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Publisher's Summary

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.

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.

©2001 Michael Capuzzo; (P)2001 Random House, Inc., Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, A Divison of Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"[This] book's strength lies in its lively reconstruction of that age and its consciousness...just may be the hot read on the beach this summer." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
  • David
  • Hillsborough, NJ, USA
  • 07-28-03

Captivating and Riveting

Subject Matter: A compelling story rich in detail and historical perspective. The retelling builds slowly as the author first details the socio-economic background of the period. The accounts of the attacks are dramatic with a "you are there" feel. Although this is a documented historical event, there is most certainly some literary embellishment, as the author was obviously not a witness. A captivating story written and read well, none the less. The terror of the events is amplified by the intimate examination of the personalities involved, both the victims and the pursuers. Once the shark enters the creek you will be hard pressed to turn your player off!

Narrator: Len Cariou - Excellent; the perfect commanding voice for a story such as this.

Audio Quality: Reviewed-Format 4 Excellent, distortion-free with consistent sound levels

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jon
  • Tempe, AZ, USA
  • 12-23-06

Overall: Worth it

I suppose if I had to fill a book with a story based on five shark attacks, I would be forced to include too much irrelevant background information too. I got this book for the same reason I think most people would. I want to hear about the shark. I thought there was just too much detail about the people, families and businesses of the era, and not enough about the shark and its horrific attacks on swimmers. What there was about the shark did meet my expectations, and the story kept moving, holding my interest all the way through.

Definitely not a spellbinding, on-the-edge-of-your-seat story, but well worth the listen. More so if you are curious about a sort of folk tale that Jaws was based on, but not if you are expecting any sort of scientific account of what went on.

The audio quality was great. The narration was well done, and the sound was clean.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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great story! Wonderful wonderful portrayal

thoroughly enjoyed this story. Well worth the time to listen to it. Well narrated and written.

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A hair raising story

If you found JAWS scary, don't listen to this book. The shark attacks along the eastern seaboard in the summer of 1916 were terrifying and the author does an excellent job of making you feel as if you were in the water with the fish moving swiftly toward you. Sharks are actually wonderful creatures and I'm only sad that this will scare more people than it needs to.

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  • Patricia
  • des moines, IA, United States
  • 04-08-13

A great read

This story was done very well, very factual but kept you very interested from start to finish. By including historical data along with info on shark developement it was enjoyable. Of course the narrator Len Cariou just increased the story line, with his clear concise voice and inflections.

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  • Donna
  • 08-02-17

interesting listen!

very interesting listen, couldn't stop! wished it was a little longer. thank you! Will recommend 😊