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World War Z

World War Z


by Max Brooks

Bob Archer

Character Analysis

Bob Archer is the director the Central Intelligence Agency—which for some reason is still located in Langley, Virginia despite the fact that everything east of the Rookies was abandoned in the zombie wars. You'd think they would set up shop somewhere else, and if they did, then why bothering moving back… ah forget it.

Hollywood has conditioned us to think of spies as either (1) guys doing wet work while wearing swank suits or (2) all-knowing government agencies secretly controlling society on a grand scale. As Archer notes, "This is the image most people had of us before the war, and it's an image we were more than happy to encourage" (3.1.2). As we read Archer's story, we get a completely different outlook.

Archer is another world-building character, and his goal is to show us how agencies like the CIA and MI6 couldn't prevent the zombie war. For a lot of reasons:

• China expertly hid the zombie outbreak from the rest of the world.
• The current administration drained the agency of funds and blamed them for the issues of the last brushfire war.
• With their funds cut, the CIA underwent a "[b]rain drain" (3.1.14). That is, a lot of people with talent went elsewhere to pursue careers that actually had a chance of going somewhere.

After Archer's story, we can completely believe the CIA couldn't have prevented any invasion short of a lemming invasion.

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