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Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916 Paperback – May 21, 2002

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 317 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (May 21, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767904141
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767904148
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #180,973 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-10-An adaptation of Capuzzo's adult book, Close to Shore: A True Story of Terror in an Age of Innocence (Broadway, 2001). During the summer of 1916, just as railroad travel enabled city dwellers to make day-trips to the seashore and swimming in the ocean became popular, bathers along the East Coast were frightened away by a series of vicious attacks in the water. During a one-month period, three men and one boy were killed. Initial opinions of the attacker ranged from sea turtles to killer whales or swordfish, before it was determined to be the work of a rogue white shark. Capuzzo describes the shark's quest to satiate his hunger with the flesh of humans, sometimes verging close to anthropomorphism as he builds an atmosphere of suspense about the creature, its wanderings and its means of attack. The menacing cover of a gaping shark's mouth, the addition of black-and-white photos and newspaper clippings, and the suspenseful writing add to the accessibility of this work for young people. There are no footnotes, but an explanation of the sources used to compile this account is offered along with a sampling of books consulted. Peter Benchley's Shark Trouble (Random, 2002) and Thomas B. Allen's Shark Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance (Lyons, 2001) offer wider-ranging examples of shark attacks, along with ways to avoid them.
Pam Spencer Holley, Young Adult Literature Specialist, Virginia Beach, VA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 7-12. The jacket photo, a gruesome close-up of an open-mouthed shark, sets the tone for this riveting adaptation of Capuzzo's similarly titled adult book about what occurred when, in 1916, a rogue shark traveled inland along a New Jersey creek, terrorizing residents of nearby towns. Extensive trimming has eliminated much about the individuals most involved in what happened, which occasionally makes for some confusion. But this book has a rich assortment of photos and news clippings not in the original, and the vividness and sheer physicality of Capuzzo's writing remains intact. In many ways this is a new book. Capuzzo reconstructs events with a novelist's flair and a scientist's attention to detail, and his pacing is relentless as the story moves from cultural history and shark physiology to close-ups of the crazed, disoriented beast slicing through the water. When the shark dies at the hands of two astounded fishermen, readers will experience relief as well as a sense of tragedy. As with the adult book, there are no notes--only a list of further readings that kids can use to find out more. Stephanie Zvirin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

A Boston native and graduate of Northwestern University, journalist Michael Capuzzo is author of the New York Times bestsellers CLOSE TO SHORE (the true story of Jaws) and THE MURDER ROOM (a true-crime classic featuring the "living Sherlock Holmes"). Both books were critically acclaimed, published in many languages, and nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award.

CLOSE TO SHORE, optioned by director David O. Russell, was a Top Ten Book of the Year (People magazine) and "adventure classic" with "artistry reminiscent of Stephen Crane" (The New Yorker).
THE MURDER ROOM, the true story of the crime-fighting club the Vidocq Society and its brilliant lead detective, was nominated for the Edgar Award, shortlisted for Great Britain's Golden Dagger Award, reviewed as a worthy heir to Raymond Chandler, and optioned by the producers of CSI.

Capuzzo was a longtime staff writer for The Miami Herald and The Philadelphia Inquirer, where he was nominated four times for the Pulitzer for feature writing and national reporting. In his spare time he wrote WILD THINGS, a nationally syndicated humor column on animals that spawned his books WILD THINGS; MUTTS: AMERICA'S DOGS (with Brian Kilcommons), and the two-volume collection OUR BEST FRIENDS and CAT CAUGHT MY HEART (with his wife, Teresa Banik Capuzzo). A sportswriter starting at age fifteen, he was nominated for a National Magazine Award for his Sports Illustrated profile of Henry Aaron, and has written for Esquire, Life, Reader's Digest, and appeared often on NPR and many national media outlets.

Mike and his wife Teresa founded and publish Mountain Home, a regional magazine, "Free as the Wind, in Appalachian Pennsylvania and New York that has won wide acclaim as a new form of citizen storytelling journalism and more than seventy statewide and international awards for writing, photography, and design.

Customer Reviews

The Jersey shore was attacked by a renagade great white shark.
J. Boyarsky
It's expertly crafted and very well written, and the period details are fantastic.
Those who know the book and film will realise that as they read it.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By K. Bortz VINE VOICE on August 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is primarily a period piece about the summer of 1916. Details such as what was happening in science, baseball, social mores, etc. paint a spectacular portrait of American life at this time. Historical people, from scientists, doctors, and hotel owners to tailors and basket makers are examined and we see how they lived their day-to-day existence in that summer of '16. Meanwhile, of course, people are being attacked by a shark off the coast of New Jersey.
As a breakdown, I'd say 40% of this book is the portrait of life
story, and 40% is about the reactions of the people to the shark attacks. Probably 15% is a conjecture on the particular path the shark took along the coast, along with its primeval motivations as to why it was doing what it was doing. Only about 5% actually showcase the attacks, but it's a very effective 5%.
The book is a very entertaining read, although some vocabulary and cultural references are just thrown out as if to show off how much research the author did. A dictionary was handy, and I've read a LOT. The other problem is the editing/proofreading. There were at least three occasions I could think of where contradictory information was presented ON THE SAME PAGE. For instance, the governor of New Jersey is called "Tom" and "Jim" on the same page. And, at one point, the nostrils of the shark are said to be below the mouth, which is incorrect. Minor annoyances, but inexcusable in a historical work.
So, I give this 3-1/2 stars, upped to 4 due to the fact that it's a good read.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By T. S. Lord on June 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
I can't remember the last book I absolutely could not put down, until "Close to Shore" swam by on Father's Day. As engrossing as the stories of shark attacks were, I was even more impressed with the author's evocation of an era much maligned or misunderstood. As America clung relentlessly to the myth of isolation from Europe's problems, a denizen of denial from the deeps shattered the enforced social order of the Victorian Jersey shore. I was enthralled by Capuzo's recreation of the pulse and rhythms of life in 1916. It helped me gain a new appreciation for my native state of New Jersey and the life my Dad grew up in, as he was born in New Jersey in 1913. The old European world with its new problems dragged him and others of his era into modernity with the same force and urgency as the shark dragged young men to their deaths. More than a gripping story of sharks and sea, Close to Shore is a reminder that clinging to an outdated belief system in the face of facts is foolish and, in some cases, fatal.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By RET on June 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
"Close to Shore" does an excellent job in telling the tale of the 1916 Jersey Shore shark attacks. His main achievement in spinning this sea monster yarn is in laying the groundwork - to be convincing and achieve the real horror of the vent, Capuzzo had to put the reader into the perspective on an American of the period - prior to Jaws, "The Summer of the Shark" and all that. To us, shark attacks are a morbid curiousity and a subject of tabloid journalism and horror movies. To the people in 1916, well, they were not even sure if some sharks were dangerous to man (dismissing stories of such things as ignorant or superstitious). This is done with loving attention, and achieves great effect by the time the first attack is described.
I gave the book three starts rather than four because of Capuzzo's departure from good historical journalism in dismissing the possibility that the shark was a bull shark (quite possible), or that separate sharks were involved. It makes for good drama to have a single "character," and to our modern post-Jaws sensibilities, that would just HAVE to be a great white (we are talking sharks here). However, this is supposedly a work of non-fiction, and such devices are both unnecessary and detract from the overall value of the work.
That said, the book is an good, page-turning read. My sister borrowed the copy from me as soon as I was done with it, and she almost never borrows books from me. I still haven't gotten it back!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By bigtimegeek on June 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
I just wanted to respond to the other reviewer because the truth is, nobody knows what type of shark was responsible for the attacks, or even if there were two different sharks. This is my main problem with the book as well. Capuszzo obviously doesn't even entertain the idea that it may have been a bull shark (a reasonable theory), which is somewhat unfortunate. But it could have very well have been a white shark, and hell it's a lot more psychologically terrifying than a bull, so he went with it. I guess it's not that big of a deal, because once you get started on this book, you won't be able to put it down. It's expertly crafted and very well written, and the period details are fantastic. It's a very quick and easy read too; I was done in two nights. I especially liked the way he paralleled the life of the shark and the life of the first victim, and all the details leading up to their inevitable encounter. I'm a huge fan of Jaws, and I thought that made me think twice about swimming in the ocean... Well, I can honestly say this book did an even better job. I doubt I'll be in the water much at the beach this summer. That's not a bad thing either, it's the sign of a very effective book.
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