Anatolii Shuman was born in 1915 in Bezhitsa (now part of the city of Briansk), in western Russia. His father, a cobbler, died before the boy was born. Since his mother could not support him, her son was taken in by his maternal grandfather, a tailor. Anatolii was seven years old when his uncle also died. From 1926, he was a ward of orphanages, first, of a small orphanage in a suburb of the city of Kharkov, Ukraine, and then from 1927 to 1930 – of the renowned Children's' Commune named after Feliks Dzerzhinskii in the same city, which, in fact was a correctional colony for minors. This colony was headed by the Ukrainian pedagogue Anton Makarenko. Shuman attempted to escape from this colony more than once, but was caught and returned every time. After he was finally released in 1930, Shuman worked at an agricultural machinery factory in Kharkov.
In 1933, Shuman was sent to a school for mechanics of military aircraft. However, following his urging, the commanding officer of the school permitted to him to study to become a military pilot. After graduating, Shuman became a specialist in night sorties. In 1938 he became commander of a bomber squadron.
From the beginning of the Soviet-German war in June 1941, Shuman was at the front, assigned to a long-distance reconnaissance regiment on the Western Front. His duties combined reconnaissance and the bombing of enemy target. In the fall of 1941, his squadron took part in the defense of Moscow. In September and October of 1941, Shuman's regiment was deployed in the area of Briansk – Roslavl, i.e., close to the town where he was born. When Shuman learned that the regiment had received an order to bomb the important railway junction of Roslavl (that had been captured by the enemy in August), he pleaded with the regiment's commander to send him on this mission because, he argued, his mother and brother had been killed there by the Germans. His request was accepted and pilot Shuman took part in this mission.
On September 28, Shuman left on a sortie to bomb another railway junction in the enemy rear. This sortie was successful but, on the way back, his aircraft was attacked by Heinkel-113 enemy fighter planes. When his plane caught fire, Shuman landed it with great difficulty. The rest of his crew was killed and his face was severely burned. As a result, his eyesight deteriorated. After his release from hospital, the medical commission wanted to dismiss him from the army. However, Shuman begged to return to combat. He was permitted to returned to his regiment, not as a combat pilot, but as a pilot of light communication and reconnaissance planes. After a series of successful reconnaissance sorties over Czechoslovakia and Austria in 1945, Shuman was awarded the Order of the Patriotic War. He had received the Order of the Red Banner in 1941.
After the war Anatolii Shuman served with the Soviet occupation forces in East Germany. He died there in 1949 and was buried in the Soviet military cemetery in Eberswalde-Finow.