A Book is Good Company: Review of World War Z

A book is good company.
It is full of conversation without loquacity.
It comes to your longing with full instruction,
but pursues you never.
~ Henry Ward Beecher ~
Quote snagged from here.  Growing up an only child, books were usually my only company.  When I would spend the summer in Ohio between the ages of 10 and 12 I would check a hundred books a week out from the library.  Keep in mind, these were young adult books that were only between 100 and 200 pages long, but at my reading peak during those summers I could read 100 pages an hour.  Yes, I know that's hard to believe, but trust me, there isn't shit else to do in Chillicothe, Ohio when you have no money and you're not old enough to drink or have sex.  The books that I read become movies in my mind:  I make up the cast and figure out how each scene would be filmed for maximum effect, what the cinematography would look like, etc.  Reading also tends to spur my own imagination and I hope to read and write more (instead of spending all of my free time online).

I'd like to note that I've added a lot of book blogs to my blogroll in the past few weeks.  Several of these blogs do giveaways, and I've won A Wish At Midnight from Reading in Color, and a surprise book from Carleen Brice at White Readers Meet Black Authors.  Thanks guys!

And with no further ado, World War Z:  An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks is the story of the Zombie War told through numerous interview with survivors.  The interviewer is unknown - all we know of him is that he worked for the United Nations and was charged with collecting information from key players in the Zombie War, so that future generations could look upon his report and know how to handle it if the zombie virus reaches pandemic numbers again.  The UN wants cold hard facts and numbers; his report contains the feelings, emotions, tragedy and triumph.  The UN cuts all of the touchy-feely stuff out and tells him to write his own fucking book.  World War Z is that book.

I loved that this book was written from a global perspective.  We get stories from every continent in the world, excluding Antarctica, and there's even an interview from the last living astronaut who was in space during the time of the Zombie War.  It's a difficult task to write from the perspective of people who are of different cultures, ethnicities, classes, countries, societies, etc., but Brooks does it very well.  Making this book a series of interviews also gives this tale of a zombie pandemic a very realistic feel, creepily so. I thought that he touched on many different, but realistic reactions that people would have to a situation like that.  There was the millionaire who became a billionaire by selling a fake vaccine for the zombie virus, which of course led to people being less careful about avoiding getting bitten while fighting off the living dead, thereby adding to the ranks of the living dead.  There was the story of the Long Island mansion that was turned into a safe haven for celebrities who wanted to wait out the zombie war in style and in front of the cameras.  There was the story of the dogs who were used by the military to sniff out approaching zombies during battle, and to separate the living from the soon-to-be living dead when quarantining people to safety.  The feral children whose parents were killed and had been raising themselves for years, the massive changes made to global politics...there are countless stories from all walks of life in this book, and they're all haunting and human.

The only complaints that I have are that I thought that the stories were pretty male heavy, and military heavy.  Otherwise this book is a fascinating read and I'll be buying Brooks' other book, The Zombie Survival Guide, as well.  Hey, it can't hurt to be prepared for any pandemic, living or living dead.

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