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Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks Paperback – July 24, 2012
"Grace & Style: The Art of Pretending You Have It"
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In the deeply mysterious ocean, no this darkness, and shows how corner is more shadowy to us than the unknown, uncharted realm of the shark. And as with all shadows, we’re afraid of what lurks in them. Juliet Eilperin’s beautifully evocative Demon Fish lights up fearing sharks rather than understanding them has cost us more than we know. (It’s cost the sharks even more: Though we’ve never been able to pinpoint how many of them live in our planet’s waters, we do know that their populations are plunging, possibly even into decimation territory, largely at our hands.)
For my money the best, page-turning narratives are immersive ones, and Eilperin excels at this. Readers will enjoy traveling with her as she ventures from Indonesia to Japan to Africa to North America in dauntless pursuit of answers to questions that few writers have asked: Why do we approach sharks with such runaway emotion? Why do we fear these fish sometimes, and revere them others? What’s really going on with these animals, beneath the ocean’s surface? And of course the big one: after surviving all five global mass extinctions, can sharks make it through another decade of co-existing with us?
--Susan Casey--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“Engaging. . . . A far-ranging voyage through the shark world.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“A compelling book: Its author not only knows all about her subject but she knows how readers think about it. . . . The main impression left by Demon Fish is that sharks are indeed all they are cracked up to be—and more.”
—Los Angeles Times
“Reveals the close relationship between humans and sharks through the interplay of history and culture. . . . By the end of Demon Fish, readers may be tempted to don a wet suit and go hug a shark.”
—The New York Times
“Eilperin circles the world in pursuit of sharks and the people who love and hate them. . . whether they are killers or protectors, she tells their stories with fairness and understanding. I forgot the time as I immersed myself in the world of sharks. . . . Whether you’ve never read a book about sharks or have a shelf full of them, this is a book for you.”
—Callum Roberts, The Washington Post
“Fascinating and meticulously reported book. . . . Eilperin illuminates not only the hidden nature of the seas, but also the societies whose survival depend on them.”
—David Grann, author of The Lost City of Z
“For this inclusive and important book, Eilperin traveled around the world to find people who study, fish for, dive with, venerate, or have been attacked by sharks. . . . [she] discusses many others who have brought sharks into human consciousness—Jules Verne, Edgar Allen Poe, Ernest Hemingway, and Jacques Cousteau; to this list, we must now add Eilperin herself.”
—Richard Ellis, The American Scholar
“Hate, fear, envy, awe, worship. Of the many shark books, precious few explore the human-shark relationship. And none do with such style as Juliet Eilperin does in this fact-packed, fast-paced narrative. This is the shark book for the person who wants to understand both what sharks are, and what sharks mean. Bite into it.”
—Carl Safina, author of Song for the Blue Ocean and The View From Lazy Point; A Natural Year in an Unnatural World
“Eilperin investigates the greatest threats to sharks: the shark fin trade and the ecological and economic forces affecting shark populations. . . The book is certainly timely. And Demon Fish does the subject justice.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“Poised to be one of the summer’s most compelling beach reads.”
“In this wide-ranging natural history of shark-human relations, the author recounts frank interviews with an entertaining cast of scientists, fishermen, wholesalers, chefs, and eco-tour operators, all of whom have a stake in the survival of the oceans’ top predators. She also gets into the water with the sharks. For readers who like passionate investigative reporting.”
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Top Customer Reviews
We've so impacted the shark's environment, with our industries, our pollution, our fishing, that not only have several species of shark declined in population by anywhere from 90 to 99%, those sharks being caught today are smaller than their counterparts of even just a hundred years ago. Sharks do not rebound quickly; though some species give birth to large litters, many species take years to mature and only reproduce a limited number of times in their life--most of the time the litters they produce are small, with only one or two pups per birth. While we've begun to--finally--set aside protected waters, those areas cover only a fraction of the shark's territory and even then, some of the protections contain loopholes which still allow sharks to be fished.Read more ›
Yet, lost in all of the drama of plunging edible fish stocks have been the apex predators. While last ditch efforts may rebuild popoulations of cod, herring and other fish, the plight of sharks may not be reversible. And the numbers are simply stunning in some cases: one species of hammerhead shark is currently at 1% of its historic population, and more monster shark fishing tournaments are being scheduled every day.
Author Juliet Eilperin brings us through what it is about sharks that makes us ignore their needs, the unwavering ignorance that allows us to remain blind to their problems, and our knee-jerk fears of the animal, traceable back to one 1970s summer blockbuster film. Demon Fish examines the relationship between man and shark, and implores us to act on their behalf.
Written in chatty, journalistic style, reading Demon Fish is like watching multiple episodes of Sixty Minutes, with visits to shark callers in Papua New Guinea, shark fin traders in Hong Kong, shark fishermen, and activists of all kinds trying to save the sharks. Interesting tidbits about the biology of sharks alternate with interviews, skipping from one country and continent to another, stopping in at shark auctions, to quaint shops with dried shark fins in jars, to committees for the sharkers and other committees for shark conservation. Plus, everything you ever wanted to know about shark's fin soup.
And there's the problem with this book. Too much, too scattered, and too preachy. Author Juliet Eilperin maintains the same chatty style chapter after long chapter, but left this reader skimming toward the end of the book. The material about sharks themselves was fascinating, but there wasn't enough of it to hold this reader's interest. If you're obsessed with saving the oceanic environment you will probably like this book, but it's not my favorite. Reviewed by Louis N. Gruber.
I like sharks (you know, in theory; far, far away from me, or separated by a thick sheet of glass). I agree with all of Eilperin's conclusions (that sharks are worth saving, that shark fishing should be more regulated; that it needs to be done on a global scale). But I must sadly admit that she makes a poor case for the sharks, repeatedly stating her conclusions, while writing WHY sharks are important to the ecosystem (and therefore to us) only at the very end... and only in a very fleeting manner. While there is some good information and occasionally entertaining story-telling, there seems to be little rhyme or reason to the order of the book or, in fact, why Eilperin chooses to convey some information and not address other things.
Sharks ARE evolutionarily complex and fascinating creatures. As apex predators, they have an outsized effect on their environment. They are worth studying - and conserving. They are also worth a book that does them justice. Alas, this one is not it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I normally read fiction, but I have a shark loving grandson who wants to be a "Sharkologist" when he grows up, so I grabbed this book from a discount rack, new and a signed... Read morePublished 5 months ago by vidaloca5150
This book just sat under a much more interesting book about intertidal life for several days before I bothered finish it. Read morePublished 9 months ago by KDeRoo
Did you realize that the great culinary delicacy for which millions of sharks are killed each year, shark fin soup, only contains one tiny, tasteless strand from the shark's fin? Read morePublished 11 months ago by DRob
Eye opening look into what humans have done to the shark. Their greatest threat is us. Read and get educated, then share what you have learned.Published 17 months ago by Mark S.
In ordering this book, I was hoping for a popular scientific treatise on the amazing wonder of sharks. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Gregg Hamann
Juliet does a good job of covering a lot of ground in her book. I truly enjoyed her later chapters on the various threats and the impact of finning on sharks on places I've dived. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Amazon Customer
I felt that I had to give this book at least three stars since I'm sure it was fascinating to people who knew very little about sharks and were concerned mostly with descriptions... Read morePublished on December 31, 2013 by Kokopelli
Juliet's book is very insightful, i particularly loved the anecdotes like sand tiger sharks eating their siblings in the womb, no wonder one was recently filmed eating another... Read morePublished on August 25, 2013 by CD in DC