Juliet Eilperin / Pantheon / 320 pages
As the world is starting to open its eyes to the impacts of over-fishing and over-exploitation of the ocean’s resources, Juliet Eilperin has authored a superb chronology of humankind’s cultural association with sharks. Her book—appropriately titled Demon Fish—captures the emotions of fear, respect and awe that have prompted the human perspective on sharks to evolve from that of “sharks as semi-gods” to that of “sharks as moneymaking commodities.” Eilperin articulates how modern attitudes have resulted in lucrative industry ventures, from shark-finning for shark fin soup to shark sport-fishing off the US coastlines. These activities threaten to devastate entire populations of shark species that pre-date human existence by about 400 million years. While offering a somewhat bleak outlook for the future of sharks, Eilperin also shares heartwarming success stories of many selfless individuals and organizations that have dedicated their efforts to making a positive impact on shark conservation through their actions, advocacy, and awareness campaigns.
—Rob Tomiak, P.E., contributing author