Michael Shaara was born in Jersey City in 1929 and graduated from Rutgers University in 1951. His early science fiction short stories were published in Galaxy magazine in 1952. He later began writing other works of fiction and published more than seventy short stories in many magazines, including The Saturday Evening Post, Cosmopolitan, and Redbook. His first novel, The Broken Place, was published in 1968. But it was a simple family vacation to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in 1966 that gave him the inspiration for his greatest achievement, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Killer Angels, published in 1974. Michael Shaara went on to write two more novels, The Noah Conspiracy and For Love of the Game, which was published posthumously after his death in 1988.
The late Shaara's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel (1974) concerns the battle of Gettysburg and was the basis for the 1993 film Gettysburg. The events immediately before and during the battle are seen through the eyes of Confederate Generals Lee, Longstreet, and Armistead and Federal General Buford, Colonel Joshua L. Chamberlain, and a host of others. The author's ability to convey the thoughts of men in war as well as their confusion-the so-called "fog of battle"-is outstanding. This unabridged version is read clearly by award-winning actor George Hearn, who gives each character a different voice and effectively conveys their personalities; chapters and beginnings and ends of sides are announced. Music from the movie version adds to the drama. All this comes in a beautiful package with a battle map. Recommended for public libraries not owning previous editions from Recorded Books and Blackstone Audio (Audio Reviews, LJ 2/1/92 and LJ 2/1/93, respectively).-Michael T. Fein, Catawba Valley Community Coll., Hickory, N.C.
"My favorite historical novel . . . a superb re-creation of the Battle of Gettysburg, but its real importance is its insight into what the war was about, and what it meant."--James M. McPherson
"Remarkable . . . a book that changed my life . . . I had never visited Gettysburg, knew almost nothing about that battle before I read the book, but here it all came alive."--Ken Burns "Utterly absorbing . . . Shaara fabulously, convincingly brings characters such as Robert E. Lee to life and makes the conflict all too real."--Forbes "Shaara carries [the reader] swiftly and dramatically to a climax as exciting as if it were being heard for the first time."--The Seattle Times