Wednesday, July 3, 2013

World War Z

I read World War Z months before I started the book blog but saw the movie this weekend and thought I would review both for your enjoyment. First (as always), the book.

Title: World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

Author: Max Brooks

Date Read: March 31, 2013

Summary: The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.

Ranging from the now infamous village of New Dachang in the United Federation of China, where the epidemiological trail began with the twelve-year-old Patient Zero, to the unnamed northern forests where untold numbers sought a terrible and temporary refuge in the cold, to the United States of Southern Africa, where the Redeker Plan provided hope for humanity at an unspeakable price, to the west-of-the-Rockies redoubt where the North American tide finally started to turn, this invaluable chronicle reflects the full scope and duration of the Zombie War.

Most of all, the book captures with haunting immediacy the human dimension of this epochal event. Facing the often raw and vivid nature of these personal accounts requires a degree of courage on the part of the reader, but the effort is invaluable because, as Mr. Brooks says in his introduction, “By excluding the human factor, aren’t we risking the kind of personal detachment from history that may, heaven forbid, lead us one day to repeat it? And in the end, isn’t the human factor the only true difference between us and the enemy we now refer to as ‘the living dead’?”

Note: Some of the numerical and factual material contained in this edition was previously published under the auspices of the United Nations Postwar Commission.

Eyewitness reports from the first truly global war

“I found ‘Patient Zero’ behind the locked door of an abandoned apartment across town. . . . His wrists and feet were bound with plastic packing twine. Although he’d rubbed off the skin around his bonds, there was no blood. There was also no blood on his other wounds. . . . He was writhing like an animal; a gag muffled his growls. At first the villagers tried to hold me back. They warned me not to touch him, that he was ‘cursed.’ I shrugged them off and reached for my mask and gloves. The boy’s skin was . . . cold and gray . . . I could find neither his heartbeat nor his pulse.” —Dr. Kwang Jingshu, Greater Chongqing, United Federation of China

“‘Shock and Awe’? Perfect name. . . . But what if the enemy can’t be shocked and awed? Not just won’t, but biologically can’t! That’s what happened that day outside New York City, that’s the failure that almost lost us the whole damn war. The fact that we couldn’t shock and awe Zack boomeranged right back in our faces and actually allowed Zack to shock and awe us! They’re not afraid! No matter what we do, no matter how many we kill, they will never, ever be afraid!” —Todd Wainio, former U.S. Army infantryman and veteran of the Battle of Yonkers

“Two hundred million zombies. Who can even visualize that type of number, let alone combat it? . . . For the first time in history, we faced an enemy that was actively waging total war. They had no limits of endurance. They would never negotiate, never surrender. They would fight until the very end because, unlike us, every single one of them, every second of every day, was devoted to consuming all life on Earth.” —General Travis D’Ambrosia, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe goodreads

Review: This book reads like an interview but the author does a great job of getting the reader hooked, then scaring the crap out of them. I think the format of this book and the various interviews is really what brought me into the story. It was interesting to follow this disease as it spread and try to find patient zero. I'm not a huge zombie fan and I'm definitely not a doomsday prepper but I feel as though something like this is actually possible. Maybe not the zombie aspect, but how many times has our society had a serious outbreak in a virus and caused a world wide health scare? Luckily, most of those scares have been contained but a lot of lives were lost throughout the process and I think this book gives a glimpse of what it must be like when those outbreaks happen and people have to contain them. I think the chance of a disease doing this in the future is not too far fetched which is what makes this book a little creepy.

Now the movie (I know, I know. This is a book blog, who cares about the movie but I'm reviewing it anyway.)
I really enjoyed the book and was only looking forward the the movie because of the lovely Brad Pitt. Luckily for me, my fiance dragged me along to see it this past weekend and I surprisingly loved it! If you are looking for an action movie, it doesn't get much better than this. There was non-stop action, suspense, and drama from pretty much the opening scene. While most action movies forget about the relationships, this one actually made you feel for Brad's character and his family even though they received very little screen time. The movie and book had different story lines but the same overall premise; zombie apocalypse. Usually, I don't like when the movie strays so much from the book but this one was done so well, I didn't even care. I would definitely recommend going to see this movie if you are looking for a thrill ride. And it's surprisingly not as gory as I expected!

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