Shark Attacks of the Twentieth Century: From the Pacific Coast of North America
The cover of this grisly book about Pacific Coast shark attacks cautions that the volume contains graphic photos, but it's the matter-of-fact, dry reporting of each shark attack that makes this volume particularly gruesome. Collier, president of the Shark Research Committee in California, details every known shark attack in the area--the majority of which seemed to have occurred between northern California and Oregon. Each entry is identified by its case number (going from number 1 in 1926 to 108 in 1999), and each contains medical records and quotations from the survivors. In 1991, Eric Larsen remembers being attacked by a 25-foot Great White north of Santa Cruz:""I hoped it was an Elephant Seal, when I looked down to see teeth and a huge mouth wrapped around my left leg."" A map of the attack accompanies the narrative, as well as a photo of the beach and of his wounds. Most of the cases involved surfers and divers, few were casual swimmers. Collier closes his book with chapters and graphs discussing shark attack statistics. As a document of attacks alone, the book is shockingly absorbing.