Thursday, May 10, 2012

World War Z

 I read a lot of fiction (duh).  Levi does not read very much fiction.  He prefers non-fiction.  So when he started to really get into the book World War Z by Max Brooks, he suggested I read it to so we could talk about it together.  It turned out to be a great idea for a lot of reasons.  One was that I probably would not have read this book otherwise, and it was fantastic.  Another was that the things that stood out to Levi in the book did not always stand out to me, and it was really interesting to think about the book from a different perspective.

When I started the book, I didn't notice that the subtitle was "An Oral History of the Zombie War."  I knew the book was about zombies, but I did not know the premise was "an oral history."  It was a very interesting and successful technique for this subject.  When I think about a book about zombies, I assume it's going to be all horror and supernatural.  But this book was written in the style of recounting history.  Each chapter is an interview with various people around the world to hear their experiences during the world zombie epidemic.  It is clinical, not fantastical, and even includes footnotes with references (fake, of course), dates, etc.  For me, that made a book about zombies seem interesting, serious, and not goofy.

The book is plot driven, not character driven.  It looks at how the zombie epidemic progressed throughout the world, how it turned to defensive war, and eventually to offensive war, and how the world strove to recover.  I really like that the author took a real worldwide geo-political view and not a strictly American view.  It really made me think about world politics in a way I never thought I would. 

One of my favorite parts discusses how Cuba became the world's new superpower.  Cuba did not get hit with the epidemic as seriously as other countries because it was already so isolated physically (being an island) and politically/culturally (due to travel and import/export bans).  When countries like the US got hit hard, people started jumping on rafts and becoming refugees to Cuba.  Cuba somewhat ironically responded by putting these white, American refugees in work camps. 

Other sections look at survivors in space, escape made by submarine, frozen zombies, zombies driving cars, zombies walking off buildings like lemmings!  Okay, I know it's starting to sound cuckoo now, but I swear it all makes sense in the book.

And if that didn't pique your interest enough, the movie starring Brad Pitt comes out in December!  Read it so you can sound oh-so-highbrow declaring, "Well, naturally the book was so much better."

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