The Island

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More About This Book

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553133967
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/28/1980
  • Pages: 288

Meet the Author

Peter Benchley
Scientific fact notwithstanding, anyone who’s read Peter Benchley’s terrifying Jaws – or seen the movie version – will forever see the great white shark as a vicious, bloodthirsty monster. Whatever damage Benchley did to the shark's reputation, he made up for it as a champion of study and conservation, making him a compelling author for shark fans and foes alike.

Biography

With the 1974 publication of Jaws, the story of a man-, woman-, and child-eating shark that terrorizes a seaside community, Peter Benchley left an indelible imprint on the collective American psyche. Who would ever want to go into the water again?

But there's little the reading public likes better than a good scare (remember Ira Levin's Rosemary's Baby? Or how about Thomas Harris's The Silence of the Lambs?), and with Jaws, his first novel, Benchley got all the elements just right: There was a predator; there was plenty of suspense; and, oh yes, plenty of gore, too. The book, a perfect summer beach read, was wildly successful and spent 40 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list. Benchley admitted that the book had little basis in scientific fact (at the time, almost nobody had any firsthand experience with great whites), but as a former newspaper reporter, he had impeccable instincts for a good yarn. He followed Jaws with two more terrifying deep-sea adventure novels, The Deep and The Island.

In 1982, Benchley published The Girl of the Sea of Cortez, a lovely, idyllic, and notably scare-free novel that received mixed reviews. "This reader yearned for more conflict," wrote a critic for the Los Angeles Times Book Review, "more 'and then what happened?' After a few more forays into traditional fiction, the author returned to his forté in bestselling thrillers like Beast, White Shark, and Creature.

Aware in his later years of the fragility of the species, Benchley became a staunch defender of the great white shark, penning several works of nonfiction about these endangered predators and actively advocating for ocean conservation. He died on Feburary 11, 2006, from pulmonary fibrosis, but his legacy continues with the Peter Benchley Shark Conservation Award, given annually for outstanding contributions to shark conservation.

Good To Know

Benchley was a speechwriter for Lyndon Johnson during the first two years of his administration (1967-69).

In 1999, Benchley turned his attention to writing and developing a short-lived syndicated series about plane crash survivors in the jungle, Amazon, starring Carol Alt and C. Thomas Howell.

Benchley's novels have inspired several movies and teleplays, and the author had a hand in some of them -- sometimes as an actor. He was a TV interviewer in Jaws, played bit parts in other films, and appeared onscreen as an interviewee in E!'s True Hollywood Story about the making of Jaws.

Benchley was the grandson of Robert Benchley, the famous humorist and member of the Algonquin Round Table.

Read More Show Less
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 8, 1940
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Death:
      February 12, 2006
    2. Place of Death:
      Princeton, New Jersey
    1. Education:
      Phillips Exeter Academy; B.A. in English, Harvard University, 1961

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 24, 2011

    The Island

    Blair Maynard, a recently divorced husband, in New York, decides to write a paper on unexplained dissapearences of people and boats around the Caribbean. At the same time he is taking care of his 12 year old son, Justin, for the weekend. They fly to the Turks and Caicos islands, but are captured by pirates on a fishing trip. They take Justin and try to raise him into their leader. Amazingly, these pirates have never been detected by any other human. They have a cruel but workable society. The book was interesting and had a good plot. Peter Benchley did a great job on this book. I thought it would have been pretty hard trying to survive, in that kind of situation. I liked how Benchley got some actual facts about pirates back then. It really helped put this book together. I would recommend this to readers who like history, mystery, and adventure novels.

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  • Posted December 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    May be Benchley's best book

    A nightmare of a story and I found myself yearning to escape with Blair Maynard, as he tries to retrieve his son. It was a fast-paced read, turning page after page with so much creeping suspence and discriptive terror. The characters are likable and interesting and the decriptive writing is wonderful. Although it was written 30 plus years ago its still a book that I'll read again and again. So long.

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