I did not understand what I was walking into when I went to see World War Z in theaters. It was after the movie that I learned it was a book, which is not the order I prefer to do things. I was, however, sold on the book being far superior to the movie. I would never have thought I would recommend a book about a zombie apocalypse, but here I am. Which I feel is reason enough for you read it, but please continue reading below.
The thing about an oral history is that it is told from many different sides, from all those involved. If you saw the movie you know that isn’t true. You heard a few sides, and a few different experiences, and you saw Brad Pitt miraculously travel the world in the midst of all out terror and war. The book is an oral history, told years later, speaking to doctors, military from several different countries, ordinary citizens, astronauts, government officials. A wide variety of perspectives tell you the story of the zombie apocalypse. Yes, it sounds odd. If science fiction and fantasy aren’t your thing this may seem a stretch, but it really isn’t.
Broken into sections, the book covers the early stages when confusion was running through hospitals and governments trying to determine what the threat was, where it came from and how it spread. Next is the initial panic with people fleeing cities, governments were trying to keep order, and confusion over how to fight the zombies. Then the all out war and fight for survival.
The one downside I found was each time someone’s story ended, I was left wanting to know what happened next to them. There is of course more to the personal stories, beyond what the author gives, allowing just what applies to the given section you happen to be in. There is no doubt the movie can not match up. The best way to have given the book a real chance in film form would be a fake documentary, in the style of the History Channel. That I would have gladly shelled out $12 to see. In the end I’m glad I read the book, and thankful for all those who insisted it was so superior to the movie, ensuring I wouldn’t be searching comparisons.