Michael Capuzzo tells the story of 12 days in 1916, when a shark attacks people in the Atlantic Ocean off the New Jersey shore. In the summer of 1916, a great white shark went into attack mode. Four people were killed and the whole eastern coast was terrified to go to the beach. It affected the tourism business and the economy was weakened, because people were afraid to go to the beach. Capuzzo not only tells the story of these people, but he gives part of the story from the shark’s perspective. The author compares the great white to someone "who goes off the deep end and starts shooting."
“Close to Shore” is not an easy read. It is pretty slow at the beginning and hard to get into. One of the things that make this story interesting is that it includes a great picture of what life was like in world in 1916. It could be considered a history of the day told inside a shark story. Capuzzo spends a lot of time preparing the reader for the story with a background story about the life and times of the people he is writing about.
The story goes back and forth from the people’s story to the sharks story. This also can make it difficult to follow. The reader needs to concentrate on who is doing the talking.
"Charles Bruder felt a slight vacuum tug in the motion of the sea, noted it as a passing current, the pull of a wave, the tickle of undertow. He could not have heard the faint, sucking rush of water not far beneath him. He couldn't have seen or heard what was hurtling from the murk at astonishing speed, jaws unhinging, widening, for the enormous first bite. It was the classic attack that no other creature in nature could make--a bomb from the depths."