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Download Close to Shore: A True Story of Terror in an Age of Innocence Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Close to Shore: A True Story of Terror in an Age of Innocence, by Michael Capuzzo Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.88 out of 53.88 out of 53.88 out of 53.88 out of 53.88 out of 5 3.88 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Michael Capuzzo Narrator: Len Cariou Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Combining rich historical detail and a harrowing, pulse-pounding narrative, Close to Shore brilliantly recreates 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.

Interweaving a vivid portrait of the era and meticulously drawn characters with chilling accounts of the shark's five attacks and the frenzied hunt that ensued, Michael Capuzzo has created a nonfiction historical thriller with the texture of Ragtime and the tension of Jaws. From the unnerving inevitability of the first attack on the esteemed son of a prosperous Philadelphia physician to the spine-tingling moment when a farm boy swimming in Matawan Creek feels the sandpaper-like skin of the passing shark, Close to Shore is an undeniably gripping saga.

Heightening the drama are stories of the resulting panic in the citizenry, press and politicians, and of colorful personalities such as Herman Oelrichs, a flamboyant millionaire who made a bet that a shark was no match for a man (and set out to prove it); Museum of Natural History ichthyologist John Treadwell Nichols, faced with the challenge of stopping a mythic sea creature about which little was known; and, most memorable, the rogue Great White itself moving through a world that couldn't conceive of either its destructive power or its moral right to destroy.

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 Shorerecounts a breathtaking, pivotal moment in American history with startling immediacy.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Close to Shore not only throws an interesting light on a series of terrifying events, but also puts them in the perspective of an intriguing time. It makes for enlightening and sometimes pulse-pounding reading.”

    Denver Post

  • “Capuzzo’s account proves that truth can be scarier than fiction.”

    Boston Herald

  • “A powerful page-turner that will keep you out of the water for another year.”


  • “A sepia-toned prewar crime story, imbued with atmosphere and detail.”


  • “A page-turner, extremely well researched and well written. 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.”

    Ottawa Citizen

  • “A killer of a beach story. A riveting rendering of these events.”

    Plain Dealer

  • “Gripping. Truly exciting.”

    Wisconsin Jamesville Gazette

  • “Chillingly real. Capuzzo’s blend of Ragtime and Jaws is difficult to put down.”

    Canadian Press

  • “A chair gripper.”

    Houston Chronicle

  • “Gripping. Well-turned.”

    St. Louis Post Dispatch

  • “The best beach book of the year may be this thriller about the first shark attacks on American swimmers.”

    Austin American-Statesman

  • “Vivid and dramatic.”

    Newark Star Ledger

  • “A masterfully constructed saga of beauty and terror that will make you shiver…A well-researched and compelling read, with the pace of a suspense novel and the meat of a nonfiction profile of one of the sea’s most intriguing creatures.”

    Winston-Salem Journal

  • “Capuzzo’s account of the 1916 shark attacks on the Jersey shore recaptures the intense drama of the real events…Riveting doses of sheer terror…This is strong stuff.”

    Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down and Killing Pablo

  • “This monster story is dreadfully true…Books like this one just don’t come along very often.”

    Michael Connelly

  • 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—lurking, thinking, calculating, and then acting with its fifty triangular teeth and six tons of per square inch pressure. Read Capuzzo’s account of what happened that summer on the Jersey Shore, and then, I dare you, go back to the water.”

    Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights

  • “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 modern knowledge of this consummately engineered predator only increases out appreciation of the terror and incredulity that the attacks unleashed. Capuzzo’s book is a portrait of the shark as much as of an era, and deserves a place among the adventure classics.”

    New Yorker

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Frl. Irene | 3/10/2011

    " I love sharks! This book was really good - though from time to time I just wished for more shark and less historical background.. But it was a fun read. :") "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by David | 3/7/2011

    " If you really liked the movie JAWS, then you will love this book. Its about a Great White Shark that will eat anything in its path like fish, seals, and even HUMANS. This hungry giant will eat anyhting to survive. I recommend that you read this book today. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Barb | 2/26/2011

    " Very well-written. Divided by chapters, that pull the whole disstressing, terrifying story together. Great descriptive writing of old Philadelphia. To be read each summer at the Jersey shore. Just grab a chapter and read it aloud to your beach buddies. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Rachel | 12/1/2010

    " I read most of this book, but for some reason I just couldn't finish it. It was interesting but I guess just not compelling enough. "

  • > Show All
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