World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War – Max Brooks

If a novel about monsters was simply that: a book about monsters, then it would be a fun diversion, soon to be forgotten. If, however, the novel transcended its fictional subject matter and became a commentary about the nature of our world, then it would have achieved something noble. Brooks, author of The Zombie Survival Guide, doesn’t simply write a fictional account of interviews with and observations by key figures in the years after mankind is devastated by a plague that causes zombies to become a reality, but presents a scathing attack on the institutions and mindsets of various nations that—if any deadly contagion took hold—could lead to the end of civilization as we have taken for granted. I loved how Brooks used the idea of zombies to comment on so many of the world’s ills, although I was disappointed that he ignores all but southern Africa and does largely the same with Latin America. I would have also preferred more details on the actual spread of the zombies and the fall of the status quo (as opposed to focusing on the beginning and end of the war) and wished that his characters had more distinctive voices, yet, as stated, the work is gripping, poignant, and impressive. Many thanks to Brian and Sabrina for giving me this book as part of my birthday present.