World War Z "An Oral History of the Zombie War" is on an orange and brown background.

World War Z is the oral history of the Zombie War, written by Max Brooks. It is also was a New York Times Bestseller. It is my understanding that this book was turned into a movie (or maybe two movies), but I haven’t seen those yet.

The book starts with an unnamed character. He gathered up the stories of the survivors of World War Z, and sent his findings to a commission – which promptly removed all the stories and instead focused on hard facts. This made the unnamed character very frustrated. His “boss” told him to write a book about those stories that he had gathered. And so, he did.

World War Z is interesting in a number of ways. It was first published in 2006, long before the COVID-19 pandemic. And recently, I’ve seen people post on social media about a “zombie plague” (or words similar in effect) which appears to be their attempt to point out that COVID-19 didn’t go away.

As such, the unnamed character compiled the stories he got from people he interviewed shortly after World War Z had ended. It appears to have started in China, and then quickly spread across the globe.

The first story came from a doctor in China who was called to investigate a twelve-year-old boy who was described as “Patient Zero”. He had been locked inside a house, hands and feet bound, and a gag in his mouth. The villagers outside were terrified of this child, and several others were on cots in the new communal meeting hall.

The doctor examined the boy, with the help of two large villagers. The boy’s skin was gray, his eyes wild, and it certainly looked like he was the one who had bitten the villagers who were resting on cots.

Of course, this wasn’t the only place where a zombie appeared. It was happening around the globe. People who were bitten tried to hide it, and some governments forcibly removed refugees who tried to enter their countries. One example was a group of caged dogs that would watch the refugees walk past them. If the dogs barked, the person was pushed into a van and taken…somewhere.

Eventually, various militaries were enlisted to take out the “Zeds”. There’s a story from a man in Denver, Colorado, who was in the military and lucky enough to be in one that supplied the troops with armor that was hard to chew through. It’s one of the stories that I found to be very interesting.

And, of course, there were people doing shenanigans. In parts of this book, medical personnel were describing the zombie plague as “rabies”. So, a guy made a vaccine for “rabies” that he knew didn’t work at all against zombie bites. His goal was to make money off the situation.

People who were fleeing areas where zombies were active got in their vehicles and drove away. They carried as much canned food as they had in their house, which didn’t last as long as they had hoped it would. Eventually, people’s vehicles ran out of gas. Some families were stuck in a park after their fuel ran out. Many brought items that were now useless because there was nowhere to plug electronics into.

On the brighter side of things, as the Zombie War went on, a filmmaker made some movies that helped uplift the spirits of people who were trying to survive. It went into theaters across the United States, and people lined up to watch it. Several of them watched it more than once. The purpose of the movie was to give people a reason to live at a time when many were – choosing not to.

There’s a whole lot more going on in World War Z. I don’t want to spoil it for you. There’s plenty of other stories to be found in this book. It’s definitely not for the squeamish. Personally, I found the problem-solving that many of the stories used to help keep people safe and alive to be innovative and interesting.

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