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World War Z
By Max Brooks
ISBN: 9780307346609
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Date of Publication: 2006

Reader’s Annotation:
Drawing from interviews from survivors of the Zombie War, Max Brooks presents a comprehensive history of how the war changed human civilization forever.

Plot Summary:
It has been over ten years since the outbreak. It has been over ten years since the beginning of the Zombie War or World War Z. Within this time period, the world has changed dramatically. Nations that were once ignored have become great world powers. The great powers of the past now struggle to maintain their survival.

Drawing from interviews from surveyors across the globe, Max Brooks has created two records for future generations. The first being the official United Nations Post-War Commission Report. The second being this book of memoirs that presents the human side of this devastating conflict. Despite the cold-facts of the first report, Brooks hopes that this human history will shed light onto the zombie conflict so that future generations can prevent another outbreak.

Critical Evaluation:
Max Brooks has been successful in creating a world filled with terror and horror. Brooks was inspired by the journalistic endeavors of author Studs Terkel, who used oral accounts to create a history instead of just mere prose. The interview storytelling method is an effective means for creating this world in that the personal stories of these “survivors” feel realistic. The reader is instantly connected to the story because the interviews feel honest and real.

Brooks also uses the inspiration of George Romero’s zombie horror films. Dawn of the Dead and Romero’s non-zombie film, The Crazies, can be seen through how the plague is spread and the human reaction to the disease.  Brooks’s choice for a Romero inspiration is important in that Romero’s zombie films have always presented a humanistic view to the horror, highlighting the problem of mass consumption and commercialism. Romero’s films have become parables of human society, showcasing that terror usually starts with our own greediness and follies.

Young Adult readers will enjoy the zombie element of the book, while mature Young Adult readers will be engaged at the challenging pieces of world political dynamics.

Information about the author:
Max Brooks is the son of legendary director Mel Brooks. A former writer for Saturday Night Live, Brooks’s prose writing career has focused primarily on his love of the zombie horror sub-genre. Brooks is also a voiceover actor and has appeared in various live television programs.

Genre:
Horror/Thriller

Curriculum Ties:
History, Journalism, Alternative History

Booktalking Ideas:
How does history affect our perception of our present?
What would you do to survive the end of the world?

Reading Level/Interest Age:
World War Z is a crossover title. It’s themes of violence would warrant an older teen audience, starting at 16 and Up.

Challenging Issues:

There are no current challenges for this book. The American Library Association’s Guide to Library Materials Challenges is a great resource if the book is challenged in the future.

Potential Issues would include violent situations.

Why did I include this book in the title selections?
The Zombie sub-genre is currently a popular trend in television (The Walking Dead) and in literature (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Warm Bodies). Brooks’s novel is set to be adapted into a film next year. World War Z is different from other zombie books in that its merging of journalistic storytelling techniques with fiction provides a genuinely engrossing read. It’s a great book to entice reluctant readers as the book is primarily interviews instead of just prose.

Reference:
IMDB. (n.d.). Max Brooks. Retrieved from http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0112150/

Bonus Features!

Survival Handbook!

(more…)

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