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Jeff Shaara,
Author & Florida/New York Resident

Jeff Shaara was born in 1952 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, and graduated from Florida State University in 1974, with a degree in Criminology. From age 16, Jeff operated a rare coin business, first out of his home, then in a retail store. In 1974, he moved to Tampa, Florida, and the business expanded. Eventually, Florida Coin Exchange became one of the most widely known 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.

In 1993, during production of the Turner film "Gettysburg," based on his father's classic novel, The Killer Angels, Jeff became friends with film director Ron Maxwell, who had been close to Michael Shaara for the many years it took to bring The Killer Angels to the screen. After the critical and commercial success of "Gettysburg," Maxwell approached Jeff 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.

Two years later, Ballantine Books published Jeff's first novel, Gods and Generals, the prequel to his father's great work. Two weeks after its debut, Gods and Generals leapt onto the New York Times Bestseller List, and rode a fifteen-week wave as a national bestseller. Critics nationwide praised the book and Jeff's writing ability. 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.

Now a full time author, Jeff has recently completed his third novel for Ballantine, Gone for Soldiers, which will be released in the May 2000, and is beginning research on more historical projects.

Jeff, his wife Lynne, and their two cats divide their time between Florida and New York.

Gone For Soldiers
Jeff Shaara
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It is 1847, Mexico, and the United States has sent its army to invade foreign soil for the first time. The story follows closely the experiences of two main characters. Robert E. Lee is a forty-year-old captain, who has built a solid reputation in the United States army for efficiency and excellence as an engineer, but who has never seen combat. His commanding officer is the grand old man of the army, "Old Fuss and Feathers", Major General Winfield Scott, who has come down from Washington to take command of the army's invasion of Vera Cruz. The ultimate goal is victory, by the capture of the capital of Mexico City, an overland march that will take Scott's army away from its supply line, and all communication with the hand-wringing government in Washington. And despite the arrogant assertions of their politicians, the Americans are up against a serious and dangerous enemy, the Mexican dictator Santa Anna, whose army greatly outnumbers Scott's meager force. But the commanding general will not be denied, and leads his men in one of the most daring campaigns in military history.

As the army moves inland, Lee performs with surprising heroism, demonstrating to Scott that it is the young West Point educated professional soldier who is the future of the army. Growing into the role as Scott's engineer and scout, Lee discovers the shocking brutality of war, and experiences combat and its consequences with old friends and new acquaintances, Thomas Jackson, Ulysses Grant, James Longstreet, George Meade, George Pickett, Joe Johnston, men whose names will rise in prominence in a very different war fourteen years later.

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Last Full Measure
Jeff Shaara
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As the two badly bruised armies withdraw away from Gettysburg, both sides understand there is something new about this war, and about the men fighting it. Robert E. Lee and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain return, both men veterans now of a horror neither man thought he would ever see. As Lee moves his army back into Virginia, he must contend with the loss of many good commanders, and the knowledge that without Jackson, his army must learn to fight a different kind of war if the South is to prevail. Chamberlain leaves Gettysburg carrying the sickness of malaria, returns briefly to Maine to find a different mood from his family. He is now a war hero, and is surprised to learn that the description means more than a medal on his chest. As 1864 dawns, the North is desperate for new leadership. President Lincoln is frustrated that his great army has allowed the war to go on for too long, and has allowed Lee to escape too may times. So Lincoln brings a fresh face to the eastern theater of the war, a man who has built a reputation in Tennessee as a fighter and a winner. The third main character in this story is Ulysses S. Grant.

Grant begins to move the vast strength of the Union army southward. In May 1864, the first great confrontation with Lee is the Battle of the Wilderness. Here Grant learns that mere numbers will not defeat Lee, and that there is still a great deal of fight left in the southern troops. What no one can know is that the war will continue for another bloody year, Grant pursuing Lee down into central Virginia, through fights at sites now famous for their horror, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor. Finally, Grant pens Lee up at Petersburg, and begins a siege that will do by attrition what the battles have not: reduce Lee's army until it can no longer make war.

As the final days of the war unfold, all three men understand that wars will never be the same. It is no longer a gentlemen's fight, but a brutal, bloody and dehumanizing experience for both sides. As Lee's army collapses, he begins a final attempt to save his men and their cause. With Grant closely in pursuit, the war reaches its dramatic conclusion at a small rail-town of Appomattox. Here, Grant and Lee will meet, and bring to a conclusion the nation's most horrific chapter. From his entire army, Grant chooses a young officer for the singular honor of receiving the surrender of Lee's army. In one of the most poignant moments in American history, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain orders his men to salute their beaten enemy.

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Gods and Generals
Jeff Shaara
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The story follows four main characters from 1858 to the eve of the Battle of Gettysburg. Robert E Lee is a frustrated cavalry officer in Texas, watching his 30-year career in the U.S. Army stagnate into an unfulfilling conclusion to a life that has kept him far from his home, and the growth of his family. Thomas J. Jackson is an ill-equipped professor at the Virginia Military Institute who suffers enormous personal tragedy, and yearns for the exciting life he had known briefly as a soldier in the Mexican War. Winfield Scott Hancock is a one-man quartermaster in the small village of Los Angeles, California, also yearning for life closer to the "action", and like Lee, finds himself frustrated by a career that seems to be too far removed from the attention of his superiors. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain is a rising young star in the academic world of Bowdoin College in Maine, who realizes that his career is pleasing everyone but him.

As the extraordinary events of 1861 unfold, and the country collapses into the horror of a Civil War, each man must face his family, his personal duty and his own sense of responsibility to his country. The path these four men take, Lee and Jackson choosing to fight for the South, Hancock and Chamberlain fighting for the Union, reflect the paths taken by an entire generation of Americans. Through the first two years of the war, each man learns not only about war, but about his own place in history. At Fredericksburg in December, 1862, the four men take to the same horrible field, discovering first hand what the Civil War has become, and what their own role will be. At Chancellorsville, in May, 1863, the story comes to a brutal climax as Jackson, now called "Stonewall", is killed, and without him, the tide of the war is turned.

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