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5.0 out of 5 stars Erudite, engrossing, and surprisingly literate

I dodged this book for months after my 19-yr-old son told me to read it. I have zero interest in zombie mythos. To my surprise, WORLD WAR Z turned out to be one of the best books I read this year.

Funny and appalling in the right balance, engrossing, well-written, thought-provoking, even educational. I was beyond impressed with Brooks' erudite social and political commentary. And I found it nonpartisan. Brooks skewers all sides on an equal opportunity basis. As a writer, I was astounded by the amount of research that obviously went into this work, and as a reader, I appreciated the excellent quality of the storytelling.

The only thing that keeps me from giving a full five stars: maybe there could have been a little more variety in the voices of those who share their stories. Some really searing moments - particularly the memories of a girl with "the mind of a 4-yr-old," the unscrupulous rationale of the pharmaceutical exec, and a former soccer mom's dispassionate view of her old lifestyle - stand out because they depart from the hard-boiled tone, and I wished there was more of that.

It could be argued, however, that the unanimously shell-shocked feel is more powerful than any oovy-groovy character-driven melodrama would have been. And even though it leaves some characters less textured than others, that documentary "just the facts, ma'am" tone works fantastically well throughout the book to keep up a relentlessly engaging pace.

So what the hell, I'll give it five stars after all. And I'll be interested to see what Max Brooks writes next.

Originally posted on as Joni L. Rodgers


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