Close to Shore

by Mike Capuzzo


In the book. "Close to Shore" , it tells how sharks became part of U.S history. In 1916, the people of New Jersey's shore were frightened when 2 people were attacked by a shark which lead to headline news creating a big epidemic in the United States. Since it was a new era in the early 1900's people started to swim a lot more and going to the beach was a new culture. This new culture interfered with marine life and eventually lead to sharks attacking people. Then later after these attacks a shark gradually swam upstream in fresh water and into a small town in New Jersey. Since the shark was out of its natural habitat it did anything to survive even attacking humans and and feasting on them to survive. The shark took 3 more lives and creating even more chaos in the news. People started to fear sharks and decided they needed to be controlled and cause a nationwide hunt for sharks.

Author's Purpose

The author's purpose for writing his book was to inform his readers of how sharks have impacted the U.S. and its history. He writes about these tragic sharks attacks that happened throughout 1916, but he also gives us a great amount of details of how sharks behave and their habitats. His purpose of the book was to give us a bigger view of how sharks are portrayed now and how their reputation came to be. He also wanted to educate his readers that sharks aren't as dangerous as they are put out to be. They tend to be curious and can cause issues to human lifestyle but it is also vice-versa with humans to sharks. In his book he quotes, "Let us mourn the man and forgive the animal, for in truth it knew not what it did." (pg 297). This quote tells us that sharks wouldn't know what they have done wrong to us since they are just curious and mistake us as prey.


A: Ignorance will lead to your demise: Being ignorant makes you careless and act more reckless towards things. In the book it tells us how one man spread a rumor nationwide of how sharks are cowards and their myth is nothing but a lie, and it lead to people starting to careless if there were any sharks near them since they were lead by false information.
B: Curiosity will lead to problems: Being curious makes you vulnerable and careless because it allows for things to take advantage of you for being curious and clueless. In this case the shark was a curious creature because it came up shore chasing a human as prey and creating problems for it since it attacked a human. Also with swimming upstream into a small town will put it out of its natural habitat and create even more problems for it like hunger.
C: Having knowledge will give u less to fear: People of the small town in the book were lost on how to deal with a shark when it came into their town. They were uneducated on how a shark acts and its habitual behaviors. Also not being able to understand why a shark would attack the made them realize how much they actually fear the shark. Not knowing how to deal with this shark incident because of ill information on sharks it allowed for fear ad terror to spread nationwide.

Chapter of Interest

The chapter that stood out to me the most was the chapter, "The Most Dangerous Animal on Earth". I chose this chapter because it really gave me a lot of background information of sharks. It tells how sharks behave and their reason for being so aggressive. For example Young sharks feast on other young-lings while in the womb in order to survive. The chapter talks about how sharks come to be in their world and how what their behaviors are. This chapter stood out to me because it really interesting and gave facts about the dominant sharks.

Rating of DUH Book

The rating i would give my book is 3.2 out of 5 stars. I give this rating because it wasn't too bad of a book and was really interesting at times. The beginning of the book was a bit dull because all it talk about was the history of a new culture in the 1916. What i liked about it was that it gives a lot of facts about sharks and its not just a dull non-fiction book full of facts but it gives u a story of shark attacks that happened in real life. If you enjoy reading about sharks or are really curious about the behavior of sharks this book would a amusing book to you.

My Two Passages

  1. "That after noon as ripples as ripples of anticipation, Oeildrich announced, that so called, "man-eaters" sharks were a fabled of ancient. Sharks were in fact cowardly, he insisted..."(pg.21) I chose this passage because it shows how one man can impact and change how a nation views something. Calling sharks cowards nationwide and saying they aren't dangerous at all. Oeldrich's words led to people being oblivious to the danger of sharks and in the end paid a price in creating fear.
  2. "To his astonishment the shark was rising out of the net and onto the stern, snapping its great jaws. the stern heaved downward and Scheleisser battled for purchase..." (pg. 281). In this passage it tells how people started to hunt sharks but were too overconfident in trying to catch a shark with nothing but a net that they had. I chose this passage because it shows the ignorance that people have even after the shark attacks which were the result of human expansion. Humans always think they are in the right which leads them to being careless towards other species and their environment. Also this tells us of how people who weren't hunting sharks and happened to run into them in the water they would hunt it even without proper equipment.

Something I Found Surprising

The thing I found surprising was how taking revenge on a shark that attacked humans lead to outburst of shark hunting. At first the hunt was to find the shark that attacked humans and show it to the public for acknowledgement that it was dead. It turned out to be the complete opposite and people started hunting all fishes that look like sharks like whales, dolphins, and bigger marine animals. Eventually it started to become a sport than a closure piece for solving the murders. And people of the coast ordered for President Woodrow to allow for an extermination of sharks since people believed they were too dangerous. Since people thought they were too dangerous they stopped going to the beaches and hotels, leaving businesses out of money. I really thought this was surprising because for a while the president allowed for this bill to pass, but then later he re appealed it and decided it was not just to exterminate the sharks. I guess when you fear something so much you just want to get rid of it no matter what you've done.