Michael Shaara was an American writer of science fiction, sports fiction, and historical fiction. He was born to Italian immigrant parents in Jersey City, New Jersey, graduated in 1951 from Rutgers University, where he joined Theta Chi, and served as a sergeant in the 82nd Airborne division prior to the Korean War.
Before Shaara began selling science fiction stories to fiction magazines in the 1950s, he was an amateur boxer and police officer. He later taught literature at Florida State University while continuing to write fiction. The stress of this and his smoking caused him, at the early age of 36, to have a heart attack, one from which he fully recovered. His novel about the Battle of Gettysburg, The Killer Angels, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1975. Shaara died of a heart attack in 1988.
Shaara's son, Jeffrey Shaara, is also a popular writer of historical fiction; most notably sequels to his father's best-known novel. His most famous is the prequel to The Killer Angels, Gods and Generals. Jeffrey got Michael's last book, For Love of the Game, published three years after he died. Today there is a Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction, established by Jeffrey Shaara, awarded yearly at Gettysburg College.