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.
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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
|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|
|Shark Life: True Stories about Sharks and the Sea|
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.
|Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916|
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.
|Photo by Scott Scallard||