I heard a lot about this one on the interwebs a while (like, months) ago, and apparently put it on my automatic holds list at the library because, lo and behold, when I wasn't thinking about it at all, there it was. I then proceeded to dawdle over it for more months, piddle around with the first chapters for three or four days, and then down the entire thing in an afternoon.
World War Z is composed of interviews with/statements made by various survivors of the zombie apocalypse. The research that must have gone into this is mindblowing, because it really has a worldwide scope. There are interviews with soldiers from all over the world, civilians, doctors, everyone, through the whole course of the war. Max Brooks must know everything about everything by now.
There are a few recurring names, but no "main characters," and the book benefits from that immeasurably. This isn't "small group gets trapped in Sav-A-Lot with zombies outside," or "young soldier gets caught up in a zombie war," or what-have-you. It's ALL of those. It's kind of an immersive experience, terrifying in its realism. Everyone's affected, and there's nowhere to run.
I was impressed with the range of human behavior included in the book. There were brave people, cowards, good leaders, bad leaders, greedy jerks (to put it tactfully), and selfless heroes. That tends to tell me Mr. Brooks was actually writing a story, not a pamphlet for some agenda, which is always a danger in any book that deals with politics.
World War Z is thorough, gripping, realistic, intense, and a resounding success. Not to mention the words that are rapidly becoming the highest praise I can give a book: well-written.
Buy World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War