"Read this book on the terror of shark attack"
--The New York Times
"Artistry reminiscent of Stephen Crane...deserves a place among the adventure classics."
-- The New Yorker
"Every bit as scary as Jaws."
New York Times bestseller
USA Today Bestseller
Publisher's Weekly Bestseller
People magazine "Top Ten
Book of the Year"
The London Independent
"Book of the Year"
The Wall Street Journal,
Recommended summer book
New York magazine
No. 1 Summer Book
BBC Book of the Week
Reader's Digest Excerpt
Optioned by NBC Studios
& Sony Pictures
Nominated by Random House
for the Pulitzer Prize
& The National Book Award
Close To Shore
The New Jersey Shore, 1916: President Woodrow Wilson ran for reelection in the summer White House on the promise "He Kept Us Out of the War," Ex-President William Howard Taft appeared July 4th at the grand oceanfront Essex & Sussex Hotel, a bellhop and a doctor's son went for a swim, and the last Edwardian summer before America entered WWI was shattered by a new and ancient terror. A Great White Shark unleashed the first and worst rogue shark attacks in history along the crowded Jersey beaches, killed four people, changed the modern world's view of sharks and the ocean, and became the model for the book and movie Jaws.
Six-time Pulitzer-nominated journalist Michael Capuzzo uncovered the long-forgotten true story of Jaws from its watery grave. His thrilling tale was widely hailed as a classic of suspense, science writing, American history, and lyrical prose, "a portrait of the shark as much as of the era" that is "scarier than Jaws," and with numerous printings has become part of American culture and the modern fascination with sharks.
Following the first fatal Great White Shark attack in Massachusetts in 82 years in September 2018, The New York Times recommended Close to Shore as the number one book to read (Peter Benchley's Jaws was No. 3) to understand "the terror of shark attacks" that are rare but "loom large in the American imagination."
The Great Adventure Story of the Summer of 1916:
The Shark Attacks that Changed History And Inspired the Book and Movie JAWS
With an artistry reminiscent of Stephen Crane's 'Whilomville Stories," Capuzzo chronicles a series of great-white-shark attacks on swimmers - the first in American history - along the New Jersey coast in the summer of 1916. Chapters that bring the period to life are interspersed with chapters on ichthyology; our modem knowledge of this consummately engineered predator only increases our appreciation of the terror and incredulity that the attacks unleashed. Capuzzo's book is a portrait of the shark as much as of the era, and deserves a place among the adventure classics. --The New Yorker
Extraordinary…Capuzzo captures a time of innocence, and its greatest nightmare. --John Sandford, author of the Prey novels
A powerful page-turner that will keep you out of the water for another year.
Though Jaws capitalized on the series of 1916 shark attacks described in this book, Capuzzo's graceful, painstakingly researched account is even more compelling. --New York magazine
A remarkable story...a flash photo of the moment when our fascination with sharks transformed from awe into mortal dread. --Entertainment Weekly
As a piece of writing. Close To Shore descends from...E. L. Doctorow's Ragtime...The vicious climaxes of the (shark's) journey are hatefully vivid…As redness spills into the water, one's own blood runs simultaneously hot and cold. All in all, this book is quite a performance. --London Telegraph
Capuzzo's account of the 1916 shark attacks on the Jersey shore recaptures the intense drama of the real events with a lyrical intensity rare in nonfiction writing. Along with its riveting doses of sheer terror, it recreates an era. You feel the past. Meticulously researched, beautifully written. This is strong stuff.
--Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down
Close to Shore is a truly remarkable book. Michael Capuzzo has combined a beautifully written social history with the kind of thriller that defies being put down until the last page. But this monster story is dreadfully true. And in Capuzzo's capable hands it becomes an elegiac story that tugs at the heart at the same time it makes it beat all the faster. Books like this one just don't come along very often.
--Michael Connelly, author of the Harry Bosch detective novels
A major achievement, building on the sandy shore a formidable piece of American history. The writing is controlled and vivid and the research magnificent. Remarkable, among other things, is the author's ability to almost get into the 'mind' of the shark as it moved through the sea and sought to maneuver itself to its best advantage in order to survive. Close to Shore is a splendid book. --Gay Talese
A sepia-toned prewar crime story, imbued with atmosphere and detail.
A chair-gripper of which Benchley or even Spielberg would be proud...The sense of hunting and being hunted...is part of every page... --Houston Chronicle
Several decades ago, a little summer thriller named Jaws changed swimming habits forever. Now along comes Michael Capuzzo with...a story made all the more incredible because it happened. Close to Shore is a wonderful period piece of America on the cusp of the Roaring Twenties. But at the book's heart is that most mysterious of all sea creatures—the great white...Read Capuzzo's account of what happened that summer on the Jersey Shore, and then, I dare you, go back in the water.
--Buzz Bissinger, author, Friday Night Lights
Far more intelligent and satisfying than typical summer escapist fare. Close to Shore is part social history, part science book, part fish story, abundantly sprinkled with character sketches.. .An absorbing page-turner. And every bit as scary (as Jaws). --Chicago Tribune
You read this compelling yarn with mouth ajar in amazement.
A mesmerizing account...vibrates with rich detail of the period. Capuzzo...writes with a cinematic sense of tension and timing. He's terrifically clever at taunting with false alarms, drawing out the suspense. --Montreal Gazette
A pager-turner…as a social historian (Capuzzo) is especially good at selection and connecting the disparate information that makes this book something more than the Truth behind Jaws. --The Ottawa Citizen
Brilliantly captures the mood of the time. --London Herald Sun
A powerful page-turner… Capuzzo is a masterly writer and his book is every bit as gripping as a thrilling novel. --The Glasgow Herald (Scotland)
Pulse-pounding. Capuzzo's account proves that truth can be scarier than fiction. --Boston Herald
Chillingly real. Capuzzo's blend of Ragtime and Jaws is difficult to put down. --The Canadian Press
A must read for every armchair ichthyologist and anyone interested in pre-Roaring '20s history. The book effectively educates as it terrorizes. It will educate, excite, entice and make you wary on your next vacation to the sea—the perfect beach book. --Tulsa World
Unbridled suspense, fascinating rich history and sheer terror...Written like a great novel, and researched like an eloquent biography. "
--Southbridge (MA) Evening News
A brilliant writer. --Calgary Herald
Reads like a novel. Capuzzo brilliantly recreates events, seeing into the hearts and minds of historical figures with ease, rendering their hopes and fears with compassion and warmth...And he beautifully interlaces what we know about sharks and shark attacks into the narrative. Don't open this book until you're settled in for a long read; like a shark, it grabs your attention and won't let go. You won't be venturing into deep water after reading it. You'll be seeing fins every time a wave breaks. It's that good. --New Orleans Times Picayune
Capuzzo has created the rare non-fiction page-turner.
The most perfect beach book ever. Better than Jaws-an amazing story, terrific writing, and the Gilded Age setting is fascinating. I loved it.
--Linda Marotta, buyer at Shakespeare & Company, New York City