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Emperors of the Deep Reviews

Emperors of the Deep by William McKeever

Emperors of the Deep: Sharks--The Ocean's Most Mysterious, Most Misunderstood, and Most Important Guardians

William McKeever

3.43 out of 5

4 reviews

Category: Non-fiction
Imprint: HarperOne
Publisher: HarperOne
Publication date: 26 May 2020
ISBN: 9780062880338
4 stars out of 5
30 Jul 2020

"a celebration of these incredible beasts, and a call for us to change our attitudes to them"

They’ve survived several extinction-level events, including the one that killed the dinosaurs. Yet now they face the biggest danger of all: us. Mankind is killing so many sharks that their future is in doubt.

William McKeever’s book is a celebration of these incredible beasts, and a call for us to change our attitudes to them.

Those attitudes were heavily influenced by one man: Peter Benchley. His novel Jaws sold more than 20 million copies, and the movie it inspired terrified a whole generation into seeing sharks as killers, intent on devouring the occupant of every inflatable lilo they can find.


4 stars out of 5
PD Smith
25 Jul 2020

"The plight of a much maligned predator is investigated in this plea to respect the life in our oceans"

In this heartfelt plea to respect the life in our oceans and especially the much maligned sharks, McKeever describes how these “evolutionary marvels” are today facing the gravest threat to their existence in their entire 450m-year history. Their plight should concern us all, for as apex predators these “beautiful and majestic emperors and empresses of the deep” are vital to the health and diversity of the oceans: “Kill the sharks and humankind cripples the seas.”

4 stars out of 5
24 Jul 2020

"a heartfelt tribute to the shark"

Reaching beyond these depredations, Emperors of the Deep is a heartfelt tribute to the shark. When McKeever finally comes face to face with a great white, the monster of his childhood nightmares, his fear is gloriously transformed to awe, as he steals a glimpse of ‘a steadfast guardian of the world’s oceans’.

2 stars out of 5

"This clumsy paean to the shark is oddly toothless"

It is clear that sharks are in desperate need of a better PR outfit. Instead, they got William McKeever. A financial journalist-turned-environmental campaigner, he attempts to inspire affection for the ocean’s toothier inhabitants in a heartfelt but clumsy polemic, Emperors of the Deep. His passionate enthusiasm for his subject crashes wavelike on every page (and the book runs to a blubbery 270 of them). Unfortunately, so does his prose.