Max Brooks – World War Z (2006)

Zombies are the most allegorical of monsters. While mildly frightening in their own right, the true horror of the zombie lies not in the slow, shuffling gait or the yawning, soulless moans, but in what that zombies represent.

In his book, World War Z, Max Brooks establishes an outbreak of the shambling undead as an allegory for all matter of contemporary ills. However, far from being as stilted as that sentence makes it sound, Brooks work manages to be personable and poignant, but never preachy.

The subtitle of this work is “An Oral History of the Zombie War.” Brooks’ usage of fictionalized interviews is a fascinating technique, and keeps the story from dragging along and getting mired in the clichés of the oft-revisited zombie genre.

His interviews manage to push across some very interesting points about the pettiness of humanity, and the horrifying reality of our inability to save ourselves. But far from being a gloomy deconstruction of human nature, Brooks leaves some hope mankind.

Overall, the work is engaging and poignant, and even funny at times, showing that maybe Max inherited some of his father Mel’s comedic chops after all.

–nc

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