Biography of Max Brooks

Max Brooks was born in Manhattan in 1972. His father is the legendary actor, writer, and comedian, Mel Brooks, and his mother, Anne Bancroft, was a star of screen and stage. Brooks studied history at Pitzer College and went on to do graduate film studies at American University in Washington, DC. Brooks' writing career began in the writers' room of Saturday Night Live, where he worked until 2003, when he published his debut book, The Zombie Survival Guide, which is not so much a novel as it is a speculative guide for remaining survivors of a fictional zombie apocalypse. Three years later, Brooks published World War Z, his breakout hit of a novel, which takes the perspective of an ethnographer interviewing survivors of "the Z wars," or "World War Z," a global public health emergency and "war" against the living dead. Brooks' novel garnered a lot of attention and was quickly adapted to a film starring Brad Pitt. The novel also caught the attention of some U.S. military officials, who invited Brooks to speak on a number of crisis response panels. Brooks even holds fellowships at the Atlantic Council's Brent Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security and the Modern War Institute at West Point.

Brooks has continued to write fiction in the zombie genre, publishing Closure, Limited and Other Zombie Tales in 2012, expanding on the World War Z universe. He also wrote wrote a graphic novel titled The Harlem Hellfighters, about the eponymous all-Black U.S. military regiment which fought in WWI. Brooks is currently working on a novel based on the MMO videogame, Minecraft, in addition to participating in scholarship related to his fellowships, which includes co-editing books that refract military science strategies through the lens of science fiction and high fantasy. These titles include Strategy Strikes Back: How Star Wars Explains Modern Military Conflict, and Winning Westeros: How Game of Thrones Explains Modern Military Conflict.

Brooks lives in Venice, California with his wife, Michelle Kholos, a playwright. The couple have one son, Michael Brooks.

Study Guides on Works by Max Brooks

World War Z is a 2006 parody of the oral history genre of historical non-fiction which purports to relate the story of mankind’s ultimate showdown with the zombie apocalypse in the words of various survivors. The concept of mixing satire within...