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Shark: Travels Through a Hidden World Paperback – 20 Jun 2013

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Gerald Duckworth & Co. Ltd. (20 Jun. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0715645307
  • ISBN-13: 978-0715645307
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 151,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A salutary and eye-opening take on the world of the shark. A creature that predates the dinosaurs, its species present in every ocean and sea, deserves such a wide-ranging book --Philip Hoare, author of Leviathan, winner of the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction

A dream come true ... The natural history is pretty amazing --The London Review of Books

Juliet Eilperin has followed the story of sharks, and their uneasy relationship to man, across the globe; her intriguing, even-handed account is an eye-opener --Daily Telegraph

About the Author

Juliet Eilperin is the environmental correspondent for the Washington Post where she writes about science, policy and politics on subjects ranging from climate change to oceans. She lives with her family in Washington, D.C.


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This book was a bit slow to get started (spending the entire first chapter and a half mostly repeating herself) but is overall an incredible look at the relationship between sharks and humans throughout time. It covers a huge range of topics, from ancient shark gods and the history of shark attacks, to the ins and outs of the shark finning industry. Juliet Eilperin has put a lot of hard effort and research into this book and it shows. She paints a wonderful picture of the characters she has met while researching, and gives a refreshingly honest account of everything she has encountered during her travels (including her own shark phobia!). This is a fantastic book for everyone, not just shark lovers. I have encouraged all my friends to read it and hope that it will make most of them think twice before labelling a shark as a 'scary man eater' again! Long live our sharks :)
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"Sharks cannot be anthropomorphised the way other creatures have been. They are vastly different from humans in how they behave and won't ever warm the hearts of the public the way penguins can." A kind understatement from Juliet Eilperin, who goes to great lengths to explore the history, anatomy and behaviours of a creature so perfectly adapted to its environment, it has remained largely unchanged in evolutionary terms for 100 million years (pre-dating the dinosaurs!).

When it comes to sharks, the golden age of scientific discovery has just begun she implores, and it's very difficult to disagree with her; she employs a scholarly, well-balanced approach to the topics she discusses (shark fin soup, Mark the Shark and the marine equivalent of trophy hunting, the impacts of commercial fishing, etc) avoiding the cardinal sin of bias in a largely science-oriented publication. Though there is a lot of name-dropping, it is evident page to page that Eilperin has gone to pain-staking lengths to prove the credibility of her writing, and it pays off. This is not, however, to the detriment of the emotional weight her words carry; most shark species have declined by 90% since the beginning of the 20th century due to a calculated "witch-hunt" by people motivated by assumptions largely based on myth and media sensationalism. A South African newspaper put it best: "Even though sharks are a minor cause of mortality for humans, this phenomenon receives an inordinate amount of media coverage and interest, probably due to humans' psychological abhorrence at being eaten alive.
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An intelligent, well informed book that covers all aspects of sharks. Covering development, habits, endangerment and problems in a readable way. A thoroughly well informed book for adults with an interest in sharks.
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