Max Brooks

American Novelist

Max Brooks is a popular Hollywood writer who came to fame after he published the satirical self-help book, ‘The Zombie Survival Guide.’ In 2006 he published ‘World War Z, a follow-up book, which was set in the same fictional universe as ‘The Zombie Survival Guide,’ to much critical acclaim.

Life Facts

  • Maximilian Michael Brooks was born on 22 May 1972 in Manhattan, New York City.
  • He was born to the actor, director, and producer Mel Brooks and actress Anne Bancroft.
  • His father is Jewish, while his mother was an Italian-American Catholic.
  • Max Brooks is dyslexic and, as a result, had learning difficulties as a child.
  • Brooks married the playwright Michelle Kholos in 2003, and they have a son named Henry.
  • ‘The Zombie Survival Guide‘, Brooks’s first book, was published on September 2003 in the United States.
  • His second and most influential novel, ‘World War Z,’ was published in September 2006 and shot him into the limelight. The novel has since been adapted into the box office hit movie of the same name.

Interesting Facts

  • Max Brooks appeared in his first movie in 1983 alongside his mother, the actress Anne Bancroft, in the movie ‘To Be or Not to Be.’
  • Max Brooks is a senior fellow at the Modern War Institute at West Point, New York.
  • His Parents met at a rehearsal for the ‘Perry Como Variety Show’ in 1961 and were married three years later, on August 5, 1964, at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau.
  • Brooks suffered from dyslexia as a child, which affected his grades in school. He got better after his mother turned his schoolwork into recordings, so he would listen to them instead.
  • Between 2001 and 2003, max brooks worked as one of the writers for the Saturday Night Live show.
  • Max Brooks is also a voice actor, starring in television shows like Batman Beyond, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, and Justice League.

Famous Books by Max Brooks

Devolution – ‘Devolution’ is a horror fiction novel written in a “found journal” style combined with interviews. The story revolves around an investigative journalist’s inquiries into the occurrences in the isolated eco-centric community of Greenloop, Washington. 13 months earlier, the nearby Mount Renier had erupted, but the residents of Greenloop decided to shelter in place and wait for the arrival of rescuers. The journal, which belongs to the missing resident, Kate Holland, shines a light on the experiences of the residents as they fight off animals ejected off the mountain by the eruption, including dangerous Sasquatches.

The Zombie Survival Guide –The Zombie Survival Guide’ is a satirical horror novel written in the style of survival guides aimed at helping people survive a disease outbreak caused by the Solanum virus, which turned its victims into zombies. The book is divided into sections, with the first section containing information about the Solanum virus, the physical attribute of zombies, and a classification system for judging the severity of zombie outbreaks. The other sections talked about combat and defence preparations, and other practical survival skills for coping in a world overrun by zombies.

The Harlem Hellfighters – ‘The Harlem Hellfighters’ is a novel about a group of Harlem-native African Americans recruited to fight in World War 1. It is narrated by Mark, a veteran of the 369th Regiment’s tour in Europe. It begins at the start of the involvement of the United States in the war. Due to their different backgrounds, classes, and cultures, there were initial conflicts among them, but that was only temporary. They experienced many forms of racism and acts of violence during their training and their first assignment with the American Expeditionary Force, but they were surprised by the humanity shown to them by the French when they were reassigned to the French Fourth Army.

Early Life and Education

Maximillian Michael Brooks, who later became known as Max Brooks, was born on May 22, 1972, in New York City. He is the only child of the late actress Anne Bancroft and the director, writer, and producer, Mel Brooks. His father’s family descended from German and Kyivan Jews, while his mother’s family is from Muro Lucano in Southern Italy. His father, Melvin Brooks, was drafted into the Army in 1944 and saw action in Germany, participating in the Battle of the Bulge.

Brooks went to Crossroads School in Santa Monica, California, but he had issues with learning due to his dyslexia. His mother had to give up her acting career because of this so she could properly take care of him. She took all his lessons to the Institute for the Blind and had them turned into voice recordings to aid his studies. Max Brooks also went to Pitzer College in Claremont, California, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in history, and American University, where he studied film.

Literary Career

Max Brooks began his writing career with the writing team of the show Saturday Night Live in 2001. He published his first book, ‘The Zombie Survival Guide,’ in 2003. It was a satirical survival manual for getting through a zombie outbreak. Three years later, in 2006, Brooks released a follow-up of his survival guide titled ‘World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War.’ The book is set in the same fictional universe as the survival guide and begins 10 years following a zombie apocalypse. The rights for the book were soon acquired by Plan B Entertainment, and a movie adaptation was released in 2013, starring Brad Pitt.

In 2014, Brooks published ‘The Harlem Hellfighters,’ a graphic novel portraying a fictionalized account of the African American 369th Infantry Regiment, nicknamed the Harlem Hellfighters, and their experiences fighting in World War 1. The book was illustrated by Caanan White.

Later Life

Max Brooks married playwright Michelle Kholos in 2003, and they have a son together named Henry Michael Brooks. He is a strong supporter of the US president, Joseph Biden, and has appeared in campaign videos showing support for the presidential candidate. In 2013, Brooks was recruited by the US Army to teach American soldiers how to prepare for the worst disasters using his ‘The Zombie Survival Guide’ as a guidebook.

Literature by Max Brooks

Explore literature by Max Brooks below, created by the team at Book Analysis.