. There were some good scenes of (what I thought would be) realistic action (if zombies ever happened) and I really feel for Brad Pitt–it’s not his fault they always throw him roles where he has to do lots of manly running and swinging a gun and being a bit 2-dimensional and what-not–but yeah, I can imagine the book was better because…. it’s the book ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for reminding me of something I wanted to read this summer ๐Ÿ˜€

    • I don’t think I’ve watched many movies with Brad Pitt in them but yes, this wasn’t a brilliant role for him.

      I almost feel like you can’t really compare the book to the movie as they are so different. But I would still say the book is still better. And a post-apocalyptic zombie novel sounds like a really good choice for summer reading. Enjoy!

  3. I also liked the book, but I was a bit disappointed in the ending.

    I’ve been a fan of zombies ever since I had this dream that I died but still came to work. I just didn’t know what else to do. In my dream my co-worker put Soap on a Rope on my desk. It was her subtle way of saying that I stunk. Ever since that dream I felt sorry for Zombies. I saw first hand why no one wants to be around them.

    I work in Physical Therapy which is probably why I found this book: The Zombie Autopsies secret notebooks from the apocalypse by Steven C. Schlozman, MD to be interesting. He comes at the Zombie idea from a medical perspective. He even describes their gait patterns. It was a good read, but I feel like it got overlooked when all the zombie books had a revival.

    • That sounds like a good book. I may need to read that. If you like scientifically accurate zombie novels you might want to try reading I Am Legend. Its about vampires but it goes into detail about the vampire virus and how it works and stuff. Also its really good.

  4. I really enjoyed this book. The movie wasn’t too bad either but they were really nothing alike. I feel like the only thing they had in common was the title.

  5. I read World War Z about five years ago and really enjoyed it. I reread it last year (and enjoyed it again) when the movie was announced. But when I saw the trailers, I was super bummed and never ended up seeing the movie because my expectations were so low. I feel like it would have been better to make it into a TV series or something and to keep the original stories. Your post helped me to decide for sure not to watch it. I’m glad the movie did one good thing by leading you to the book!

  6. Why do you think the movie was so bad? It was the best zombie movie I have seen since the Last Man on Earth (the old one). It was well made in a scientific sense that if a zombie apocalypse was going to happen. Not to mention the awesome family dynamic. If your going to bash a movie at least tell us why you dislike it and allow us to have a difference in opinions.

    • At no point did I say you were not allowed to like the movie. If you enjoyed it that’s fine. On its own the movie would have been quite good but I disliked it because it claimed to be based on a book and then had nothing in common with that book. The film is 2 hours of Brad Pitt travelling the world looking for a cure, while the book makes it quite clear that there is no cure for the zombie infection. In fact you find out that the only “cure” available is being sold by corrupt pharmaceutical companies as a way of making money.

    • Miss Rose: have you read the book? Personally, I haven’t yet; so although I liked the movie well enough, and I thought a lot of it was done well, I don’t get to comment on how “good” a movie it is, because as a movie based on another medium (a book, in this case) the first real question on how good the movie is, is how well did it capture what went on in the book? If it didn’t come close, if it’s not a faithful representation of the original story, then it is fair to say it sucked. If I paint a reproduction of, “The Last Supper” but I actually just paint my own family sitting down to breakfast, my painting sucks. Technically, it could be a great painting, but as soon as I call it, “The Last Supper” and give people the expectation that it will be like Da Vinci’s, I have a responsibility to do that, to be faithful to the original work. If not, I’ve failed, and people have the right to slam me, with no more criticism than, “This is nothing like the original.” That’s what happened here. Bluchickenninja already TOLD you what was wrong with the movie. Why are you complaining?

      –AmandaQuirky

      • Wow, I wasn’t expecting to get this kind of response, I am just messing with you guys, and boy did it get a reaction. I really didn’t read the post (or your comments for that matter, why are people so quick on the defense? -_-)

        I really don’t care that much about the movie or the book (which I haven’t read, and probably won’t due having better things to do with my time) they are just forms of entertainment and they will of course be different. Some will like movies that other hate it, nothing wrong there. Please don’t get upset on something so silly.

        And please don’t get offended, its just a little annoying when people keep complaining about how the movie is not the book ergo not good. Good is not faithful representation, it is the quality of enjoyment or entertainment you received. I have seen boring books made into interesting movies and extremely stupid movies from good books. Both mediums have their own merits and pitfalls. The first form that one hears the story will most likely be their preferred because they will forever comparing the first with the second. Essentially you will be biased to one form over the other (as am I in this case, and no doubt you are as well)

        Well it’s been fun argument, but I have more important things to do with my life than argue with people on the internet. Ciao!

        • You actually didn’t read my comment, did you? I explicitly stated that I haven’t read the book yet. (Yet–for me, reading a book is much more valuable than painting my toenails or getting drunk or having my eyebrows threaded or whatever it is that you do in your spare time.) Equally, this isn’t an argument at all; I asked you a question, I made some points about the original post, and I waited for your response. Unless you’re 14 or younger, you should be able to differentiate between a discussion and an argument.

          Or do you mean to say that *you* feel angry about this, and you’re leaving because you don’t want to upset yourself? I suppose from your perspective, that would make this an argument; but you don’t sound angry. You sound young and a bit shallow, but not particularly angry. ?

          –AmandaQuirky

  7. I agree with your review, I really enjoyed the book (well, I’m not sure if “enjoyed” is exactly the word I’m looking for, it was too scary/disturbing!). I have no interest in seeing the film as apparently it bears no resemblance to the book at all!

  8. I didn’t realise there was a book before the film, I will have to give it a read, I love your review of it. I usually get a bit bored reading book reviews but yours was to the point and interesting, thanks! Its on my ‘to read’ pile!

  9. Hi there. I read this following a friend’s recommendation – the first book read on an iPad using the Kindle reader – on a holiday to Germany at the end of 2011. I found it a little long but loved the idea of the personal reflections of the “characters”. I haven’t seen the film (and am not racing to do so either!)
    Thanks for popping by my blog!

  10. Thank you for this – I’m a literature junkie and have toyed around with reading this but shyed away bc its not my gene … but maybe I’ll give it a try ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Yes, movie was just awful! Like Honest Movie trailers said… “it has everything you love…in it’s title and nothing else”. They spoiled it.

    Book was excellent though, it wasn’t even that scary, just kind of realistic. Exactly how things would go if that kind of thing would happen. Good review! ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. I didn’t expect to enjoy this book, it’s not my type of thing normally – but like you said – it’s great! If you ignore the zombies it’s a book about lack of cooperation between countries. You sort of forget they’re zombies after a while (or at least i did!) I liked the movie because it was so different to the book! It was fun and made me jump a lot. Because the book doesn’t have a narrative as such I’m glad the movie took a different tack. Great review!

  13. I had heard that the movie and the book didn’t actually have much in common prior to experiencing either. I happened to find the book first so I started there. I do like zombies (and vampires and werewolves, etc) so I really wanted to like it. Unfortunately I really couldn’t get into it (a little more realistic and plausible than I was in the mindset for) and after the first few chapters ended up loaning it to someone who needed something to read more than I did at that moment, and never got it back.

    The movie was alright (yes I admit I watch The Walking Dead on occasion) but it took a couple of times to actually watch all the way to the end. (And yes I also enjoy watching Brad Pitt run around and blow stuff up.)

    I’d like to actually finish the book one of these days…just my personal opinion.

    • I agree with you that the book was a little bit more realistic than most zombie novels. But that is why I enjoyed it so much. I suppose everyone will have different opinions.

      Thanks for commenting and you should totally give the book another go if you have the time.

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