Don't laugh. There's something serious going on in Brooks's book; I suspect that it's something a little less charmingly global than my brief synopsis above could suggest, but it's serious, nonetheless.
For starters, Brooks's book invites specific political analysis; the US President during the Zombie War(s) is a thinly veiled, heroized Colin Powell, with Howard Dean, referred to as "The Wacko," as VP. Each country's policies are projected about four years forward. For IP wonks, some of these projections may grate. Israel is the first to understand the threat, retreats behind the '67 borders, abandons Jerusalem, and admits any non-infected foreign-born Jew, Israeli descendant, or Palestinian descendant (sparking a briefly invoked Israeli civil war). The Muslim world gets an even briefer mention: Iran tries to close its borders, but due to some miscommunication, Pakistan launches, and Iran responds with, nuclear missiles. And these globals tales end up being the more episodic elements in this episodic book; the narrative momentum in the war against the zombies takes place in America.
This is all too easy, and all too easy to criticize. What I think Brooks is trying to express is the recent sense Americans are getting that, well, we're not going to be on top of the world any more. The new challenges will probably not require the war-nerdly anti-zombie armaments that Brooks lovingly describes; I'm hoping that the new challenges won't require anywhere near this book's mortality rates or dictatorial quarantines. But this book taps into some usually submerged part of me that simultaneously fears and desires a showdown, a come-uppance, a change, a clarification, a meaning, a resolution.
Impatience and fear breed zombie stories.