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World War Z

By Andrew Lovett-Barron
Published in Reading
June 21, 2021
1 min read

I am irrationally in love with this book. I have read it at least three times, and listened to the audio book many more. It’s a wonderful and heady diversion.

World War Z is framed as the results of an ethnographic study following a global zombie pandemic which nearly resulted in humanity’s extinction. It jumps from China to Korea to Argentina to America to Israel to India to Cuba and elsewhere, recounting the stories of different combatants, leaders and survivors from around the world. Stories include an infantryman who escaped the first big battle outside of New York; a Palestinian professor whose family first survived the outbreak, then the Israeli civil war; an economist who led resource management for what survived of the American state; a Chinese submarine commander reflecting on his commander’s burden.

It’s an absolutely brilliant book, and like the 2020 commission, a really brilliant piece of speculative fiction. Just listening to Max Brooks speak reinforces the depth and thought that went into it.

It’s also wildly indulgent and pretty silly. It’s the default book I go to if I don’t want to think too hard, and just want something familiar and good to fill some time and brain space, while I stew on something else. I’m going to read (and listen) to this book many more times, and I can’t recommend it enough.

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Andrew Lovett-Barron

Software Designer and Researcher

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