Literary Notes: Shaara Coming to Sandhills
Jeff Shaara, the best-selling author of "Gods and Generals" and "The Last Full Measure," will speak Thursday, Feb. 12, at 7:30 p.m. in Owens Auditorium on the campus of Sandhills Community College.
After the lecture, Shaara will answer questions and sign books.
This event is in conjunction with the college's celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln.
Shaara, a descendant of Italian immigrants, was born in 1952 in New Brunswick, N.J., but grew up in Tallahassee, Fla., and graduated from Florida State University in 1974, with a degree in criminology.
From age 16, he operated a rare coin business, first out of his home, then in a retail store. In 1974, he moved to Tampa, Fla., and eventually became one of the most widely known coin and precious-metals dealers in Florida.
In 1988, Jeff's father, Michael Shaara, died, and he made the decision to sell his business, and take over the management of his father's estate.
In 1993, the film "Gettysburg" was released, based on Michael Shaara'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, Shaara decided to tackle the project himself.
In 1996, Ballantine Books published Jeff's first novel, "Gods and Generals," the prequel to his father's great work. It spent 15 weeks on The New York Times Bestseller List. In 1998, the sequel, "The Last Full Measure," was published, with the same result: 13 weeks on The New York Times Bestseller List. Two years later, Shaara published his third novel, "Gone For Soldiers," which followed many familiar Civil War characters back to their experiences in the Mexican-American War of the 1840s.
Shaara's next two novels, "Rise To Rebellion" and "The Glorious Cause," took readers back to the American Revolution. The stories are told through the eyes of American history's most illustrious and significant characters.
Moving forward, Shaara then tackled World War I. "To The Last Man," released in 2004, was not only his sixth bestseller, but also received extraordinary praise from notable figures such as Gen. Tommy Franks, Steve Forbes and Gen. Wesley Clark.
Shaara's only nonfiction work is "Jeff Shaara's Civil War Battlefields, which is a unique and personal tour across 10 of the country's most hallowed sites. All of the royalties from this book are being donated to battlefield preservation.
Jeff's eighth book, "The Rising Tide," was published in November 2006. The story is the first of what will become a trilogy following an extraordinary cast of characters through the European theater of World War II. The second book of the trilogy, "The Steel Wave," follows the key participants through the Normandy invasion. He is at work on the third volume.
After many years spent in New York City and the mountains of Montana, Jeff has returned to Florida, and resides in Sarasota.
Film Series Continues
"Oldies & Goodies," the nostalgic film series for adults, continues at Southern Pines Public Library Thursday, Feb. 12, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.
"We invite old movie buffs to bring their sweethearts and enjoy tea and refreshments," says a library spokesperson.
This month's feature is "The Heiress." In this 1949 romantic drama, a plain young woman (Olivia de Havilland) is torn between her wealthy father and a handsome suitor (Montgomery Clift), who may also be a fortune hunter. Based on Henry James' 1880 novel, "Washington Square," the film was directed by William Wyler.
Perhaps best known for her roles opposite Errol Flynn and as wholesome Southern belle Melanie, de Havilland is the last living lead from the Hollywood classic, "Gone With The Wind." On Nov. 17, 2008, at the age of 92, she received the National Medal for the Arts from President George W. Bush.
At the 1950 Academy Awards, de Havilland won Best Actress for her performance in "The Heiress." The film also won Oscars for Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design, while Aaron Copland won for his musical score.
Called an American masterpiece by TV Guide, "The Heiress" was added to the National Film Registry in 1996.
The "Oldies & Goodies" film series is free and open to the public and is made possible by the Friends of Southern Pines Library.
For more information, visit www.sppl.net or call 692-8235.
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