Listed here are a number of notable individuals from the novel World War Z.
Vice President "The Whacko": The former vice-president then later President of the United States during the zombie war. Before the outbreak, he was a rising star on the political stage, until he "self-destructed", hence why the media nicknamed him "the Whacko" (an allusion to the Howard Dean yell). After the U.S. relocation behind the Rockies, he was appointed vice president to the newly-appointed "Big Guy" in a bi-partisan administration. His party wanted someone else, but didn't want both a black president and vice president. The Whacko and the Big Guy made a good team, the Whacko was passionate, the Big Guy was logical and calm. The Whacko was usually objecting to some of the more unorthodox solutions to the various problems the country was facing, such as the new Punishment Laws, until the Big Guy made him see the logic behind it. The Whacko eventually became President himself during the U.S. Reclamation or "Road to New York", after the sudden stress-related death of his boss. After V.A. day, the Whacko had wanted to send the U.S. Army to help clear other infested areas, but relented, believing that the Troops had done enough. He did however support the U.N. force that was formed to clear the rest of the world. By the time of Max Brooks's interview, The Whacko lives in semi-retirement at his home in Vermont. He claims that he had the greatest respect for his old boss, and that he could never be replaced.
President "The Big Guy": African-American Vice President during the administration that led to the Great Panic, "the Big Guy" (his name is never stated, though he is strongly implied to be Colin Powell) found himself sworn in as President during the retreat behind the Rocky Mountains, when his predecessor fell into catatonic shock after the Battle of Yonkers. He formed a bi-partisan administration with "The Whacko" as vice president. His first act in office was to take the effort to continue with the elections despite the instability of the government. The Whacko pleaded that he put aside the high ideals and push Congress to grant him extended emergency powers, but the President insisted that those very ideals were what made this country and without them, it would no longer be a future for America. They won in a landslide and throughout the war he would stand as a symbol of hope not just to America, but to desperate people around the globe. A practical leader, the Big Guy enacted policies that seemed radical and un-American, but had a core of pure logic. The single greatest living threat to the country, armed rebels and secessionists, were his greatest burdens, and though he never let on, they took their toll on him. After the United States economy stabilized, the President announced to the world that the U.S. would go permanently on the offensive until it had reclaimed all its territory. When the Army pushed east and began to encounter hostile rebels, whereas The President had the rebels in the safe zone eliminated swiftly, since the ones in infested areas had been literally abandoned, he allowed every rebel group to peacefully reintegrate. The ones who didn't however, had to be stopped, and these burdens weighed the most heavily on the Big Guy. All throughout the War, he was so devoted on insuring that America would have a future that he never even tried to find out what became of his relatives in Jamaica. The stress eventually killed him, and he died in office, to be replaced by the Whacko.
Arthur Sinclair Jr: former Director of the Department of Strategic Resources, or "DESTRES"; currently head of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "Money Police"); Arthur Sinclair Sr. was part of F.D.R.'s New Deal programs.
General Travis D'Ambrosia: Appointed Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff during World War Z, and invented the Resource-to-Kill-Ratio, or R.K.R., which soon defined the economic and military strategy of the USA during the war. He was the commanding general during the Road to New York. D'Ambrosia was originally one of the Joint Chiefs (or perhaps one of their aides) at the start of the war, as he recounts being present at a previous meeting of the Joint Chiefs held by the previous Chairman at which the zombie threat was first seriously discussed. D'Ambrosia states that he began his military career in the years after Vietnam as a young lieutenant serving in West Germany. After the war, D'Ambrosia joined the UN and became Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. He oversaw operations in Finland during the annual spring time "Sweep and Clear" of the remaining frozen zombies.
Todd Wainio: U.S. infantryman; veteran of Battle of Yonkers, Battle of Hope, and veteran of U.S. reclamation known as the Road to New York. The interviewer specifically sought him to provide the perspective of the "Everyman" regular infantry soldier serving during the war. He was nearly killed at Yonkers but was saved at the last minute by a group of other soldiers. Prior to the Battle of Hope was apprehensive about the reclamation of the United States as he felt they should wait until the zombies simply rotted away. After the battle he became much more confident about the reclamation. Was attached to Army Group North which he felt was very difficult due to long winters. He lost many of his friends and a lover on the Road to New York. Near the end of the campaign was promoted to squad leader, a job he felt was a lot of pressure and caused him to relate to "The Whacko" who was in a similar position after the death of the president. Wainio's interviews show how the military adapted to the crises- not only in its equipment and training, but also in recruitment- from accepting not only 'the fat lazy slob at the DMV,' to a Catholic nun who was five foot nothing and a 'buck even' (i.e. a hundred pounds), what was important was their ability not only to do the physical part of the job but to deal with the mental trauma of dealing with zombies over extended periods of time.
Captain Gavin Blair: Former Fujifilm blimp pilot; current captain of a D-17 dirigible in the Civil Air Patrol. His interview highlights the panicked evacuation of cities as seen from his blimp- Blair describes jammed roads, woman prostituting themselves for supplies and the eventuality of what happens when two lines of traffic from two evacuating cities meet.
Colonel Christina Eliopolis: Squadron commander in the United States Air Force. Crash landed during the war in the middle of zombie-infested territory but was able to survive and be picked up with the assistance of a Sky Watcher codenamed "Mets Fan" who is later revealed to be a figment of her imagination. Maintains belief that Mets is a real person.
Max Brooks: U.N. interviewer; author of World War Z
Breckenridge "Breck" Scott: The developer of the placebo Phalanx, he feels no guilt about lying to the American people. He now lives in Vostok station in russia and hasn't left it since the Great Panic.
Roy Elliot: Filmmaker who made independent propaganda films during the war to combat ADS (disease); Film to credit: Battle of the Five Colleges: students fight off zombie siege on campus; Anacapal; Mission District; Dos Palmos; Fire of the Gods: hi-tech laser weapons used to fry zombies; the "Wonder Weapons" series: seven films showing technological duds used on zombies to entertaining effect; The Hero City: the reclamation of New York City.
The Former President of the United States: The President of the United States during the initial stages of the Great Panic, it is hinted that he is white, in contrast to his black Vice President. It is implied that he is a Republican: the Whacko is heavily implied to be Howard Dean, who is a Democrat, and the Whacko states that he formed a bi-partisan ticket with the Former President's VP (the "Big Guy", implied to be Colin Powell), who was thus a Republican. Presidents and Vice Presidents must be from the same political party, therefore the Former President whom the "Big Guy" served as VP for must also have been a Republican. He was apparently the successor of George W. Bush, as his administration was stated to have spent its first four year term trying to "clean up the mess of the last brushfire war" (the Iraq War). The zombie epidemic began during his fourth year in office, and because it was an election year, his administration didn't want to risk a distraction by investigating crazed reports of zombie infestations in Africa and Asia. He successfully won re-election, and did implement "Phase One" of the plan formed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to combat the zombie epidemic: deploying special forces "Alpha Teams" into isolated outbreak areas in the slums of major cities (carried there by refugees trying to disappear). This was only meant as a stop-gap measure, however, the President refused to risk further political capital by making an expensive full-scale mobilization. At first, the Alpha Teams seemed to be working, and the spread of the zombies was slowed during the first winter of the epidemic. Breckinridge Scott claimed that his was the most business-friendly presidential administration in years, and the Former President actively helped railroad the perceived miracle-vaccine of "Phalanx" through FDA approval and production, even though in reality it was just a placebo. Scott recalls that the Former President criticized the FDA's desire to inspect if Phalanx actually defended against the zombie virus (which it really doesn't) by giving a speech before a joint session of Congress in which he gave the old standby Reagan-era line that "people don't need Big Government, they need big protection, and they need it big time". Years later this President's own White House Chief of Staff, Grover Carlson, described him as little more than a "propped up patsy", meant to serve as a figurehead while his political party desperately tried to rebuild its support base. By the following spring, however, (in 2013) the impediment of cold temperatures ceased, and the zombies began spreading exponentially. By May 2013, a single female journalist broke the news to the public that the zombie virus was indeed real, reanimating the dead into mindless cannibals, and that Phalanx was nothing but a placebo which gave absolutely no protection against it. Three months later in August 2013, the US military was overwhelmed at the Battle of Yonkers, and the eastern two thirds of the country were abandoned to the zombies. The federal government relocated to the safety of Hawaii. Exactly what happened to the Former President isn't clear: the Whacko makes an off-hand remark that Vice President "The Big Guy" (Colin Powell) was sworn in as President on Air Force One on the way to Hawaii, and that while he was meeting with the Big Guy in his new office at a hotel in Honolulu, his predecessor was in an adjoining room "heavily sedated". He may have been bitten by a zombie, but if that were the case, he would have been terminated or restrained instead of being in the room adjoining the new President. It is possible that after the defeat at Yonkers - which was the direction result of his oversights in not responding to the disaster of the zombie epidemic and of settling for the quick-fix of Phalanx - he had a complete mental breakdown and fell into a state of catatonia.
Stanley MacDonald: A former soldier of the 3rd Battalion of Princess Patrica's Canadian Light Infantry shortly after the outbreaks in China. His squad led a mission to cut off the drug supply that funded a terrorist organization in Kyrgyzstan. Following the bloody remains of several people and donkeys, MacDonald was attacked by, and subsequently dispatched, a zombie caught in a cave-in. Since no-one else saw it, MacDonald was later "evaluated" (interrogated) by his superiors who had disbelieved his story and dismissed it with "plausible" explanations.
Paul Redeker/Xolelwa Azania: Designer of the Redeker Plan; the public pictured him as a heartless man, although this is still being debated on. Called an angel and a devil because of his plan, seeing as he was willing to sacrifice thousands to save the human race. Many members of the South African government opposed his plan but were convinced after Nelson Mandela embraced Redeker stating that, "This man will save our people." Apparently, the act of emotion took a toll - he lived under the identity Xolelwa Azania in a psychiatric institution on Robben Island.
Rolihlahla/Nelson Mandela: He called the South African secret services to bring Paul Redeker to the government's wartime headquarters to present the Redeker Plan, stating that "This man will save our people".
Dr. Kwang Jingshu: Identified Patient 0 in the small village of New Dachang, China. Though not actually the first in China to discover the outbreak, his is the earliest surviving testimony.
Captain Chen: Captain of a Chinese nuclear SLBM submarine who went rogue during China's failed attempt to defend itself; personally fired the SLBM that destroyed the communist regime of China.
Tomonaga Ijiro: Founder of the Tatenokai; blind "hibakusha" and former gardener. After zombie outbreaks in Japan Tomonaga decided to leave for the wilderness to keep from being a shameful burden to others. However during an incident when a bear (which he thought was meant to kill him) alerted him to an approaching zombie, Tomonaga decided to live until he discovered why the Kami had spared him. For months he managed to survive against the increasing number of zombies he began to encounter armed only with his gardening shovel. When he ran into Kondo Tatsumi, Tatsumi updated Tomonaga on Japan's evacuation. Tomonaga decided to "cleanse the garden of Japan” of the undead “pests.” After the war, Tomonaga's Tatenokai (Shield Society; not the same Tatenokai that had tried to stage a coup in the 1970s) had proven so effective that it became an official branch of the Japanese Self Defense Force, and proudly maintains a non-firearms policy.
Kondo Tatsumi: Second-in-command and co-founder of the Tatenokai. Tatsumi was an otaku who, prior to the war, sought escape from Japan's strict Confucian doctrines on the internet. During the early months of the Great Panic online, he and the other otaku abandoned their former interests and began feverishly gathering information on every aspect of the undead, how humanity responded to the walking dead, and Japan's evacuation. One day Tatsumi awoke to find his parents were missing, the power out, and he couldn't connect to the internet. His subsequent mental breakdown was heard by several ghouls who then tried to get into his apartment. Tatsumi survived by creating a rope out of sheets and moving from one floor to another from the outside balconies. He eventually made his way into the apartment of an elderly (and now reanimated) neighbor and found a fully functional, battle-ready WWII officer's katana in an old foot locker, with which he managed to escape the city. He made his way into the forest where he had ran into Tomonaga, who revealed his plan to destroy all the ghouls. Although he thought Tomonaga was crazy for attempting such odds, he still decided to join the blind man. By the time of Max Brooks' novel, Tatsumi is a bare-headed, athletically-built and experienced warrior monk. Although he is still very skeptical of Tomonaga's shintoist beliefs, he has great respect for the man.
Jurgen Warbrunn: Member of Mossad and co-author of the Warbrunn-Knight Report. During the early outbreaks in what was to become World War Z, Warbrunn was contacted by customers in Taiwan who were having trouble deciphering encrypted messages from some PRC sources with their Israeli-bought software. He had his theories, but Warbrunn decided to look at the e-mails themselves. He learned that the messages were about some new virus that turned those it killed into homicidal berserkers. He later heard a story from his son-in-law's professor about his cousin in Cape Town, South Africa about hostile golems made from reanimated bodies in a hospital. Warbrunn presented his finding, along with the Chinese e-mails to his superiors. Since the Yom Kippur war in 1973, Israeli Intelligence had started taking every possible threat seriously. Warbrunn was told to investigate the matter further and he began to see "rabies" patterns emerging. He looked into numerous cases and Warbrunn began to see how vast the this threat really was. Warbrunn consulted an old colleague, Paul Knight, who had compiled a similar report. The two presented their findings to the Israeli Government, which presented the Warbrunn-Knight Report to the U.N., though many countries disbelieved its findings. Israel's Muslim neighbors thought that it was an outright Zionist lie designed to cover up military defeats in Gaza. Israel soon after enacted its self-quarantine plan.
General Raj-Singh: "The Tiger of Delhi", the Sikh general who commanded the forces fighting the undead in the battle in Gandhi Park, where he implemented a tactic that has existed for thousands of years: tight rank-and-file infantry formation around the vehicles in the center of the park (the kind of tactic the British used in Colonial India), turning into a square formation as they got surrounded. This tactic successfully held off the zombies until the under-supplied troops ran out of ammo and were overrun. Raj-Singh refused to abandon his men, but one of them knocked him out with his rifle butt and forced him onto an evacuation chopper. Other countries would adopt the "Raj-Singh Maneuver" into their wartime strategies. Later, during India's retreat into the mountains, Raj-Singh personally charged into a flood of refugees and ghouls to manually detonate the charges that sealed off the pass when the charges failed to detonate remotely. The General made this decision in face of the alternative: "Shiva's Wrath", or the launch of a nuclear missile which in addition to the obvious hazards, would have turned the narrow path into a gently sloping ramp for the undead.
Father Sergei Ryzhkov: Former chaplain of the Russian army's 32nd Motorized Rifle Unit; he took on his shoulders the burden of executing the bitten soldiers instead of letting them commit suicide, since this practice was bringing the troops' morale down. Father Ryzhkov's action was accepted by the commander of his unit, and word of it spread amongst the rest of the Russian army; before long, this act (known as the Act of Final Purification) became an institutionalized act of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The Act of Final Purification boosted not only the army's morale, but also the social prestige of the Orthodox Church. Consequently, the Orthodox values strengthened their influence in the reconstruction of the Russian Federation, which thereby underwent a process of religious renaissance that eventually turned it into the Holy Russian Empire.
However, father Ryzhkov now lives in "self-exile" in an classified location in Siberia, presumably because of his protests against the alleged ways the President has distorted the renewed Orthodox doctrine, like organizing priests into death squads to assassinate political dissenters under the premise of "purifying infected victims".
Maria Zhuganova: A soldier from the Russian army who witnessed and experienced the events that unfolded during the controversial "Decimations" of their ranks: before the great outbreaks in major cities, Zhuganova's military unit was deployed in the Caucasus border region, and received orders to check every person they may find in the wilderness in search for bites or similar wounds in the skin. Shall they find a person with these kind of wounds, they should confine them and hand them to their superiors. However, the soldiers did not know what they were looking for, neither what their superiors would do to the confined people, not even when they found themselves face to face with a zombie, which was quickly eliminated without any explanation.
This event, along with harsh living conditions, low wages and the officers' decision to keep the soldiers uninformed about the ongoing situation, provoked unrest among the troops. The situation finally burst when the soldiers unanimously decided to defect and return home to protect their families, but they were immediately repressed. The government officers decided to make the insubordinates punish themselves by splitting them in groups of ten and then forcing them to vote on which of them would be executed by his/her own comrades. This way of dealing with insubordination restored and kept order among the troops not by fear, but by the collective guilt of murdering their fellow soldiers. This led the soldiers to give away any will to question orders, or even to take decisions on their own. Eventually, this contributed to the factors which turned post-war Russia into a near absolute monarchy.
Philip Adler: Member of the German Army during the war. Implied to have held at least field-grade officer rank, as the colonel commanding his unit turned over command to Adler when the colonel was infected by a zombie. Initially resisted the order to abandon the civilians until General Lang, his superior officer, threatened to start decimations against any unit that disobeyed orders. Adler intended to kill Lang when he reached Lang's headquarters, but the General, feeling immense guilt himself over abandoning the civilians, shot himself after the last German Army unit withdrew to the safe zone near Denmark. This act only increased Adler's hatred of General Lang, as he had come to understand why Lang did what he did, the details of the Prochnow Plan, and thus saw Lang's suicide as a coward's abandonment of duty and responsibility. Served in Bosnia as part of IFOR.
Emile Renard: Commander in the French military; stated to be a legendary war hero. Was present at the Honolulu Conference. Later killed when his squad unearthed a vault filled with 300 zombies. Is survived by his older brother Andre. His last words were supposedly "They shall not pass!"
Andre Renard: Older brother of Emile Renard and decorated soldier. Participated in the battles underneath Paris to clear out the catacombs. According to Renard's testimony, these battles were the toughest in the whole world due to several factors, like lack of lanterns and night-vision googles, chest-level floods, maps' inaccuracy and airborne toxicity. Renard currently resides in self-imposed exile at Canada and refuses to return to France despite numerous invitations by the French government.
Queen Elizabeth II: Queen of the U.K. With the Balmoral Decree, she converted all her properties into protected areas for anyone able to reach and defend them. Despite the objections of Parliament she stayed at Windsor Castle, in her own words, "for the duration." When she was asked about the reason, she replied "The highest of distinctions is service to others." It is stated that her example and leadership is the reason that the U.K. is still a monarchy and not a republic.
David Allen Forbes: An author chronicling the role castles played during World War Z. He explains how the infection hit the U.K., and how the numerous ancient defensive walls and castles (derelict and those who were still in use) helped the U.K. protect its population and allowed it to secure locations for the eventual reclamation of Britain. David also talks about how the deposits of natural gas and oil beneath Windsor Castle- and the rigging a contingent of Royal Engineers rigged up to exploit it- became the precursor to Britain's fortified motorways.