Max Brooks is one of the most influential figures in modern zombie fiction. Max wrote the Zombie Survival Guide in 2003 and followed up with World War Z in 2006. WWZ is phenominal, and the dozens of other recent zombie novels over on Amazon all owe their success to WWZ for paving the way. WWZ is currently being made into a film, and part of me doesn't want it to happen. There is no way to top the novel, and I feel like I'm just going to be disappointed. Of course the other part of me, the larger part, can't wait.
Currently we're all eagerly awaiting World War Z: Recorded Attacks, which is a collection of additional zombie stories from throughout history in graphic novel format.
Oh, one last thing about Max-- He is a GREAT sport for sketching me a zombie. Best-Zombie-Ever.