World War Z

World War Z

by

Max Brooks

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Philip Adler Character Analysis

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 man, and thinking back on how his grandfather’s generation blindly obeyed orders and hurt so many during World War II, he refused to follow Lang’s orders until Lang threatened him and his men with treason. Adler understood more about the Redeker plan later, but didn’t change his mind about it. At the conclusion of the novel, the narrator includes a line from Adler in which he says that they lost “a lot more than just people” in the war, implying that humanity had lost its morality and its honor.

Philip Adler Quotes in World War Z

The World War Z quotes below are all either spoken by Philip Adler or refer to Philip Adler. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Humanity vs. Monstrosity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Three Rivers edition of World War Z published in 2006.
Chapter 4: Turning the Tide Quotes

Now, I am a good soldier, but I am also a West German. […] We were taught since birth to bear the burden of our grandfathers’ shame. We were taught that, even if we wore a uniform, that our first sworn duty was to our conscience, no matter what the consequences. That is how I was raised, that is how I responded. I told Lang that I could not, in good conscience, obey this order, that I could not leave these people without protection. At this, he exploded.

Related Characters: Philip Adler (speaker), General Lang
Related Symbols: Zombies
Page Number: 113
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8: Good-Byes Quotes

We lost a hell of a lot more than just people when we abandoned them to the dead. That’s all I’m going to say.

Related Characters: Philip Adler (speaker), Kwang Jingshu
Page Number: 339
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire World War Z LitChart as a printable PDF.
World War Z PDF

Philip Adler Character Timeline in World War Z

The timeline below shows where the character Philip Adler appears in World War Z. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4: Turning the Tide
Humanity vs. Monstrosity Theme Icon
The Cost of War Theme Icon
Armagh, Ireland. The narrator bumps into Philip Adler at the Pope’s wartime refuge. It is Adler’s first time traveling outside of Germany after... (full context)
Humanity vs. Monstrosity Theme Icon
The Cost of War Theme Icon
When Adler asked for confirmation again, he found himself speaking to General Lang, commander of the entire... (full context)
Humanity vs. Monstrosity Theme Icon
The Cost of War Theme Icon
...at them, calling them liars and cowards. They threw furniture and lamps down on them. Adler fought tears and vowed to kill General Lang when they got out. However, Lang had... (full context)
Chapter 8: Good-Byes
The Cost of War Theme Icon
Armagh, Ireland. Philip Adler says that they “lost a hell lot more than people when [they] abandoned them to... (full context)