MEET JEFF SHAARA
Jeff Shaara, a descendant of Italian immigrants, was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey ("Shaara" was originally spelled "Sciarra"). He grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, and graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Criminology. From age 16, Jeff operated a rare coin business, first out of his home, then in a retail store. After moving to Tampa, Jeff became one of the most widely known coin and precious-metals dealers in Florida. In 1988, Jeff's father, Michael Shaara, died, and Jeff made the decision to sell his business, and take over the management of his father's estate.
Onboard the Guided Missile Destroyer
USS Mustin in the Persian Gulf.
In 1993, the motion picture "Gettysburg" was released, which was based on his father's classic novel, The Killer Angels. After the critical and commercial success of the film, Jeff was approached about the possibility of continuing the story, finding someone to write a prequel and sequel to The Killer Angels. After some considerable soul-searching, Jeff decided to try to tackle the project himself. The decision was difficult in many ways, but most challenging because Jeff had no previous experience as a writer.
In 1996, Ballantine Books published Jeff's first novel, Gods and Generals, the prequel to his father's great work. Gods and Generals leapt onto the New York Times Bestseller List, and remained there for fifteen weeks. Critics nationwide praised the book and Jeff's writing ability, and the book was awarded the American Library Association's Prestigious "Boyd Award". No one was more surprised than Jeff himself. In 1998, the sequel, The Last Full Measure, was published, with the same result: thirteen weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List, and universal praise from critics and fans nationwide. What has followed are books covering the Mexican War, a 2-volume set on the American Revolution, a one volume story on World War One, a four book series on World War 2, as well as a non-fiction look at this nation's most valuable Civil War battlefields. With the start of the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, beginning in 2011, Jeff tackled a new series on the war in the "west", a four book set, to be finished up by the summer of 2015.
The latest, titled "The Fateful Lightning", will be Jeff's fifteenth book, all published by Ballantine/Random House in New York. Of his fourteen novels, ALL have been New York Times bestsellers. (See the "Books" page for the details!)
With Stonewall Jackson's
Artillery Pieces at VMI.
In February, 2003, the major motion picture "GODS AND GENERALS", based on Jeff's first book, was released by Warner Brothers.
Jeff is the only two time recipient of the American Library Association's "William Young Boyd Award" for Excellence in Military Fiction (for Gods and Generals and To The Last Man).
In the fall of 2011, Jeff was recognized twice by his alma mater, Florida State University. In September, he was inducted into their "College of Criminology Hall of Fame" and during Homecoming on November 19, he was awarded the school's FIRST annual "Distinguished Writer's Award". He has also received The Lincoln Forum's prestigious "Richard Nelson Current" award, the "Bell I. Wiley" award from the New York Civil War Round Table, and the "Distinguished Author Award", from the General Nathan Bedford Forrest Historical Society.
Besides his books, Jeff has penned articles for three Time Entertainment, Inc "coffee table books" on the Civil War, and has written introductions for the re-publication of two notable novels, Ward Moore's "Bring the Jubilee" and Mackinlay Kantor's "Long Remember". He was also a major contributor and participant in the National Endowment for the Arts program "Operation Homecoming", where he led writing workshops for military personnel from bases as diverse as Fort Richardson, Alaska, Fort Carson, Colorado, Quantico, Virginia, and a short stint on the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, plus the guided missile destroyer USS Mustin, both in the Persian Gulf.
From 2007 through 2014, Jeff served as a member of the Board of Governors of the Civil War Trust, the nation's most established, and successful, protector of Civil War battlefield lands.
After many years in Florida, New York City and the mountains of Montana, Jeff has built a new home with his wife Stephanie, in his newly adopted "hometown" of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.