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Extended Audio Sample World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, by Max Brooks Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (109,940 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Max Brooks Narrator: A Full Cast Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War is not your typical zombie story. There is little gore or violence. Instead, it chronicles worldwide governmental responses to a world-changing event that comes close to completely eradicating humanity.

The book is presented as if it was written by an agent who is working on chronicling the decade-long Zombie War for the United Nations Postwar Commission. The novel itself is the resulting report, composed of facts, figures and personal interviews that document the fall of civilization as we know it.

The zombie apocalypse begins as any plague does, with a Patient Zero. In this case, the epidemic started with a 12-year-old who lived in the village of New Dachang in the United Federation of China. From there, mass infection and panic begins to spread and rash political decisions are made by many leaders worldwide. Socioeconomic consequences soon begin to follow, and these are what the book focuses on.

Telling these stories through the guide of a fictional war with zombies allows author Max Brooks to explore the ideologies of different countries and to critique their reactions to issues that put their citizens at risk. The book compares and contrasts the reactions of those in different regions, and provides a commentary on the modern worldwide political landscape without addressing it directly.

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, published in 2006, is a follow-up to The Zombie Survival Guide which was published in 2003. Brooks is a novelist and screenwriter. While his books have focused on zombies, he's best known for his years as a staff writer for Saturday Night Live.

This audiobook version of World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War features an ensemble cast including high-profile names such as Alan Alda, Mark Hamill and John Turturro.

“The end was near.” –Voices from the Zombie War

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.

Ranging from the now infamous village of New Dachang in the United Federation of China, where the epidemiological trail began with the twelve-year-old Patient Zero, to the unnamed northern forests where untold numbers sought a terrible and temporary refuge in the cold, to the United States of Southern Africa, where the Redeker Plan provided hope for humanity at an unspeakable price, to the west-of-the-Rockies redoubt where the North American tide finally started to turn, this invaluable chronicle reflects the full scope and duration of the Zombie War.

Most of all, the audiobook 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 listener, 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Probably the most topical and literate scare since Orson Welles' War of the Worlds radio broadcast. . . . This is action-packed social-political satire with a global view. Dallas Morning News
  • Brooks [is] America’s most prominent maven on the living dead. . . . Chilling. . . . It is gripping reading and a scathing indictment of weak responses to crises real and over-hyped. Hartford Courant
  • “A sober, frequently horrifying and even moving account. . . . Brooks has delivered a full-blown horror novel, laced with sharp social and political observations and loads of macabre, gruesome imagery. . . . The real horror of World War Z comes from the all-too-plausible responses of human beings and governments to the menace. Fangoria

    “A horror fan’s version of Studs Terkel’s The Good War. . . . Like George Romero’s Dead trilogy, World War Z is another milestone in the zombie mythology.
  • This infectious and compelling book will have nervous readers watching the streets for zombies. Recommended. Library Journal
  • An ‘oral history’ of the global war the evil brain-chewers came within a hair of winning. Zombies are among us—turn on your television if you don’t believe it. But, Brooks reassures us, even today, human fighters are hunting down the leftovers, and we’re winning. [His] iron-jaw narrative is studded with practical advice on what to do when the zombies come, as they surely will. A literate, ironic, strangely tasty treat. Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
  • Max Brooks has charted the folly of a disaster response based solely on advanced technologies and brute force in this step-by-step guide to what happened in the Zombie War. He details with extraordinary insight how in the face of institutional missteps and greed, people in unexpected ways achieve unique, creative, and effective strategies to survive and fight back. Brooks’s account of the path to recovery and reconstruction after the war is fascinating, too. World War Z provides us with a starting point, at least, a basic blueprint from which to build a popular understanding of how, when, and why such a disaster came to be, and how small groups and individuals survived. Jeb Weisman, Ph.D.,Director of Strategic Technologies, National Center for Disaster Preparedness
  • Possesses more creativity and zip than entire crates of other new fiction titles. Think Mad Max meets The Hot Zone . . . It’s Apocalypse Now, pandemic-style. Creepy but fascinating. USA TODAY
  • “Prepare to be entranced by this addictively readable oral history of the great war between humans and zombies. . . . Will grab you as tightly as a dead man’s fist. A. Entertainment Weekly, EW Pick
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of a 2007 Audie Award
  • Nominated for the 2012 Abraham Lincoln Award
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • A Washington Post Bestseller
  • A Los Angeles Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Antony | 2/14/2014

    " I tried so hard with this book but eventually I just gave up mind numbingly boring pretentious drivel "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Greg Daly | 2/14/2014

    " Great potential but poorly executed. The story was at times interesting but there was a lot lost in the interview and dialog method. I did not care for this method of the delivery, and ultimately found it boring. Luckily, it was short. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Lisa Delacruz | 2/6/2014

    " Was not really anything I enjoyed, maybe the movie will be better. Read about 25 pages, moving on . "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Candy | 2/2/2014

    " Interesting book. Not usually a huge zombie fan but this was good. The oral history part made for a confusing read at times. The book skipped around a lot and the reader is left to fill in the blanks which is why I gave it 4 stars. Will be interesting to see how the movie turns out. "

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