Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Audiobook: World War Z Review

World War Z
Written by Max Brooks
Performed by a full cast
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. 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.
This audiobook wasn’t read by one person but actually performed by a full cast who acted out the interviews within. As the book was originally an oral history of the first zombie war, it lent itself perfectly to this format and while it is described as an abridgment there were no obvious places where you could tell parts had been left out. The performers were uniformly excellent investing emotion into their tales of survival against the walking dead. The interview format ensures that you hear stories from all over the world, not just America which really gives the story a global scope. Especially frightening are the different methods used by various governments for dealing with the threat.
Listening to this book gave me shivers up my spine at times and did truly make zombies frightening. If the numbers of zombie books, films and TV shows have left you rather blasé about the living dead, this is one book that could get you to keep biting distance away from strangers and stockpiling water and gas. The only element that stopped this from being perfect was due to the retrospective story element. As each person was telling their story of how they survived the uprising, you knew that they would survive so the jeopardy for that person was lessened. Even though, the picture built by these tales is chilling and excellent. Definitely one of the best audio books I’ve ever listened too.
Recommended for fans of The Walking Dead and Sophie Littlefield. 9 out of 10.


  1. *hides* Usually books do not scare me but if this one scares ya then I am not touching it. I have horrible zombie nightmares

  2. Interesting. I saw this book in a local bookstore and want to read it now after your review.

  3. The podcasts I listen to are sometimes done with a small cast, and I love listening to them that way.

    This sounds like a great read. Thank you for the review! I'd never heard of this one before.

  4. Oh now this sounds like an audiobook I should really get! I love it when there is a cast! Oh maybe I'd get some brrraaaaiiinnnssssss this way. ;)