Close to Shore by Michael Capuzzo
The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916

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Synopsis

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.
 

About Michael Capuzzo

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Born in Boston and educated at Northwestern University, MICHAEL CAPUZZO is the author of the acclaimed New York Times bestseller Close to Shore, a historical thriller of the true story that inspired Jaws. Winner of many writing prizes as a syndicated columnist and a staff reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Miami Herald, and for stories in magazines including Sports Illustrated, Esquire, and Life, he lives in Pennsylvania, where he and his wife publish a prize-winning storytelling magazine, Mountain Home.
 
Published June 25, 2002 by Broadway Books. 336 pages
Genres: History, Nature & Wildlife, Children's Books, Science & Math, Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Close to Shore

Publishers Weekly

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(He also recounts the shark's movements and supposed feelings from an omniscient, third-person perspective to strained, unintentionally comical and inevitably misleading effect.) The encounters between people and sharks make for some tense and gruesome reading, and the rest of the book is equally...

| Read Full Review of Close to Shore: The Terrifyin...

Book Reporter

This historical account of the July 1916 shark attacks on the New Jersey shore has a familiar yet homespun flavor.

May 08 2001 | Read Full Review of Close to Shore: The Terrifyin...

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