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While we are, with rare exception, reluctant to recommend audio books over written text, and nearly never an abridged version, this book is an exception. Max Brooks's surprisingly insightful zombie novel is told in the form of interviews with survivors of the great war anyway, so the spoken format is ideal. Added to that, Mr. Brooks acts as the interviewer and the actors hired to play various roles include Alan Alda, both Reiners (Rob and Carl), John Turturro and a host of other talented professional actors. As you'd expect from such a playbill, they tell their stories in entertaining often amusing fashion.

Now, you may wonder what could be insightful or amusing about a war for human survival against a zombie invasion, but that's what makes to book special. Mr. Brooks is not one for political correctness and, if he's not a conservative politically, the results of the war remind one of Irving Kristol's famous observation (perhaps apocryphal?) that: There's nothing wrong with America that another Great Depression wouldn't fix. not only are people forced to work together to combat the walking dead but: the initial battle plans are taken from a blueprint drawn up by the Afrikaaners in case of a black rising; the first nation to respond seriously is Israel; the influx of American refugees into Cuba topples the regime and makes it democratic and capitalist; the plumbing and carpentry and other skills of illegal aliens become invaluable; the right to keep and bear arms is amply vindicated; etc.; etc.; etc. As is the case with most great speculative fiction, the alternate reality of the book ends up illuminating our real world. It's really well done and one can only hope that the film, which has already been optioned, is as good.


Grade: (A)


See also:

Max Brooks Links:

    -BOOK SITE: World War Z (Random House)
    -WIKIPEDIA: Max Brooks
    -FILMOGRAPHY: Max Brooks (IMDB)
    -MOVIE INFO: World War Z (2008) (IMDB)
    -Zombie Survival Guide (Random House)
    -CHAT: with Max Brooks (Washington Post, October 6, 2006)
    -PROFILE: Max Brooks' Festival Of The (Living) Dead! Barbican, London: Dead men are walking - and talking (Charlotte Cripps, 01 November 2006 , Independent)
    -PROFILE: The Zombies of 'World War Z' (Talk of the Nation, September 19, 2006, NPR)
    -INTERVIEW: Exclusive Interview: Max Brooks on World War Z ... (Eat My Brains, 10/20/06)
    -ARCHIVES: "max brooks" (Find Articles)
    -REVIEW: of World War Z -- Audio version (Siobhan Carroll, Strange Horizons)
    -REVIEW: of World War Z (Keith Phipps, Onion AV Club)
    -REVIEW: of World War Z (Steven H Silver, SF Site)
    -REVIEW: of World War Z (Gilbert Cruz, Entertainment Weekly)
    -REVIEW: of World War Z (Pete Coco, Timeout Chicago)
    -REVIEW: of World War Z (Keith Lowell Jensen, Sacramento News Review)
    -REVIEW: of World War Z (Alden Utter, The Eagle Online)

Book-related and General Links: