Synopses & Reviews
group of traders huddles around a pile of dried shark fins on a gleaming white floor in Hong Kong. A Papua New Guinean elder shoves off in his hand-carved canoe, ready to summon a shark with ancient magic. A scientist finds a rare shark in Indonesia and forges a deal with villagers so it and other species can survive.
In this eye-opening adventure that spans the globe, Juliet Eilperin investigates the fascinating ways different individuals and cultures relate to the ocean’s top predator. Along the way, she reminds us why, after millions of years, sharks remain among nature’s most awe-inspiring creatures.
From Belize to South Africa, from Shanghai to Bimini, we see that sharks are still the object of an obsession that may eventually lead to their extinction. This is why movie stars and professional athletes go shark hunting in Miami and why shark’s fin soup remains a coveted status symbol in China. Yet we also see glimpses of how people and sharks can exist alongside one another: surfers tolerating their presence off Cape Town and ecotourists swimming with sharks that locals in the Yucatán no longer have to hunt.
With a reporter’s instinct for a good story and a scientist’s curiosity, Eilperin offers us an up-close understanding of these extraordinary, mysterious creatures in the most entertaining and illuminating shark encounter you’re likely to find outside a steel cage.
A high-spirited global investigation that uncovers the often surprising and inexplicable ways people and cultures relate to and engage with the ocean’s top predator.
Juliet Eilperin—national environmental reporter for The Washington Post—begins her journey in Papua New Guinea, where sharks play a unique role in creation myths, and where the practice of shark calling—summoning sharks by magic—still flourishes. She takes us to Hong Kong and mainland China, where we glimpse the gruesome finning practices that supply the prime ingredient in status-imbuing shark’s fin soup. In Miami, we meet Mark “the Shark” Quartiano, shark-fishing guide to the stars. And wherever she travels—from Japan to the Yucatán peninsula, from Indonesia to Cape Town, South Africa—Eilperin illuminates the ways in which the mythological significance attributed to sharks has made them objects of reverence, fear, and fascination, and of misperceptions that may eventually lead to their extinction.
With a reporter’s instinct for a good story and a scientist’s curiosity, Eilperin offers us an up-close and in-depth understanding of these extraordinary, mysterious creatures in the most entertaining and illuminating shark encounter you’re likely to find outside a steel cage.
About the Author
Juliet Eilperin is the national environmental reporter for The Washington Post, where she writes about science, policy, and politics in areas ranging from climate change to oceans. A graduate of Princeton University, she lives with her family in Washington, D.C.