• Close to Shore

  • The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916
  • By: Michael Capuzzo
  • Narrated by: Len Cariou
  • Length: 6 hrs and 5 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (199 ratings)

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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.
  • Abridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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)

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What listeners say about Close to Shore

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Shark!!

Very interesting! It reads like a story about a serial killer, but it's not human...

1 person found this helpful

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Narrator skipped entire pages of book!

The narration and book are vastly different, I get missing a line or word hear and there but entire pages?! If this was non fiction I'd be fine but the book hails itself as being historically accurate- so read the whole thing!

1 person found this helpful

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Loved the Victorian Era history

Great storytelling of a terrifying time, but what captured my attention was the historical aspect of the story. Capuzzo captures the class distinctions and recreates the anxiety a lack of science at the time adds to the suspense. Loved the way he unravels the mystery and fear.

1 person found this helpful

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An entertaining mix of fact and fiction

Obviously, the author has no way of knowing the true thought process or actions of the victims under attack, or the shark itself, but he takes a well-researched guess, and lyrically conveys it. I've seen some commenters lament about the inclusion so much back story or historical details about society and lifestyles of the time, but I personally liked that, even if it didn't have much to do with the attacks themselves. Did I need to know that the small town department store owner recently switched from telegraph to the newfangled telephone for the townspeople to use? Not really. But did I find it interesting? Yes. Not a highly recommended book, as it does seem slightly drawn out. But recommended for some summer reading, on the beach just before wadding into the water to cool off :)

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Very well done

Not Fantastic but very solid, story, narration everything, I’ve seen Jaws, watch shark week, but knew little of the NJ attacks of 1916, I recommend to any Jaws fan

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Excellent!

A thoroughly detailed and well articulated examination of the shark attacks that came upon this unassuming town.Being a lifelong Shark-enthusiast, I personally enjoy this one many times as I drift off to sleep!😴

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chilling account of true life monster

methodically recalled in gory details the monster who terrorized and preyed upon swimmers on the Jersey Coast and streams in the early 1900s.

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A great listen.

This is well researched and descriptive to the degree that it takes you to that world. The voice performance is strong and both Jaws fans and history buffs will love this.

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  • Peter C.
  • 07-10-22

Great Account of NJ Shark Attacks

Had never heard of this book before but its a gem. The accounts of the attacks would probably only take up chapter or two but this book is well fleshed out with interesting and thorough contextual research that really paints a great picture of the events. Really enjoyed it.

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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 😊