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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Nothing less than a true-life Jaws! In Close to Shore, author Michael Capuzzo provides a great read -- not just for summer, but all year round -- as well as a lively metaphor for all that was unknown and scary in the world of early-20th-century New Jersey. Close to Shore vividly tells the story of the first known attacks by a great white shark on frolicking swimmers off the Jersey Shore during the summer of 1916 -- the last year of peace before America's entry into the Great War.
These incidents are interwoven with the continually worsening news from abroad and the growing fears of German U-boats prowling off the U.S. coast. Close to Shore echoes the last glistening and innocent days of the Edwardian era as the vivid brutality of the 20th century reaches across the Atlantic.
Many things were "in the air" that hot and fateful summer: suffragettes in daring bathing suits that revealed knees and arms; disturbingly regular occurrences of infantile paralysis; swarms of recent immigrants seeking relief from the torrid city, to the dismay of the rural gentry; advances in science and medicine that would forever change the way people looked at the natural world.
But for weeks along the Jersey shoreline, summering Americans came face to face with fears of the unknown -- and, in the ocean, a man-eating shark was terrorizing the quiet beach resorts. Throughout that summer, Americans were given a view into the other side of the looking glass, as the 20th century itself loomed like a great white shark, fraught with perils that were imminent and uncontrollable. (Elena Simon)
Elena Simon lives in New York City.