In this episode of the MWI podcast, Capt. Jake Miraldi speaks to bestselling author and MWI non-resident fellow Max Brooks. Max is most well known as the author of books like World War Z and The Zombie Survival Guide. He also has a unique ability to take unique topics—like zombies—and use them to frame a discussion about important, real-world security issues.

Max describes how he used zombies in World War Z as a stand-in for the type of social, environmental, or other crises that transcend borders and require coordinated responses, often with a military component (“We learned it in Somalia, and we forgot it: there’s no such thing as a humanitarian crisis without a security element”). But the conversation also touches on society’s civil-military gap (“I think the worst thing that’s ever happened to this country is the yellow ribbon, because it really is the motherlode of empty gestures”), the importance of creative thinking for military leaders, and other wide-ranging topics.

This episode originally ran in April 2016, but it’s one of our favorites, so whether you’re a new listener hearing it for the first time or a long-time subscriber listening to it again, we hope you enjoy it.

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Image credit: Staff Sgt. Robert Barnett, US Air Force