Study Guide

World War Z Chapter 1

By Max Brooks

Chapter 1


  • The Interviewer opens with a discussion of what he refers to as "'The Zombie War'" (1.1.1). This immediately breaks the unspoken commandment that thou shall not utter the word zombie in a zombie story.
  • This Zombie War has passed, and the Interviewer was tasked to write the United Nation's Postwar Commission Report on said conflict.
  • Unfortunately, once finished, he found half of his work trashed by the commission's chairperson.
  • The chairperson's reason: "'It was all too intimate'" with "'[t]oo many opinions, too many feelings'" (1.1.3). Well, duh. Who wants to read about people's feeling during the one of the most tragic events in fictional human history, anyway?
  • Based on the chairperson's snarky suggestion, the Interviewer decides to just write a book and do things his way.
  • Some might argue it's too soon to write such a book, what with China just declaring victory against the zombie hordes about ten years ago.
  • But the Interviewer believes it's his duty to get this information from those who lived though it while they remain un-dead and not, you know, undead.
  • The Interviewer concludes that he'll try to maintain an invisible a presence as possible during the proceedings. Instead, he'll let the human factor of those he's interviewing drive this book.