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File: World War ...

Considering everyday life mundane, Tony prefers to spend most of his time absorbed in fictional worlds that stimulate his imagination. Tony is a geek through and through, and his love for comic books, science fiction, heavy metal, and video games knows no bounds. He uses his natural writing talent and communication skills to express to the world why it's awesome to live a geek-centric lifestyle. Tony is a former contributor to DualShockers and current executive editor for The Koalition.

File: World War ...


World War Z is a novel by Max Brooks which chronicles the fictional "World War Z" or "Zombie World War". It is a follow-up to his previous book, The Zombie Survival Guide. The book was released on September 12, 2006.Through a series of oral interviews, Brooks, as an agent of the United Nations Postwar Commission, describes the history of 'World War Z'. Although the origin of the zombie pandemic is unknown, the story begins in China after an unknown creature bites a young boy (who becomes the official Patient Zero). The Chinese government attempts to contain the infection and concocts a crisis involving Taiwan to mask their activities. The infection is spread to other countries by the black market organ trade and by refugees. Many countries close their borders without their inhabitants knowing it, until an outbreak in South Africa finally brings the plague to public attention.As the infection spreads, only Israel initiates a nationwide quarantine and closes its borders. Pakistan and Iran destroy each other in a nuclear war after Iran attempts to stem the flow of refugees from Pakistan by blowing up a central bridge, effectively stemming over half of refugee traffic. The United States of America does little to prepare; although special forces teams are used to contain initial outbreaks, a widespread effort never starts as the nation is sapped of political will by several "brushfire wars", and an ineffective and fraudulently marketed placebo vaccine has created a false sense of security. When the world recognizes the true scope of the problem, a period known as the "Great Panic" begins. The United States Army sends a task force to Yonkers, New York, in a high-profile military campaign intended to restore American confidence in their army. However, the military relies upon Cold War tactics, weapons intended to disable vehicles, and the wounding or demoralization of human opponents: these have no effect on an undead force that uses wave attacks, has to be shot in the head to be stopped, and has no fear of death. As a result the soldiers are routed on live television. Other countries suffer similarly disastrous defeats, and human civilization teeters on the brink of collapse.

In South Africa, the government adopts a plan drafted by ex-apartheid government official Paul Redeker, which calls for the establishment of small "safe zones", areas surrounded by natural boundaries and cleared of zombies. Large groups of refugees are to be kept alive outside the safe zones to distract the hordes of undead, allowing those within the safe zones time to regroup. Various governments worldwide adopt their own versions of the "Redeker Plan" or evacuate to safer foreign territory. Since zombies are known to freeze solid in the cold, many civilians in North America flee to the wilds of northern Canada; approximately 11 million people die, many from starvation and exposure and some resort to cannibalism to survive. A member of the ISS crew in orbit around Earth describes 'mega swarms' of millions of zombies in the Americas and in Asia.

Brooks uses the term "pre-war" to refer to the time before the first infection of the Class Four outbreak, which is the main focus of the novel. The pre-war world largely reflects the modern real world. Some events that Brooks refers to in the pre-war take place in the near future. While there is no mention in World War Z of any encounters with zombies before the initial outbreak, in The Zombie Survival Guide the author does include a number of references to minor and moderate-sized outbreaks that occur during this time period. Brooks has not stated if these two timelines are identical, but The Zombie Survival Guide is a real book in the World War Z timeline, as it is referred to indirectly. The flap copy on the hardcover edition's dust jacket is written from an in-universe perspective and mentions The Zombie Survival Guide directly.

Because of the level of denial that the USA was in over the nature of the zombie threat through the first winter, the American public was more or less just as unprepared (despite having more time and intel than most nations, and one of the world's most powerful military). No large-scale warning was made, and due to the media-as-big-business culture in the United States at the time, many news outlets had treated warnings of the zombie plague as simply another disease outbreak like Ebola or SARS outbreaks of previous years. After the initial "buzz" wore off (due to Phalanx, causing most to believe it was under control), the media simply stopped reporting about it and moved on to the next big celebrity news, etc. As a result, the first that many typical middle-class suburban Americans knew of the undead threat was when zombies came crashing through their living room windows. Soon, the number of zombies was increasing exponentially. In May, a female reporter finally broke the news that the zombie epidemic was real, and that Phalanx was just a placebo and not a real vaccine against the zombie plague. Genuine mass panic and widespread anarchy set in, with "wannabe Rambos" shooting anything that moved, and doing as much, if not more, damage as the actual zombies.

It is implied that tribal groups such as South American Indians, Zulu of Southern Africa and Māori of New Zealand fared surprisingly well. One character relates an anecdote about the Māori taking on half of the Auckland horde, using traditional tribal weapons, did much better than the world's various military forces or Western civilians.

The political map of the world changed over the course of the war. The superiority enjoyed by "Western civilization" was completely up ended, and Cuba and Tibet emerge as the two powerhouse nations of post-war Earth. China went from being the world's most dynamic and rapidly growing economic power pre-war, to being one of the nations most severely damaged by the undead. Brooks' vision of this new world order is dark, with casualties in the billions, but as the world rebuilds, there remains hope.

The only country to recognize the implications of the zombie threat early on, Israel literally walling off all of its land-borders with a massive perimeter fortification of reinforced concrete, simply dubbed "The Wall". All children of Israeli-born parents, non-Israeli Jews, and unsurprisingly, all Palestinians and descendants of 1948 Palestinians who lived abroad were allowed to seek shelter within Israel after careful screening. Originally, most of the world openly condemned them for these actions, particularly its Muslim-controlled neighbors, who claimed on the Al-Jazeera television network it was a Zionist lie and Israel was faking the story to cover up military retreats. At the very least, inviting in Palestinians before closing its borders prevented neighboring Muslim countries (who didn't believe in the zombie threat) from outright declaring war against Israel. Despite some difficulties, this self-imposed quarantine was a life-saving step for the country.

In building the protective wall, the country's borders shrunk nearly to their pre 1967 size, due to the fact that the entrance to Jerusalem wasn't fortified. This was done to retract to a more defensible border, as well as (combined with letting Palestinians back in) an attempt to convince the world that the Wall was honestly being built as a defense against zombies, and not to secure territorial conquests. The loss of Jerusalem, coupled with the invitation of shelter to all Palestinians, sparked a civil war within Israel. The Orthodox Jew population rose up against Israel's coalition government, but are easily defeated by the Israel Defense Force (due to the fact that the rebels had previously refused military training on religious grounds). Like the United States, Israel established a coalition government during the zombie epidemic.

Iceland is mentioned as being completely overrun and having one of the world's highest concentrations of undead, as it provided a haven for a multitude of refugees from Europe but had almost no military power to fight the spread of the undead. Finland was another zombie-overrun country. However, clearing operations were in progress at the time of the author's tour. Refugees came to Iceland and Finland so the zombies would freeze, but these countries could not handle the sudden influx of civilians and infected. The refugees didn't live to see the first winter.

Russia was badly affected by the zombie outbreak. Owing to the country's size, the Russians were forced to contend with roaming zombie hordes from Eastern Europe, China, and the countries of Central Asia. The Russian military, despite being a significant military power in the world, fared little better than the U.S. and Chinese militaries, and eventually it erupted into rebellion, in response to which the Ministry of Defense instituted a policy of Decimation. The Russian military retreated to a Safe Zone in Siberia, abandoning their territory west of the Ural Mountains, which due to its high population was heavily infected (combined with bordering the zombie hordes from other populous countries in Western Europe). The only real advantage Russia had was the mountains of weapons and ammunition left over from the Soviet Union. While this meant that the Russian military could continue to function even after most of their industrial base for producing new weapons was overwhelmed, it also meant that many units were sent into battle with nothing but WWII-vintage Mosin-Nagant bolt-action rifles . Such primitive weapons and the sheer size of Russian territory made it impossible to use the tactics employed in many other parts of the world, particularly luring zombie hordes toward reinforced squares. Instead, the fighting was characterized as a close-quarters brawl with massive casualties. Russia did have a second "advantage" of a sort in its old ally "General Winter": even the massive zombie hordes pressing north from China would be slowed by the colder temperatures of Siberia. Even so, after their massive losses in the first year of the war, the Russians had to resort to walling off their remaining cities so they coulld be cleared incrementally. The Russian population was so drastically reduced that even within the small remaining population, only a tiny handful of fertile women managed to survive through the end of the war, without succumbing to combat, malnutrition, abuse, drugs, or sexually transmitted diseases. With fertile women now considered a precious and finite resource, many volunteered for government breeding programs to serve as broodmares to attempt to make up for the drastic population loss. Ironically, while Siberia served as Russia's Safe Zone during the war - while zombie hordes from Western Europe battered the mountain passes in the Urals - Siberia itself was never fully cleared of zombies. Inherently, isolated zombies that froze solid in the vast unguarded wastes of Sibera would go unnoticed for years, so it is still technically a "White Zone" even a decade after the official end of the war. The United States and international task force offered to help clear Siberia, as it was doing in other parts of the world such as Canada and Finland, but the Russians refused to let foreign troops inside of its borders. 041b061a72


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