The Devil's Teeth
A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks
By Susan Casey
(Henry Holt and Co., Hardcover, 9780805075816, 304pp.)
Publication Date: May 12, 2005
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A journalist's obsession brings her to a remote island off the California coast, home to the world's most mysterious and fearsome predators-and the strange band of surfer-scientists who follow them
Susan Casey was in her living room when she first saw the great white sharks of the Farallon Islands, their dark fins swirling around a small motorboat in a documentary. These sharks were the alphas among alphas, some longer than twenty feet, and there were too many to count; even more incredible, this congregation was taking place just twenty-seven miles off the coast of San Francisco.
In a matter of months, Casey was being hoisted out of the early-winter swells on a crane, up a cliff face to the barren surface of Southeast Farallon Island-dubbed by sailors in the 1850s the "devil's teeth." There she joined Scot Anderson and Peter Pyle, the two biologists who bunk down during shark season each fall in the island's one habitable building, a haunted, 135-year-old house spackled with lichen and gull guano. Two days later, she got her first glimpse of the famous, terrifying jaws up close and she was instantly hooked; her fascination soon yielded to obsession-and an invitation to return for a full season. But as Casey readied herself for the eight-week stint, she had no way of preparing for what she would find among the dangerous, forgotten islands that have banished every campaign for civilization in the past two hundred years.
The Devil's Teeth is a vivid dispatch from an otherworldly outpost, a story of crossing the boundary between society and an untamed place where humans are neither wanted nor needed.
Susan Casey is the development editor of Time Inc. She was previously the editor in chief of Sports Illustrated Women and an editor at large for Time Inc.'s 180 magazine titles. She also served as the creative director of Outside magazine where, with editor Mark Bryant, she led the magazine to three consecutive, history-making National Magazine Awards for General Excellence. At Outside she was part of the editorial team that developed the stories behind Into Thin Air and The Perfect Storm. Her writing has appeared in Esquire, Time, Fortune, and Sports Illustrated. She lives in New York City.
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"I read Susan Casey's book in a feeding frenzy, satisfying my curiosity while fueling my fascination with sharks. A thoroughly researched and well-written piece of literature that raises hairs as well as tickling funny bones, THE DEVIL'S TEETH artfully reveals what lurks in the shadows of the mysterious great white and the people obsessed with them. The true triumph of the book, though, is in Casey's transcendence of mere journalism—she's clearly embraced by the world of which she writes." —Linda Greenlaw, Author of THE HUNGRY OCEAN and ALL FISHERMEN ARE LIARS “A marvelous book—part adventure, part meditation, part natural history -- that takes the reader on a wild ride into a strange and seductive world. Casey is the perfect diving companion; her account of life among San Francisco's shark population is engaging, smart, and irresistible." —Susan Orlean, author of My Kind of Place and The Orchid Thief
“In delivering us to the Farallon Islands, and then into the souls of the magnificent Great White Sharks that populate its waters, Susan Casey has really delivered us into the DNA of our own beings. The Devil's Teeth is more than a shark story; it is an account of our instincts, our appetites, even our futures, all beautifully told by a writer compelled to know.”—Robert Kurson, author of Shadow Divers
"'There's another world, and it's in this one,'" declares Susan Casey, reveling in the surreality of her days and nights spent among the world's coolest, cold-eyed customers, great white sharks. Who knew these beasts lived so close to San Francisco, within the pizza delivery zone of that fair city? Casey is a poet, a bare-knuckled spirit, unabashed and funny, and hers is an entrancing ride to a beautiful, forbidding place, a new world, close by. Hang on." —Doug Stanton, author of In Harm's Way
"Susan Casey could write about guppies, and I'd want to read her book. I devoured this book like a shark." —Mary Roach, author of Stiff