German journalist Christian Kemper’s The Fear Beneath is a serious book that documents shark attacks all around the world. Each chapter is one of his previously published articles focusing on one of many shark hotspots around the world. He takes the reader from Australia to California, from Reunion Island to Guadalupe Island, and many others besides.
As the back cover states, the author attempts to go beyond the ‘black and white’ of the age-old question, ‘are sharks dangerous?’ He explores the many ‘shades of grey’ involved with the issue of humankind’s interactions with sharks. His conclusion seems to be that human activity is primarily responsible for shark attacks, and in order to reduce the number of incidents in the future, people will have to change their habits and routines as it’s not really possible to change those of the shark.
The Fear Beneath details the facts and figures of shark attacks and seems to fall somewhere between an article collection and factual read. We felt that the chapters would have flowed more easily with details of the author’s personal journey following his passion for sharks and shark/human interaction to tie the book together.
However we enjoyed the chance to read his book, despite the often grim details of the attacks. We especially appreciated the author’s insight into the shark cage diving industry, and the benefits for both the divers and the sharks when it is done in a safe and eco-conscious manner.
For those wanting to know more about shark hotspots, documented human/ shark conflict, or perhaps with an interest in shark conservation, we recommend giving it a read!
The Fear Beneath is Christian’s first English language published book on sharks and is available from Amazon, book stores and www.tredition.com.