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Jaws [Hardcover]

Peter Benchley
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)

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Hardcover, 31 May 2005 --  
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Book Description

31 May 2005
"Relentless terror." The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The classic, blockbuster thriller of man-eating terror that inspired the Steven Spielberg movie and made millions of beachgoers afraid to go into the water. Experience the thrill of helpless horror again -- or for the first time!

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 311 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (31 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400064562
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400064564
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 14 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,791,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

Peter Benchley was born in New York City in 1940 and is the son of novelist Nathaniel Benchley and grandson of humorist Robert Benchley. He has worked as a reporter for the Washington Post, as associate editor of Newsweek and as a speech-writer for President Johnson. His stories and articles have appeared in numerous magazines, including the New Yorker and National Geographic. Jaws is his first novel. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone's seen the film... Read the book! 10 Jun 2012
Firstly, Is it horror? Despite the protestations of one of my dearest friends, "What's scary about a big fish?" I would respectfully submit to you that yes, Jaws is in fact a horror. If you are of the opinion that a masked man stalking teenagers in smalltown America, picking them off one by one is horror; then a man-eating shark preying on unsuspecting bathers off the coast of smalltown America is no different.

For me, if there was a physical embodiment of fear, it's a shark. This is an absolutely primal fear of an animal whose basic design has not evolved or changed in millions of years. Sharks are effectively living fossils, an apex predator so perfectly acclimated to its ecosystem that they have survived for million of years at the top of their food chain. So yes, `Jaws' is a horror novel.

Released in 1974, `Jaws' hit the bestseller lists and stayed there for nearly a whole year.

The author (Peter Benchley) drew his inspiration for this novel from a number of real-life incidents, most notably the 1964 landing of a 2000kg Great White Shark caught off the coast of New York state and the infamous Jersey Shore attacks of 1916.

As stated previously, `Jaws' is the story of a small American coastal town, reliant on summer tourist trade that is preyed upon by a man-eating Great White Shark; and the subsequent hunting of said shark by the town's police chief, an Ichthyologist and the local seasoned shark hunter. Many will already be familiar with the Spielberg film adaptation but I would suggest to you all that the novel is by far the superior of the two.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping! 6 Mar 2010
Peter Benchley's 'Jaws' is a book very much of its time: there are some characters that resonate the recent history of America (Hendricks, a Vietnam veteran with obliviously homophobic undertones- a role significantly reduced in the film). There is also a somewhat mysoginist view of female sexuality (a discussion about sexual fantasies in the book focuses shockingly on Ellen Brody's apparent desire to be raped- that's no way to flirt)... but if you're going to read 'Jaws' for informed social commentary, you've probably picked up the wrong book.

When Benchley isn't concerning himself with domestic issues, class conflict and shady political dealings (something he is clearly interested in exploring in Part Two), he excels at constructing taught, tense sequences that move at such a thunderous pace they are actually heart-pounding. The opening sequence is much what you would expect having seen the film, as is the inevitable finale, but the difference between this book and the unsurpassable movie that it inspired is largely in the characters. A major supporting character is entirely excised from the film (journalist Harry Meadows), the touching connection Brody has with his sons is absent from the book, and Hooper is an entirely different animal altogether.

There are some incosistencies within the book; in the first two acts, Benchley seems unsure whether to follow the shark or the effects it has on the small town leading into an entirely unnecessary and uncomfortable emotional betrayal (it's here that Benchley shows weakness) and also giving too little focus to a subplot about Mayor Larry Vaughan's shadowy mafia connections (perhaps something better left hinted at rather than exposed- I don't entirely understand the point of the cat sequence at all).
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and ripping. 23 May 2001
By A Customer
An old coverless copy of Jaws was left in my waiting room at the clinic. You can imagine my surprise when far from being a dental thriller, this book turned out to be all about a shark. Well I couldn't put the book down. As I read on my denture patients were suffering from floating lower chompers and food getting trapped underneath their falsies. So be it, this is a fabulous ripping tale, taut and explosive at the same time, has only one draw back - it caused a universal fear, hatred and subsequently slaughter of the Great White. I understand Mr Benchley is now on a crusade to rectify this. If successful that will be his greatest work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Tale 9 Jun 2014
By DarkAngel 1892 TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Excellent novel. Worth a read on its 40th anniversary, even if you have, like me, watched the film many times. A much darker and fleshed-out story than the film with many plot differences. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read and good value. 9 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A classic story but with some twists compared to the film...worth a read and good value, too. I would recommend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good! 30 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I love the movie and a friend told me that I should consider reading the book. I thought this book was fantastic, slightly different from the Jaws movie but well written and in some parts pretty scary. If your a fan of the movie this book wont disappoint.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have always been a big fan of the movie and before now i'd never really considered the original book.

I was very pleasantly surprised to see such a difference from the movie, which kept all the qualities I came to expect having watched the movie countless times.

There are plenty of sub-plots in the story and a lot of suspense. A very enjoyable read, from the first page to last I was hooked.

I would highly recommend this to anyone who has watched and enjoyed the movie, or even if you haven't!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential classic
Jaws manages to hold itself up against modern monster thrillers, as rather than shoving 2-dimensional characters into a story focusing on the creature, Benchley chooses to use... Read more
Published 54 minutes ago by Calum Herpich
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic
Read it before and still as good now....classic read!
Published 1 day ago by Vulcan
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
different to the film but a good read
Published 1 day ago by julie green
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
verey good book and with great seller
Published 14 days ago by nannyfan
4.0 out of 5 stars A modern classic
While it may not be the best-written work around, there's no denying that Jaws is a great book, with more depth and character than the film.
Published 28 days ago by Ra Leigh
4.0 out of 5 stars Page turner.
There is little doubt that the book has been eclipsed by the film. However, there are differences regarding characterisation and plot that make reading the novel worthwhile. Read more
Published 3 months ago by J. Anderson
4.0 out of 5 stars Rated by my 11 year old daughter
We wanted something different from the standard fare and so I suggested this - it was certainly different but a little too gory for an 11 year old
Published 3 months ago by Mr. J. E. M. Small
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
I'm probably one of the few people here that hasn't watched the jaws movies all the way through. Sure, I've seen clips, especially of the terrible rubber sharks, but they never... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Laura of Lurking
5.0 out of 5 stars Mega shark by Julie craves
Hi it's great so buy it

If you are in my club book beasts you will know me as book boss I hope you enjoyed the copy of Mark mangroves latest book space upon the hills... Read more
Published 6 months ago by feed Bob it was great I like it all
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