World War Z

World War Z


Max Brooks

Teachers and parents! Our Teacher Edition on World War Z makes teaching easy.

World War Z Characters


After the zombie war ended, the narrator traveled the world interviewing many people who had a role to play in the war, and then collected and organized the interviews into this book. In the introduction… read analysis of Narrator

Todd Wainio

Wainio, a soldier in the U.S. Army, discusses the soldier’s perspective of the war against the zombies. The narrator clearly believes that this is an important perspective since he includes four of Wainio’s interviews… read analysis of Todd Wainio

Maria Zhuganova

Zhuganova was a soldier with the Russian army in the days when the virus was just beginning to spread in Russia, and most people didn’t know about it, including Zhuganova and her fellow soldiers. She… read analysis of Maria Zhuganova

Paul Redeker / Xolelwa Azania

Paul Redeker is the famous South African who came up with the Redeker Plan to help in the fight against the zombies. He had first attracted the attention of the South African government in… read analysis of Paul Redeker / Xolelwa Azania

General Raj-Singh

One of the much-admired heroes of the novel. He is famous among armies all over the world for coming up with the square formation to fight the zombies so soldiers could face the enemy on… read analysis of General Raj-Singh
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Captain Chen

The captain of the submarine that defects from China during the war. His story is narrated by Admiral Xu Zhicai, who clearly admires Chen’s principles and leadership skills. When Captain Chen saw that China… read analysis of Captain Chen

Breckinridge “Breck” Scott

Scott developed a fake vaccine called Phalanx during the zombie outbreak and falsely marketed it as a cure for the zombie virus. He understood that the American people were terrified of this disease and exploited… read analysis of Breckinridge “Breck” Scott

Mary Jo Miller

Miller was a suburbanite who was preoccupied with day-to-day worries and didn’t pay much attention to the zombie crisis on the news until the night when zombies burst into her house and attacked her family… read analysis of Mary Jo Miller

Jurgen Warmbrunn

Warmbrunn, an Israeli agent, was among the first to pay close attention to early reports of zombies from around the world, and to caution his government against the imminent threat. He says that, as a… read analysis of Jurgen Warmbrunn

Travis D’Ambrosia

General D’Ambrosia, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, explains that while the U.S. Army certainly didn’t do their job and protect the people of America like they should have, they had to answer to both the… read analysis of Travis D’Ambrosia

Fernando Oliveira

Oliveira was a Brazilian doctor who used to perform illegal organ transplants before the zombie outbreak. His patients were often from privileged nations from Europe and North America, and he got most of his organs… read analysis of Fernando Oliveira

Jacob Nyathi

Nyathi witnessed the first big zombie attack on people which captured the world’s attention. This occurred early one morning in a small township outside of Cape Town, South Africa, among the huts and shanties in… read analysis of Jacob Nyathi

Kondo Tatsumi

In Japan, the narrator meets Tatsumi, a warrior monk who has fought zombies in hand-to-hand combat. He tells the narrator that he used to be a socially awkward teenager who spent all his time online… read analysis of Kondo Tatsumi

Tomonaga Ijiro

Ijiro founded Japan’s Tatenokai, or Shield Society, and teaches hand-to-hand combat. He lost his eyesight when he watched the nuclear bomb go off when he was a young boy, and is considered hibakusha, or… read analysis of Tomonaga Ijiro

Jesika Hendricks

Hendricks was part of the American population that wasn’t in the safe zone. She was a young teenager at the time of the outbreak, and her family decided to head north, to the snowy regions… read analysis of Jesika Hendricks

Terry Knox

Knox was commander of the International Space Station during the zombie war. He and his crew decided to stay in space to man the satellites that might help the war effort, despite knowing that they’d… read analysis of Terry Knox

Stanley MacDonald

MacDonald is a Canadian army veteran, and is among the first who saw zombies outside of China. He and his team were investigating the drug trade in Kyrgyzstan when they found chewed up human remains… read analysis of Stanley MacDonald

Kwang Jingshu

A conscientious Chinese doctor who is involved in postwar reconstruction efforts despite his age and injuries. He is one of the first to have documented the effects of the virus after encountering the infection in… read analysis of Kwang Jingshu

Saladin Kader

A young Palestinian who used to harbor great anger against the Israelis and refused to go to Israel when they offered refuge to Palestinians during their voluntary quarantine. Kader’s father, who was a janitor in… read analysis of Saladin Kader

The American President

The President of the United States at the time of the war is described as a soft-spoken but steely leader. The Whacko says he was a man of principles who insisted on holding elections even… read analysis of The American President

Father Sergei Ryzhkov

Ryzhkov used to be a chaplain in the Russian Army and volunteered to take on the responsibility of shooting soldiers who got bitten by zombies since this was an unpleasant task that no one else… read analysis of Father Sergei Ryzhkov

Roy Elliot

A famous filmmaker before the outbreak, Elliot makes movies during the war that aim to make American citizens feel hopeful again. He primarily intends to combat a psychological syndrome called ADS (Apocalyptic Despair Syndrome or… read analysis of Roy Elliot

Christina Eliopolis

Eliopolis, a tough air force pilot and colonel, worked to transport goods and supplies to remote army and civilian outposts during the war. On one such trip, her plane exploded in the air and she… read analysis of Christina Eliopolis

Michael Choi

Choi is the Master Chief Petty Officer of the U.S. Navy. He is stationed in Hawaii, where he conducts diving missions to kill the underwater zombies that survive on the ocean floor. The narrator interviews… read analysis of Michael Choi

T. Sean Collins

Collins worked in private security before the war and was hired by a millionaire during the outbreak to guard him and his friends in his secure mansion. One night, other people who were terrified of… read analysis of T. Sean Collins

Patient Zero

The first documented case of the zombie virus. Kwang Jingshu is called in to a remote village where he encounters this 12-year-old boy who had been bitten in the foot while swimming in the waters… read analysis of Patient Zero

Philip Adler

Adler, a German soldier who was fighting zombies in Hamburg, was furious when General Lang ordered him to abandon civilians to the zombies and head elsewhere with his troops. Adler is a principled and conscientious… read analysis of Philip Adler

Gavin Blaire

A blimp pilot, Blaire describes the scenes of panic and chaos that he witnessed as he flew over American freeways. People were desperate to get away from infested places and had packed their families and… read analysis of Gavin Blaire

Ajay Shah

Shah describes his attempt to escape the infestation in India by trying to get on a ship and head out to sea. At the shipyard, he witnessed the best and worst of humanity. Panicked and… read analysis of Ajay Shah


Sharon is now an adult but is in a rehabilitation facility for feral children—young children who grew up without their parents during the outbreak and do not have any social or language skills. The narrator… read analysis of Sharon

Bob Archer

Archer is the post-war director of the CIA, and tells the narrator that the administration that was in charge during the early days of the outbreak used the CIA to further their politics but didn’t… read analysis of Bob Archer

Nury Televaldi

Televaldi smuggled people out of China during the outbreak. He says that many Chinese citizens were desperate to leave because the virus was rapidly spreading inside the nation, and they were also terrified at the… read analysis of Nury Televaldi

Bohdan Taras Kondratiuk

Kondratiuk describes how Ukraine enacted the Redeker Plan. In order to separate the infected and destroy them, they bombed part of the population with nerve gas. Everyone who wasn’t infected died, and when the infected… read analysis of Bohdan Taras Kondratiuk

“The Whacko”

The Vice President of the United States during the years when the crisis was at its worst. He and the American President formed a great team that took effective steps to address and, finally, solve… read analysis of “The Whacko”

Arthur Sinclair

Sinclair was director of the newly formed American governmental agency called the Department of Strategic Resources, or DeStRes. His job was to fix the problems of “starvation, disease, [and] homelessness” in the safe zone in… read analysis of Arthur Sinclair

Grover Carlson

Carlson was the White House chief-of-staff during the early days of the outbreak. Rather than taking any steps to solve the zombie crisis, Carlson was only focused on staying in power. As a result, the… read analysis of Grover Carlson

Ahmed Farahnakian

Farahnakian used to be an army general in Iran, and explains how Iran and Pakistan ended up in a nuclear war fueled by the refugee crisis during the zombie outbreak. There was a breakdown in… read analysis of Ahmed Farahnakian

Darnell Hackworth

Runs a canine retirement center for dogs that fought in the war against the zombies. He tells the narrator how the dogs played a big part in the war by being able to sniff… read analysis of Darnell Hackworth

Joe Muhammad

Muhammad volunteered to be part of the Neighborhood Security Team during the outbreak. He is disabled and is on a wheelchair, but he doesn’t let that stop him from volunteering to help when help is… read analysis of Joe Muhammad

Barati Palshigar

A woman who worked on Radio Free Earth during the war. Along with her hard-working team, Palshigar broadcasted useful information in different languages to people all over the world. Radio Free Earth aimed to provide… read analysis of Barati Palshigar

David Allen Forbes

A British writer who describes how some people across the Continent took shelter in ancient castles. The castles’ high walls and other fortifications, which had been built for protection against invaders in medieval times, proved… read analysis of David Allen Forbes

Sardar Khan

Sardar Khan was a road engineer who got pulled into the struggle to destroy a mountain pass that would block the zombies from entering India’s safe zone in the Himalayas. Sergeant Mukherjee needed someone to… read analysis of Sardar Khan

Sergeant Mukherjee

Sergeant Mukherjee is an Indian army sergeant who is tasked with the job of blowing up a mountain pass to prevent zombies from accessing India’s safe zone in the Himalayas. However, he finds many people… read analysis of Sergeant Mukherjee


A Skywatcher who talks to Christina Eliopolis on her radio and helps her escape zombie-infested territory. The narrator discovers that air force psychiatrists believe that Mets is a figment of Eliopolis’ imagination, even though… read analysis of Mets

Hyungchol Choi

Deputy director of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency. He discusses the mystery of what have happened in North Korea during the zombie crisis. The entire population of the country seems to have disappeared, and Choi… read analysis of Hyungchol Choi

General Lang

Philip Adler’s general who ordered him to follow orders to abandon civilians, and threatened him and his men with treason when he refused to do so. General Lang ended up committing suicide after carrying… read analysis of General Lang

Dr. Gu Wen Kuei

Kwang Jingshu’s old army friend who now works at the Institute of Infectious Diseases. Jingshu calls him when he encounters Patient Zero and is confounded by his symptoms, and Gu immediately turns serious, implying… read analysis of Dr. Gu Wen Kuei

The Queen

The Queen of England who stayed back in Windsor Castle to serve the people during the war. She is an example of an honorable leader who is worthy of respect, and is a foil to… read analysis of The Queen


The chairperson of the United Nation’s Postwar Commission Report. She believes that the report should be objective and fact-based rather than based on “the human factor.” When the narrator protests, she tells him to write… read analysis of Chairperson
Minor Characters
Paul Knight
A former CIA agent and Jurgen Warmbrunn’s friend. Like Warmbrunn, he, too, tracked the zombie virus around the world, and compiled the Warmbrunn-Knight Report with Warmbrunn. Knight hand-delivered a copy to the CIA, which was ignored.
Commander Chen
Captain Chen’s son who has joined the rebel forces against the politburo and comes to take his father’s submarine home. Commander Chen is a patriot, like his father—and, like him, realizes that the only way to preserve China’s future is to rebel against the ineffective, corrupt politburo.
Ernesto Olguin
A merchant ship’s master, he attended the U.N.’s Honolulu Conference where the American president convinced other world leaders that it was time for them to attack the zombies and reclaim their countries.
Seryosha Garcia Alvarez
Alvarez explains how Cuba “won” the zombie war and turned into a bustling economic center. Cuba carefully controlled the influx of refugees, and then used their labor and ideas of democracy and enterprise to develop the nation into an international air hub and a thriving economy.
Admiral Xu Zhicai
Xu was part of the naval crew that defected from China under Captain Chen. He is extremely loyal to Captain Chen and speaks of him with admiration.
Rat Face
A man in civilian clothes who suddenly appeared among Maria Zhuganova’s troops one day. He was most likely a government agent who had been sent to keep an eye on the spread of the virus in that region of Russia.
The machine gunner in Maria Zhuganova’s barracks who discovered a zombie and figured out that this was the secret their superiors had been keeping from them. He demanded to go home and check on his family and was shot down by the Spetznatz commandos.
Herr Muller
Fernando Oliveira’s Austrian patient who got infected with the virus when he had an illegal heart transplant. His new heart came from an infected host.
Dr. Silva
A cardiologist who helped Fernando Oliveira perform a heart transplant on Herr Muller. When Muller turned into a zombie, he killed and ate Dr. Silva.
Mrs. Randolph
A woman who was taking shelter against the zombies in the same church as Sharon. She cried when Sharon asked her where her daughter Ashley was, suggesting that Ashley had died in the outbreak.
Andre Renard
A French soldier who worked on clearing the zombies out of the underground tunnels of Paris.
Mrs. Randolph’s dead daughter.
Tim Miller
Mary Jo Miller’s husband.