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World War Z

World War Z

by Max Brooks

Warfare Theme

If you couldn't guess by a visit to our "Shout-outs" section, Max Brooks loves him some military-grade weaponry. But the theme of warfare goes a little deeper than just fancy boomsticks. World War Z dissects many different aspects of warfare. The novel focuses on the consequences war has on the individual soldiers who fight it. But it also enlarges the personal to show war's consequences on humanity as a whole. War damages societies, as it drains resources and unveils humanity's greater evils. But war can produce one good: people come together.

Questions About Warfare

  1. Why do you suppose the novel puts such an emphasis on warfare and the military life? Why does the novel have more characters in military jobs than any other? How do you feel the novel portrays this lifestyle?
  2. The only characters who return for more than one chapter—Todd Wainio and Travis D'Ambrosia—both served in the military during the zombie war. Why do you think the novel followed these characters throughout the zombie war while never returning to the others?
  3. Why do you think the novel made the zombie war a world war and not just confined to a certain country or continent? What purpose does the world war part of the title serve in relation to the theme of warfare?
  4. How is the zombie war different than any other war (besides the zombie combatant part)? How is it similar to other wars you've learned about? Comparing these two, does this tell you about the theme of war in the novel?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Although titled World War Z, the conflict isn't technically a war. A war has to take place between two political entities, and zombies have no politics—unless the even distribution of brains to snack on counts as a political platform.

The various effects of war suggest a conservative American political point of view. Russian, China, and Muslim countries (like Iran) don't fare so well—but Britain, America, and Israel all benefit from the war (well, benefit in comparison to everyone else). And Cuba prospers only because it adopts an American economic model.

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