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World War Z: The Complete Edition (Movie Tie-in Edition)

An Oral History of the Zombie War

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Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Winner, Multi-Voiced Performance, 2014

World War Z: The Complete Edition (Movie Tie-in Edition): An Oral History of the Zombie War is a new version of Max Brooks' episodic zombie novel. The abridged versions of the original stories are now joined with new, unabridged recordings of the episodes that were not included in the original (abridged) version of the audiobook. These additional episodes feature a star-studded cast of narrators to coincide with the upcoming release of the film.

New narrators include Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese, Spiderman star Alfred Molina, The Walking Dead creator Frank Darabont, rapper Common, Firefly star Nathan Fillion, Shaun of the Dead's Simon Pegg, and members of the casts of Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Heroes and more! Max Brooks will be reprising his role as The Interviewer.

The original abridged edition, released in 2006, won an Audie Award for Best Multi-Voiced Performance. Original cast members include Alan Alda, Mark Hamill, Carl & Rob Reiner, and John Turturro.

In this new classic of apocalyptic fiction that feels all too real, the Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. The documentary-style oral history records the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time.

Featuring five more hours of previously unrecorded content, this full-cast recording is read by F. Murray Abraham, Alan Alda, René Auberjonois, Becky Ann Baker, Dennis Boutsikaris, Bruce Boxleitner, Max Brooks, Nicki Clyne, Common, Denise Crosby, Frank Darabont, Dean Edwards, Mark Hamill, Nathan Fillion, Maz Jobrani, Frank Kamai, Michelle Kholos, John McElroy, Ade M’Cormack, Alfred Molina, Parminder Nagra, Ajay Naidu, Masi Oka, Steve Park, Kal Penn, Simon Pegg, Jürgen Prochnow, Carl Reiner, Rob Reiner, Henry Rollins, Jeri Ryan, Jay O. Sanders, Martin Scorsese, Paul Sorvino, David Ogden Stiers, Brian Tee, John Turturro, Eamonn Walker, Ric Young, and Waleed Zuaiter.

©2006 Max Brooks (P)2012 Random House
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What the critics say

"What happens after the end of the world as we know it? Humanity rebuilds, and Kirby Impoinvil (Max Brooks) is there to help survivors make sense of what happened the day the zombies came. Helping author Brooks is a host of family friends, including Alan Alda, Nathan Fillion, Paul Sorvino, Rob Reiner, Carl Reiner, Simon Pegg, John Turturro, and many others. This audio production was released to coincide with the movie of the same name. That it’s a real drama is not surprising given the stellar cast. They don't just read the book, they act it out. And don’t think this is a teen thriller. The zombies serve as a backdrop to the larger story of how humankind reacts to such an unexpected and catastrophic invasion and the inevitable conclusion that millions must be sacrificed to save the rest. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award, 2014. Audies Finalist." (AudioFile magazine)

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What members say

Overall Ratings

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
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Customer Reviews

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5 out of 5 stars
By Braden O'Dowda on 2018-03-30

Brilliant but could expand to its own benifit.

Performance is one of the greatest in audiobooks. If this approach was taken with all audio books the industry would be vastly different. The novel itself is a perfect mental exercise in not only perceiving something fictional, but creating a world that exists after a fictional event. Everything is so real it makes me wish this was three times as long with further detail. If you are iffy about the zombie theme but are interested in apocalyptic events or pandemics, the zombie factor of this book is a canvas upon which it paints a human experience and response. There are areas where I'd like to hear more about, especially Africa, but as a whole this book is a great read

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Utilisateur anonyme on 2017-09-14

My favourite book done right

Loved this. Loved. It. My fave voice actor doing my fave part? Just brilliant.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Kalen on 2019-06-18

The Gold Standard of Audiobooks

Everything about this was excellent. Had doubts at first but the huge cast of characters and excellent performance by each kept me captivated.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Stephen Nordquist on 2019-10-09

I highly recommend this one.

I enjoyed that there were many different narrators, I recognized almost all of them, some are very famous actors, just read the list. The famous director Martin Scorsese narrates a small part. Not a typical novel, but it is very entertaining, and really thats all that matters. I believe anyone would find this work of fiction a good listen.I highly recommend this one .

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5 out of 5 stars
By David K. on 2019-10-04

I really enjoyed this book!

I am a zombie fan and heard that this was a lot better than the movie. Boy howdy, is it ever!

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5 out of 5 stars
By Vanessa Curtz on 2019-10-03

Good if you really like zombies.

Great, realistic depiction of what our world would actually be like if there actually were zombies, but for me, I didnt connect with any characters because each chapter with them was so brief and then we were off to the next interview. If you dont mind that and enjoy world building instead of deep characters, than this book would be fine for you. I finished it a few months ago though and honestly I barely remember any of it.

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5 out of 5 stars
By Sarah on 2019-09-01

Best audiobook I've listened to!

Really enjoyed all the narrators telling their stories. Great premise and truly a unique way to tell a story.
Give it a try!

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5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 2019-08-13


One of the greatest audio books there is! I have enjoyed this one for years, only recently purchasing The Complete Edition. The narration style, based off interviews post war, is very entertaining. The huge cast of well known voice actors adds to the immersion. This book is a must listen/read every year for me. Too bad the movie wasn't even remotely close to being as good as this book. Even if you don't like 'zombies', this is a keeper.

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5 out of 5 stars
By Jason White on 2019-08-07

Wonderful adventure

This was a great story and one of the best audio books I have listened to. The narration was top notch, including a wide variety of great guest narraters and top tier talent. I highly recommend this to any one looking for a fully immersive story to get into.

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5 out of 5 stars
By Sarah Fitz on 2019-06-30

This is what audio books should be

Absolutely wonderful from start to finish ! Makes a total mockery of that lousy movie!

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Customer Reviews

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4 out of 5 stars
By Kim Venatries on 2013-05-22

A Good Story with an All Star Cast but ABRIDGED

First off, I have to say I was “duped” into thinking this was finally the unabridged version of the book. I have a strong aversion to abridged books and probably would not have purchased this had I known it was not the complete work. Having said that, it was still a good listen despite the missing parts. If you never read the print version you probably won’t notice because the story is told in the style of firsthand accounts that are choppy by nature. Think Ken Burns doing a documentary on a worldwide zombie war. All-in-all it is a moving story that is less about zombies than the human spirit, good and bad.

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188 of 203 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Ignatz on 2013-05-18

Will never pre-order again

Would you listen to World War Z: The Complete Edition (Movie Tie-in Edition) again? Why?

I love this book. I mostly love the audio book. I know I will listen again and again, simply because it is so moving and powerful. However, when I pre-ordered this book it was advertised as "unabridged", which is not quite the truth.

1 week later I now get an email stating "... This is an Abridged book, but when you made your purchase, it may have been listed as "Unabridged" on our site, which was in error. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused." Also, chapter 3 has a fairly huge gap in it that readers have picked up on but no one who put the book out seems to be addressing.

Had I known this was still an abridged version of the book, would I still have bought it? Maybe, depending on what had been written about it. I mean, I love this book, so yes, I probably still would have bought it knowing that more of it had been recorded. I just hate being lied to.

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218 of 240 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Ron P on 2018-03-05

Not really a Zombie fan, but ... simply brilliant!

I'm not really a fan of the horror genre, although there was a time when "Night of the Living Dead" made Zombie flicks the exception for me. But it's so played out. Add to that the movie version of this (which basically shares the title only) was so awful, I didn't listen to my friends who recommended the audiobook.

My mistake. This audiobook version, with it’s all-star cast, is spectacular.

The premise of the book is unique -- you know from the get-go that it’s a look back from the perspective of those who survived the zombie war, which is now more or less over. Rather than diminishing the story, knowing that every character is telling his/her story in flashback somehow manages to *increase* the intensity. There are sections that are poignant, cynical, gripping and terrifying. The underwater sequences, for example, are nutso intense.

But the thing that truly makes this audiobook one of the best I’ve heard is the cast. The voice actors are spectacular. *Spectacular*.

This review is in some ways pointless, insofar as most people inclined to listen to it already have. However, if you’ve stumbled on this review as someone who stays away from horror in general and zombies in particular, do yourself a favor – it’s the audiobook equivalent of a summer blockbuster that manages to *exceed* the hype. It’s everything audio dramatizations try to achieve.

It's simply that good.

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14 of 15 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Douglas G Mercer on 2017-10-13

Listed as unabridged when I ordered it: Not really

What you get from this book is wonderful. However, you still aren't getting everything. When I ordered the first version (orange cover) it was missing a significant part of the first eyewitness report, and missing other reports entirely. Then they introduced 2 new audiobooks, one with all the witness reports, and the other, the "Lost Tales", with just the new eyewitness reports.

However, there are still some gaps. For example, with Sinclair's testimony in the book he discusses dirigibles and a failed "Silicon Valley" method to kill the zombles. This is missing from the audiobook.

The following link explains this and other omissions. Bottom line: in the original version they left out some witnesses, and for consistency removed references to the missing witnesses' testimony from the witnesses testimonies they retained. When they made the above edition, they kept the previous recordings and added recordings for the new witnesses, but didn't put back the references they had initially removed in the "old" witness reports.

Someday it would be nice if they went back and fixed the witness recordings from the first version of the audiobook, and finally have something that matches.

All this being said, this is one of my favourite audiobooks.

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12 of 13 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Doug on 2013-05-17

With missing section restored, Now it's great

After restoring the missing section in Chapter 3, now it's a coherent whole. Thanks for working with the publisher to fix a 4 minute gap, which while obviously an easy thing to do, had me worried for a while that it wouldn't be done in the short term. This relatively rapid response is much appreciated.

I think Studs Terkel would be proud. The various performers' interpretation of the text made the messages from the witnesses much more varied, both in voice and in the message. This makes it feel more like independent witnesses than in the original texts, and the emotion in some of the performances was much more moving. Some of the standouts for me included the K9 trainer, the feral young lady being treated and acting out the incident that orphaned her around age 4, Sinclair as acted by Alan Aldo, the performance of Redecker, and the Chinese submariner.

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50 of 57 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Grammar Geek on 2013-05-22

Excellent, but I pre-ordered Unabridged...

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Of course! This is one of the best multiple-cast audiobooks I've heard. There were too many fine performances to count, and it was less an audiobook than a picture-less movie. Along with others, however, I too eagerly pre-ordered as soon as the option became available and am angered by the same issues already raised.

How could, an Amazon company, release an audiobook with an obvious omission of over four minutes? Even more shocking, the missing portion of the recording had already been completed for the (first) abridged version.

What bothers me much more than that, though, is the misrepresentation that this is an unabridged version. Is "Complete" a new pseudonym for "Abridged, but not as abridged as before"? Perhaps this was rushed to market to take advantage of the "Movie Tie-in," prominently featured on the book image. From all reports, this sounds like a great summer action movie featuring Brad Pitt, but far removed from the moving, chilling, thought-provoking novel on which it is based.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

Max Brooks gave an excellent performance, perfectly portraying the reporter--always in the background, but providing a consistency throughout the many stories of "survivors."

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52 of 61 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Dajo on 2019-04-26

5 things to know about this great book

1) I gave this audio book 5 stars so right there you know I think it was very good.
2) this is not the book or the movie. Max brooks plays the reporter interviewing great characters from around the world played by great actors. They scored well with the actors.
3) you do now have to like zombies to like this audio. It is a lot about how society reacts to a crisis, different countries sometimes react the same and sometimes completely different. I liked the character Max Brooks played. He didn’t talk a lot, he let the characters be the stars.
4) you get your moneys worth. It is 12 hours long with a lot of characters, no two the same.
5) after you listen to it and like it as much as I did DO NOT get World War Z the lost files, or you will probably return as I just did. It came out after the Brad Pitt movie in an effort to grab some cash and it is World War Z cut in half. Same characters, same story line, exact same sentences and paragraphs. I listened to about 1/5 of it and couldn’t find one word that was not in World War Z. I’m stunned that anybody got paid off to give it a good review. If you saw Zoolander and remember Will Ferrell’s character saying “doesn’t anyone notice this, I feel like I’m taking crazy pills, it’s the face.” you Get my point.
* again I gave World War Z 5 stars and really liked it.

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7 of 8 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Kaarlo on 2013-05-25

Great add-ons, but not 'unabridged'

Where does World War Z: The Complete Edition (Movie Tie-in Edition) rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This ranks on my top 5 best audiobooks, the different actors/actresses really make this a great listen.

What did you like best about this story?

The realism.

Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Haven't heard any others, unfortunately.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Very much so.

Any additional comments?

The description states this is an 'unabridged' reading, which I took to mean all the people who did the original reading, had come back to fill in the dialogue that got cut from the original. Unfortunately, this isn't the case. All that was done was new actors were brought in to read the chapters not included. Hopefully the site will change the wording.

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20 of 25 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Tango on 2013-07-11

StoryCorps Documents a Pandemic

I can't believe I am saying this, but I LOVED World War Z. I have studiously avoided this book for a while because I really hate zombie literature or movies. Zombies have always seemed the most boring of monsters to me since they have no individuality or personality unlike dragons or ogres or demons. However, I finally succumbed to the buzz and checked out the newest version of World War Z on audio. I decided the cast alone might be worth a credit. Well, that proved to be true - the cast is superb and this is a fabulous audio book. But I also really, REALLY enjoyed the plot, settings, characters in this documentary style presentation of what is called the Zombie War, but could easily be read as the results of a global raging pandemic. Although a virus that could cause reanimation of the dead seems quite unlikely to me, we have certainly seen some virulent forms of viruses that are contagious/infectious and if not properly contained have potential for world wide impact no less than our historical World Wars. And, in listening to this book, it was easy to forget that the subject of World War Z was a fantastical virus because effects of the virus were laid out one story at a time in such a thoughtful manner by Max Brooks. Brooks presents the outcome of this global challenge with personal memories from people all over the planet from all walks of life having been impacted in many different ways - an astronaut watching his world collapse from a safe view in space, a Russian soldier, a Chinese doctor, an American suburbanite, etc. We see one story at a time how the planet's various cultures, political systems, and military respond or are changed or destroyed. The author not only shows how people and our institutions would be impacted, but also how the environment (flora, fauna, and weather) might be affected. He has thought through this scenario in such detail that he includes a story from a man who worked in the K-9 Corps (this was my favorite chapter) which explains in detail how dogs were used very effectively to "smell out" the undead. OK, I will admit I'm crazy about dogs and that's probably why that chapter got to me so much, but I also thought this was a great detail to include. Dogs have been our work mates since before recorded history and have been there with us in every previous challenge to our survival so of course they would be ready, willing, and able to stand with us in a Zombie War! (Doesn't seem far-fetched that dogs with their keen sense of smell and proven ability to detect certain diseases within a person could be useful in fighting a real pandemic.) The personal accounts that make up this book have a sort of StoryCorps or PBS POV feel to them - raw, personal documentary style. And, because there is no "tongue in cheek" reserve built into the dialog and the reactions of people and governments are so true to life it is easy to suspend disbelief and many of the stories are then quite chilling.

The first person perspective for each story makes this book absolutely ideal for a multi-cast audiobook and this is the MOST effective use of that style of presentation that I have listened to. Some of the wonderful actors recording these personal accounts might not actually be good narrators for a standard book with a lot of narrative passages, but there is none of that in World War Z so these actors who can adopt and project a personality so vividly come across as genuine - it sounds like listening to interviews with many real people. These are stellar performances and are delightful to listen to in spite of some of gruesome details. All-in-all, World War Z is a well-written piece of literature that is wonderfully presented in this audio book. I found it immensely entertaining and surprisingly thought provoking.

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37 of 48 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars
By John on 2013-05-18

Great Book. Missing part of 3rd Chapter.

What would have made World War Z: The Complete Edition (Movie Tie-in Edition) better?

Great Book. However there is missing audio in Chapter 3 and it is very important. I e-mailed customer support and this is what they replied to me.

Dear John,

Thank you for contacting Audible. My name is Nickiesha and I’m happy to help.

I am so sorry to hear that some of the audio file is missing from your book "World War Z". I understand how disappointing this must be and I will be happy to help you with this.

Having checked with my content team, they are aware of the issue and are working diligently to have the issue resolved as quickly as possible. Never the less, I have escalated this to the Audio Bug Department to be corrected. We will continue to monitor its status. Depending on the extent of the audio problem, we may be able to resolve this issue internally within about 2 weeks. If we have to request a new copy of the title, this may extend the time until it is resolved.

In the mean time, if you prefer not to wait until the file is repaired, please let us know and we can remove the book from your library and issue you a full refund.

We appreciate your patience and will contact you via email as soon as we have additional information regarding the problem with this title.

If there is anything else that I may assist with please let me know. Once again thanks for contacting Audible and have a great day!

Nickiesha W

Hopefully they ARE working on it, and we won't have to wait long. Until then everyone should wait to buy it.

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40 of 52 people found this review helpful