Michael Shaara Biography


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

The father of writer Michael Shaara (SHAR-uh) was five years old when in 1904 he was brought to the United States from Italy by his parents, Giuseppe and Anna Russo Sciarra, whose Old World family name was altered by an Ellis Island immigration clerk. He was twenty-nine and married to Alleen Maxwell of Texas when his son Michael Joseph Shaara, Jr., was born in Jersey City on June 23, 1928.

Educated at Rutgers University, Michael, Jr., early became obsessed with writing, and he began turning out magazine stories even before his graduation in 1951 and more feverishly during his postgraduate studies at Columbia University (1952-1953) and at the University of Vermont (1953-1954). He had served as a merchant seaman and also as a paratrooper (in the Eighty-second Airborne Division, 1946-1949). While a student at Rutgers, he married Helen Krumwiede, the daughter of Howard and Elizabeth Krumwiede of Highland Park, New Jersey. At the close of his graduate studies he took his family (which now included his son, Jeffrey, who had been born February 21, 1952, in New Brunswick) to Florida. There he served as an officer in the St. Petersburg Police Department (1954-1955). Shortly after his second child, a daughter named Lila Elise, was born in 1958, he accepted a position teaching English at Florida State University, where he was to serve for the years 1961-1973.

Through all of this hectic time he continued to produce science fiction for the pulps and eventually prizewinning imaginative short stories for such prestigious magazines as The Saturday Evening Post, Redbook, Cosmopolitan, and McCall’s. Over the thirty years from 1952 to 1982, he sold some seventy tales under titles such as “Beast in the House,” “Grenville’s Planet,” “Man of Distinction,” and “The Vanisher.” These stories are much reprinted in science-fiction and short-story anthologies; sixteen appear, with Shaara’s...

(The entire section is 793 words.)


(Novels for Students)

Michael Shaara was born on June 23, 1929, in Jersey City, New Jersey, the son of Italian immigrants. He attended Rutgers University and it...

(The entire section is 482 words.)


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Adams, Phoebe. “Short Reviews.” The Atlantic Monthly 234 (October, 1974). Review speaks of “a novelist’s liberty of invention” but finds in the narrative excitement and plausibility.

Brashler, Bill. Review of For Love of the Game, by Michael Shaara. Chicago Tribune, April 7, 1991, sec. 14, p. 5. Notes that “Shaara obviously had a love of the game, of its tradition and natural grace, and he left it this lovely token.”

Leak, Thomas. “High Tide of the Confederacy.” The New York Times, May 10, 1975, p. 27. Quotes author Shaara on his intent in composing The Killer Angels.

Le Clair, Thomas. Review of The Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara. The New York Times Book Review, October 20, 1974. Praises the narrative for its recording of “the terror and the bravery.”

Pine, John C. Review of The Broken Place, by Michael Shaara. Library Journal, February 15, 1968. Praises the book for “a natural rhythm that is unmistakable.”

Rhodes, Richard. “Boxer Gone Berserk.” The New York Times, April 7, 1968, sec. 7, p. 36. Notes and explains the element of violence in The Broken Place.

Smith, L. C. Review of The Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara. Best Seller 34 (September 5, 1974). Laments the absence of the common soldier but lauds the book for its “particularly good description.”

Stoppel, E. K. Review of The Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara. Library Journal 99 (September 1, 1974). Praises the novel for its vividness and fast-moving pace.

Weeks, Edward. “The Peripatetic Reviewer: The Killer Angels.” The Atlantic Monthly 235 (April, 1975). Declares that “the best way to write about a battle is to tell it as the men who went through it saw it and felt it—and that is what Michael Shaara has done in this stirring, brilliantly interpretive novel.”