Book Review [ Flashback ]: “The End is Near”

James Luna, Staff Writer

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World War Z is an apocalyptic horror novel by Max Brooks. The book has experienced critical
reception and has been a massive hit. It has even been turned into a movie featuring Brad Pitt,
although the only similarities between the book and the film are the name and zombies
appearing.
The book was written to be a serious expansion on Brook’s earlier work, The Zombie Survival
Guide, which was satirical in nature. In contrast, World War Z is a brutal, gritty book with
detailed looks into human society and how the world would react to such a threat.
The story is relatively simple at first. A zombie virus has been found within China, but outbreaks
happen infrequently throughout the country. In order to save face, the Chinese pretend to be
putting down rebellions and fighting Taiwan.
Due to China’s role as the lead exporter of illegal human organs, the infection is spread to the
rest of the world. After this, the story lacks a clear narrative, instead opting for the viewpoints of
money, such as the one who designed the evacuations plans in Africa, or American soldiers
who had to blow bridges full of people, or even the Cubans who had become a world
superpower after the outbreaks. Notable events include the Great Panic, where the zombies
became mainstream media, causing chaos allowing more of the zombies to spread, North
Korea completely disappearing, a nuclear war between Iran and Pakistan, and The Battle of
Yonkers. The Battle of Yonkers was particularly important. Originally in the United States, they
had covered the outbreak up and invented placebo cures. This led to New York City falling and
the following battle, the Battle of Yonkers occurring. In an effort to keep public morale, they
staged a battle at Yonkers. Unfortunately, the military treated it as more of a publicity stunt,
ineffectively gearing for the battle just for appearances. This led to a massive loss, where all of
the Eastern United States was abandoned and left for dead.
Following this, Israel had completely retreated and walled themselves in during the whole time
period. France, Britain, Germany, they all fell. For the next five years, humanity waited and
gathered supplies. Many civilians were told to up north, as the zombies completely freeze over.
This also led to much death in the north, causing all of Iceland to become a massive zombie
zone.
Once time had passed, the United States President went on the offensive, sending out a
massive line of soldiers across the United States to clear it out. After three years they had
reclaimed America. Other countries followed suit. Russia had reverted to fewer than 100,000
people and had transformed into an empire with a strict adherence to religion. China had only

50,000 people left and had lost all infrastructures. Mexico was renamed to Aztlan due to
leadership. Japan now had a new military division focused entirely on the blade.
Overall I would say this book is a solid 10/10. It references many theoretical outcomes to the
war, and has many different events that potentially could happen. Rather than being a horror
book about zombies, it reads more of an alternate history. The book is written through
interviews, none of it is in first person, as the author is writing this to show people the full war. It
is very heavy on contemplating human nature and war. From different people to different
countries, it is an experience that is more akin to a documentary than a book and feels as if you
are reading history not fiction. The events were very believable, regarding how the media covers
it up and how people made money by scandals during the war. It is especially accurate on the
state of the world. It doesn’t go soft on this topic. The United States are mostly lost, Cuba is the
World Superpower, China is gone, North Korea is gone, and Russia is more medieval. Really,
World War Z paints a picture of a very different, but eerily possible, world. It isn’t the story of
humanity reclaiming the world; it is a story of desperation and truth.
One problem I have with the book is that it is too short. There are a many good things left
unexplored, such as the French campaign, and how other countries were doing. It doesn’t
detract from the story because they were never the focus. I wish there was more explanation
about the other campaigns against the zombies. It leaves more to be desired, as we get definite
endings to only the major powers.
World War Z is available on Ibooks and similar apps for $10 and the physical copy should not
be much more expensive. I would completely recommend this book to anyone who isn’t a
typical high schooler, because this book is not a simple zombie book. You need intimate
knowledge of world issues to understand it. Religion, refugees, nuclear war, nuclear winter,
environmental changes, economic changes, and the concept of human nature are all important
to the story. Most readers wouldn’t grasp the importance of these concepts, so for them I would
say pass. The book’s deeper meaning about the world would be lost. If you are savvy to the
ways of the world, then I would say buy it immediately, as you will likely be interested in the
theories regarding human natures and how zombies play into it. If you want to read this book, I
recommend reading up on modern politics and global issues; they will help you understand the
true meaning behind all of the events in this book.

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Book Review [ Flashback ]: “The End is Near”