24 September, 2021

LitStaff Pick: Summer Lovin' – Best Books for Your Beachbag

Close to Shore: A True Story of Terror in an Age of Innocence
Michael Capuzzo

If you ‘re going to the beach this summer, depending on your sense of humor, you may want to drop Michael Capuzzo’s 2001 chronicle Close to Shore: A True Story of Terror in an Age of Innocence into your beach bag. In the summer of 1916, long before the debauchery of Snookie and The Situation, swimmers visiting the beaches of the New Jersey shore were terrorized by a rogue Great White shark that killed three adults and one child before finally meeting its own end.

During the summer of 1916, a new class was emerging in the country. Families began to rent houses along the Jersey shore as a respite from the noise and heat of the city. Husbands toiled at their jobs in Manhattan during the week and took the train to the shore to be with their families for the weekend. The ocean was an irresistible attraction, offering an idyllic location for exercise and family gatherings. Unfortunately 1916 was a world away from television and internet, and communication was slow. News of the first shark attack did not appear in the shore papers until four days later and by then more attacks had occurred.

Capuzzo, a Pulitzer prize- winning journalist, explored the murky depths of newspaper archives as well as the waters along the Jersey shore in putting together the non-fiction account of the first recorded shark attacks in U.S. The book is a nail biting story of suspense and horror that will stay with the reader long after they’ve read the last page.

-Lisa Emig

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