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Image of 
									Peter BenchleyPeter 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.

* Read the biography

Fact File

Peter Benchley
Date of Birth:
May 8, 1940
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
Date of Death:
February 12, 2006
Place of Death:
Princeton, New Jersey
Phillips Exeter Academy; B.A. in English, Harvard University, 1961

The Best Book to Read First

Selected Works

Book Cover Image. Title: 
								Jaws, Author: 
								Peter Benchley.

Our Price:  $ 7.99

by Peter Benchley
Benchley's great white hit has had several effects on modern perceptions of sharks and, indirectly, the development of the American box office. But its first and foremost effect is to scare the bejeebies out of even non-swimming readers. Fans of the movie should pick up making-of chronicle The Jaws Log.

*  The Jaws Log
Book Cover Image. Title: 
								White Shark, Author: 
								Peter Benchley.
*  Jaws (1974)
*  White Shark (1994)
*  Creature (1997)
*  Shark Trouble (2002)
*  Shark Life: True Stories about Sharks and the Sea (2005)

*  See the Peter Benchley chronology

Bad Rap, Good Rap

Benchley knows that his books have contributed to an often misguided animus against sharks, but he told Newsday in a 2002 interview, "I can't take any more responsibility for that than [The Godfather author] Mario Puzo can for the bad rap that the Mafia gave Italian-Americans." The upside, the author says, is that he still gets letters from kids who have become interested in studying sharks after reading Jaws.

A Shark's Tale

More About Undersea Creatures

Book Cover Image. Title: 
								Shark Life: True Stories about Sharks and the Sea, Author: 
								Peter Benchley, Adapted by Karen Wojtyla.

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Shark Life: True Stories about Sharks and the Sea
by Peter Benchley, Adapted by Karen Wojtyla
Master storyteller Benchley combines high adventure with practical information in this book that's both a thriller and a valuable guide to being safe in the sea. Benchley draws on more than three decades of experience to share information about sharks and other marine animals.

*Read an excerpt
Book Cover Image. Title: 
								Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916, Author: 
								Michael Capuzzo.

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Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916
by Michael Capuzzo
The 1916 shark attacks on Jersey Shore vacationers have been falsely referenced as the inspiration for Jaws; regardless, the story is a real-life nightmare. Capuzzo expertly deconstructs the events and the era in which they took place. Rachel Carson's book offers more tranquil observations of what lurks beneath, while Alex MacCormick compiles more true shark-inflicted mayhem.

*The Edge of the Sea  by Rachel Carson, Sue Hubbell
*Shark Attacks, Vol. 1  by Alex MacCormick
Photo by Scott Scallard