“World War Z” by Max Brooks

World War Z – An Oral History of the Zombie War is a post-apocalyptic novel written by the American writer Maximillian Michael Brooks. Unlike many other zombie-novels, World War Z is written in a pseudo-documentary manner; Brooks wrote his novel as a UN report about the consequences of a living dead invasion. The book consists of numerous interviews with citizens of different disciplines  scientists, army men, doctors, politicians, criminals, and common people tell their stories of survival, helping to understand the scale of the disaster and trying to find the reasons behind it. Along with the stories, Brooks analyzes the situation in the world after the war and describes its geopolitical, social, and economical consequences.

The report begins from events that took place in China, when doctor Kwang Jingshu examined a local boy from one of Chinese remote villages – a so-called “zero patient.” By all medical criteria the boy was dead, but at the same time he moved and acted extremely aggressively. According to the doctor’s words, the Chinese government could have known about the unknown disease, as the military biological protection brigade arrived almost immediately after his report about this case. Later, China, in order to hide the epidemic, provoked a military conflict with Taiwan.

As the disease spreads across the world (transmitted by refugees from already contaminated areas), different countries took different measures to fight it. According to Brooks, the USA were among those countries that suffered the most of all. The entire territory of the United States except the western coast and Rocky Mountains had been occupied by zombies; the situation was a bit better in Alaska, where the cold climate was a natural barrier for zombies, whose dead bodies simply froze so that they could not move, though were still active.

Iran and Pakistan started a horrible nuclear war between each other, as both sides did not believe in the zombie invasion, treating all cases of contamination as provocations. As a result, the climate on the whole planet changed, winters became longer and colder. Israel, on the contrary, was among those countries which suffered less; from the very beginning this country treated all messages about the threat seriously, and took all possible preventive measures. As a result, people from nearby regions took cover in Israel and managed to survive. Cuba appeared to be the only country which only benefited from the pandemic: due to its insularity, it remained a safe zone for many people including USA citizens; later, they started to work for Cuba and brought it to economic prosperity.

Perhaps Russia and North Korea garnered the most peculiar results from the war. Russia had turned into a theocratic totalitarian state, where priests had excessive power. Russia returned to the imperial form of government, conquered Belarus, and planned to consume Ukraine. As for North Korea, all of its 23 million people had disappeared almost immediately after the beginning of the pandemic. And even after the war, no one knew what happened: Korean defense systems were automatic, so it was difficult to do any research in the region.

The world did not remain the same after the war. China turned into a federation, the European Union merged into one state. Cuba became the new superpower. Though there still remained billions of active zombies all over the world – mostly in oceans, as dead bodies did not require oxygen to breathe – humankind slowly regained and cleansed lost territories. In the end of each winter, hundreds of thousands of zombies on the ground defrosted and thus possessed severe danger, but people exterminated them. The pandemic caused several new psychological disorders, such as “the syndrome of the last man” and “quislings.” Quislings was characterized as biologically healthy people who believed that they were infected; they started to behave as zombies and attacked normal people. So did the people with “the syndrome of the last man”: they believed that they were the only survivors from the apocalypse, and tried to kill everyone else. But, despite all these consequences, the humanity won World War Z.

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