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...
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