Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916

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Crown/Archetype, Jun 25, 2002 - Nature - 368 pages
208 Reviews
Combining rich historical detail and a harrowing, pulse-pounding narrative, Close to Shore brilliantly re-creates the summer of 1916, when a rogue Great White shark attacked swimmers along the New Jersey shore, triggering mass hysteria and launching the most extensive shark hunt in history.

During the summer before the United States entered World War I, when ocean swimming was just becoming popular and luxurious Jersey Shore resorts were thriving as a chic playland for an opulent yet still innocent era's new leisure class, Americans were abruptly introduced to the terror of sharks. In July 1916 a lone Great White left its usual deep-ocean habitat and headed in the direction of the New Jersey shoreline. There, near the towns of Beach Haven and Spring Lake-and, incredibly, a farming community eleven miles inland-the most ferocious and unpredictable of predators began a deadly rampage: the first shark attacks on swimmers in U.S. history.

For Americans celebrating an astoundingly prosperous epoch much like our own, fueled by the wizardry of revolutionary inventions, the arrival of this violent predator symbolized the limits of mankind's power against nature.

Interweaving a vivid portrait of the era and meticulously drawn characters with chilling accounts of the shark's five attacks and the frenzied hunt that ensued, Michael Capuzzo has created a nonfiction historical thriller with the texture of Ragtime and the tension of Jaws. From the unnerving inevitability of the first attack on the esteemed son of a prosperous Philadelphia physician to the spine-tingling moment when a farm boy swimming in Matawan Creek feels the sandpaper-like skin of the passing shark, Close to Shore is an undeniably gripping saga.

Heightening the drama are stories of the resulting panic in the citizenry, press and politicians, and of colorful personalities such as Herman Oelrichs, a flamboyant millionaire who made a bet that a shark was no match for a man (and set out to prove it); Museum of Natural History ichthyologist John Treadwell Nichols, faced with the challenge of stopping a mythic sea creature about which little was known; and, most memorable, the rogue Great White itself moving through a world that couldn't conceive of either its destructive power or its moral right to destroy.

Scrupulously researched and superbly written, Close to Shore brings to life a breathtaking, pivotal moment in American history. Masterfully written and suffused with fascinating period detail and insights into the science and behavior of sharks, Close to Shore recounts a breathtaking, pivotal moment in American history with startling immediacy.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

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Excellent, well researched story. - Goodreads
Great descriptive writing of old Philadelphia. - Goodreads
Seems to be well researched and is eminently readable. - Goodreads
It's terrific non-fiction writing. - Goodreads
This is a well-researched, fascinating book. - Goodreads
The writing is fine, but nothing to write home about. - Goodreads

Review: Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916

User Review  - Bruce - Goodreads

Michael Capuzzo hard at work Since this doesn't rise to the level of Sherman's collected wisdom, I can really only offer up 2 1/2 stars. This was a breeze to read (once getting past the author's ... Read full review

Review: Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916

User Review  - Cori Holmberg - Goodreads

This historical account of the 1916 shark attacks off the New Jersey coast was so enthraling and filled with suspense. I have heard of these shark attacks in brief references to Peter Benchley's best ... Read full review

All 81 reviews »

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 5
Section 6
Section 7
Section 8
Section 23
Section 24
Section 25
Section 26
Section 27
Section 28
Section 29
Section 30

Section 9
Section 10
Section 11
Section 12
Section 13
Section 14
Section 15
Section 16
Section 17
Section 18
Section 19
Section 20
Section 21
Section 22
Section 31
Section 32
Section 33
Section 34
Section 35
Section 36
Section 37
Section 38
Section 39
Section 40
Section 41
Section 42
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize four times and a National Magazine Award finalist, Michael Capuzzo has been a feature writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Miami Herald. His stories have also appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, Life, and Reader's Digest. He lives with his wife and two children in rural New Jersey.


From the Hardcover edition.

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