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Shadow Divers: Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of WWII (audiobook)

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In 1991, acting on a tip from a local fisherman, two scuba divers discovered a sunken German U-boat, complete with its crew of 60 men, not too far off the New Jersey coast. The divers, realizing the momentousness of their discovery, began probing the mystery. Over the next six years, they became expert and well-traveled researchers, taught themselves German, hunted for clu In 1991, acting on a tip from a local fisherman, two scuba divers discovered a sunken German U-boat, complete with its crew of 60 men, not too far off the New Jersey coast. The divers, realizing the momentousness of their discovery, began probing the mystery. Over the next six years, they became expert and well-traveled researchers, taught themselves German, hunted for clues in Germany, and constructed theories corrective of the history books, all in an effort to identify this sunken U-boat and its crew. During that time, three of their colleagues died exploring the wreck, including a father and son team. In 1997, when it all seemed in vain, the two divers came up with a final plan, so dangerous that the book ends with this last dive.


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In 1991, acting on a tip from a local fisherman, two scuba divers discovered a sunken German U-boat, complete with its crew of 60 men, not too far off the New Jersey coast. The divers, realizing the momentousness of their discovery, began probing the mystery. Over the next six years, they became expert and well-traveled researchers, taught themselves German, hunted for clu In 1991, acting on a tip from a local fisherman, two scuba divers discovered a sunken German U-boat, complete with its crew of 60 men, not too far off the New Jersey coast. The divers, realizing the momentousness of their discovery, began probing the mystery. Over the next six years, they became expert and well-traveled researchers, taught themselves German, hunted for clues in Germany, and constructed theories corrective of the history books, all in an effort to identify this sunken U-boat and its crew. During that time, three of their colleagues died exploring the wreck, including a father and son team. In 1997, when it all seemed in vain, the two divers came up with a final plan, so dangerous that the book ends with this last dive.

30 review for Shadow Divers: Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of WWII (audiobook)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Brina

    As a kid one of my favorite television shows was Jacques Cousteau's Undersea Kingdom. I was enthralled with the idea of scuba divers swimming with dolphins and looking for sunken treasures and video taping their findings for the world to see. While Cousteau's weekly program showed coral reefs and shallow water scuba diving that many tourists engage in, he on occasion aired a program about deep sea divers searching for the sea's mysteries. When the nonfiction book club on goodreads selected Shado As a kid one of my favorite television shows was Jacques Cousteau's Undersea Kingdom. I was enthralled with the idea of scuba divers swimming with dolphins and looking for sunken treasures and video taping their findings for the world to see. While Cousteau's weekly program showed coral reefs and shallow water scuba diving that many tourists engage in, he on occasion aired a program about deep sea divers searching for the sea's mysteries. When the nonfiction book club on goodreads selected Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson as one of the group's monthly reads, I had my curiosity piqued. Combining two of my interests, history and marine life, Kurson takes his readers on an adventure to discover the identity of one of the last World War II vintage ship wrecks. Although not as breathtaking as Jacques Cousteau's videos, I knew that I would be in for a death defying ride. Bill Nagle was considered a legend in the North Atlantic deep sea diving community. Engaging in multiple dives to offshore ship wrecks each summer, Nagle dove for the sheer pleasure of it and to unlock clues to the mysteries of the deep. His legend grew to mythic proportions when he rescued the bell from the Andrea Doria and soon began to charter trips to various deep sea wrecks from his boat the Seeker. Although his sport has its risks, Nagle took measured risks in all of his dives, obtaining relics from wrecks up and down the Atlantic seaboard. His name growing to become one of the leaders of his sport, one day a chance meeting lead Nagle to secret coordinates of the coast of Brielle, New Jersey where laying on the ocean's floor was a sunken U-boat. Quickly assembling a team of only the best divers to submerge to the risky depth of 230 feet, the race to discover the mystery of a sunken World War II vintage submarine had begun. Emerging as the leaders of the quest to obtain the identity of the Who-Boat were John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, Kurson's leading informants on this project. Both men came of age during the Vietnam years, never attended college, and felt more at home in the sea than on land. Chatterton dove to find himself and Kohler, on this mission especially, to find the identity of seamen in order to bring a sense of closure to their families. The two divers despite their at times differing ideologies were kindred spirits. Between 1991 and 1997 either on dives or during research, the two divers stopped at nothing to find out the identity of the mystery U-boat. Whether it was in the form of meetings at restaurants, late night phone calls, or fact seeking missions to the United States Naval Archives in Washington, D.C., Chatterton and Kohler would not rest physically or emotionally until they knew for certain the identity of their mystery U-boat. With the divers as his guides, Kurson pieces together the difficulty in solving a unique case. I gravitate toward fictional mysteries in between heavier reads to clear my palette, but Kurson has introduced his readers to a truthful mystery. What is the identity of the U-boat? When did it sink and why? In what part of the submarine could divers finally discover the truth to its identity? The search was not without peril as three divers died and others nearly drowned during dives to the wreck. Chatterton and Kohler would not relent on their quest, both at the expense of their marriages. The men would question naval authorities and mentally videotape the rooms of a U-boat both underwater and in museums in order to finally piece together the clues that would solve this great mystery. Kurson was fortunate to be along for the ride. Bill Nagle was not alive when this mystery was solved, succumbing to cirrhosis after a lifetime of drinking. Chatterton and Kohler persisted even after many members of Nagle's original dive team aboard the Seeker dropped out. After six years they would not rest until they knew the identity of the U-boat and were able to deliver the news to the victim's families after over fifty years of uncertainties. Even though at times I grew frustrated especially as I came to know the dangers of deep sea diving, I remained with Chatterton and Kohler for the duration of their mission. While not a book I would necessarily choose had it not been a group read, I was enthralled by both the history lessons and secrets of the deep, which Kurson unravels over the course of this compelling book. 3.75 stars

  2. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Things that don't interest me: --military history --WWII --submarines --other ocean-going vessels --maritime terminology --scuba diving Oddly enough, these are what this book is about and whenever real life forced me to set it down and walk away for awhile, I spent an absurd amount of time thinking about it and frantically wondering, "what next? Tell me more! I need to know more!" I think that means Robert Kurson might be a brilliant writer. My husband is a U.S. Navy submarine veteran and belongs to a Things that don't interest me: --military history --WWII --submarines --other ocean-going vessels --maritime terminology --scuba diving Oddly enough, these are what this book is about and whenever real life forced me to set it down and walk away for awhile, I spent an absurd amount of time thinking about it and frantically wondering, "what next? Tell me more! I need to know more!" I think that means Robert Kurson might be a brilliant writer. My husband is a U.S. Navy submarine veteran and belongs to a local base of crusty submariners (most of the members are WWII era gents) and whenever I've attended one of their events with him, the technical discussions about submarine qualifications and specifications bores me to tears. And yet I've been talking my husband's ear off all week about German U-boats. He keeps looking at me like he doesn't know me.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Holy moly. I didn't think that this book would be as amazing as it was. I had thought it'd be a rather dry telling of an awesome discovery, but it was so much more than that. Mr. Kurson was able to tell John Chatterton and Richie Kohler's stories so that it read just like that, a story. His tone was honest and even, his research was obvious. There were points where I had to remind myself that this wasn't fiction. I truly appreciated the history that Mr. Kurson injected into this entire book. Not o Holy moly. I didn't think that this book would be as amazing as it was. I had thought it'd be a rather dry telling of an awesome discovery, but it was so much more than that. Mr. Kurson was able to tell John Chatterton and Richie Kohler's stories so that it read just like that, a story. His tone was honest and even, his research was obvious. There were points where I had to remind myself that this wasn't fiction. I truly appreciated the history that Mr. Kurson injected into this entire book. Not only the history of the sub and the men who lost their lives for their country, but the history of wreck-diving, Chatterton and Kohler's histories, and the history of Bill Nagle. I kept reading through the different chapters thinking, "that's just craziness", or "no WAY!", but I couldn't put it down. The way Mr. Kurson described some of the last moments of wreck-divers that had been lost had me occasionally holding my breath and grieving the outcome. I think that's an amazing feat for a novel such as this. I was genuinely saddened by the losses of divers, and the reconstructed history and eventual loss of the men aboard the U-boat. I'm amazed by the sheer dedication from Mr. Chatterton and Mr. Kohler. Not only did they want to figure this mystery out, they wanted to do so without giving in to the "treasure hunting" aspect and without disturbing the bones left behind. Their trips all over the world, their passion for discovering the truth, their desire to correct history (and how sad is this - they found that written history is not infallible, that sometimes assumptions were changed and presented as truth in order to make an assessor feel better about his job), and Mr. Kohler's desire to let the families of the U-Boat men know the truth is something that I appreciated, applauded and agreed with. They risked so much to put an actual name to the boat, not settling for assumptions. They spent years on this project, refusing to quit when their family, friends and colleagues told them it was time to walk away. They didn't give in to the "easy", and instead focused on what was right, and that in itself made their story a magnificent read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Libby

    This is the fascinating true story of deep-sea wreck divers. Some are commercial divers while others come from all walks of life and share the love of discovery, the call of the unknown. Most are die-hard aficionados of the artifacts that can be pulled from underwater wrecks. Whatever their life calling, deep-sea divers are explorers; they are today’s frontiersmen and women, probing, sifting, and investigating. Sometimes the exploration turns inward to investigate what's inside of them answering This is the fascinating true story of deep-sea wreck divers. Some are commercial divers while others come from all walks of life and share the love of discovery, the call of the unknown. Most are die-hard aficionados of the artifacts that can be pulled from underwater wrecks. Whatever their life calling, deep-sea divers are explorers; they are today’s frontiersmen and women, probing, sifting, and investigating. Sometimes the exploration turns inward to investigate what's inside of them answering this call to 'go forth.' What is it that compels a person to risk their life when the negative side can be a horrible, painful death? In this account, author Robert Kurson takes the reader below the ocean to a depth of 230 feet where an unknown wreck has been discovered in 1991 60 miles off the coast of New Jersey by Captain Bill Nagle. While Kurson follows a formulaic approach to his novel’s format, the narrative is anything but. I read Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man's First Journey to the Moon by this author, published in 2018 and because of that novel, I wanted to backtrack and read this one, published in 2004. Both novels are similarly powerful and emotive, tracking strong, idealized men with deep core principles. While focusing on the thread of his main story, Kurson probes into each man’s past. What is he made of? What brings him to this moment? What principles does he live by? Are his principles put to the test? I can tell you that in this story they certainly are! The deep-sea diver has many obstacles to overcome, but the main one is fear. Panic will cause a diver to breathe up his air more quickly, sending his air gauge into the red. Timing is everything. Because of the decompression time required for deep-sea dives, they only have around 25 minutes on the bottom to explore. If anything goes wrong and they don’t decompress properly, they can die from decompression sickness (the bends) as nitrogen dissolves into the body’s tissues causing a host of problems. A slow ascension allows the nitrogen to diffuse out of the tissues. One diver in the narrative becomes a “dirt dart.” Having improperly adjusted his buoyancy control device, he sinks rapidly to the ocean floor. This is a potentially life-threatening event. In this particular situation, the diver then overcorrected (panic?) his buoyancy device and rose rapidly to the ocean surface without decompressing. Did he survive? This is just one of many situations that had me holding my breath. The scenarios reminded me of the risks of extreme sports. However, there’s more meat to this story than just an adrenaline rush. It’s also about the mystery of solving this particular wreck’s identification. Solving the wreck's identity kept me eagerly turning pages. A fascinating account that I recommend for all those who love adventure stories. However, this is a story that is appealing on many levels, to those who are interested in tales of a principled life, tales of the seeker explorer, or the mystery of remaining still in the death’s eye of panic, something which I think enthralls most of us.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    Every year I seem to read at least one highly charged very masculine book. This definitely filled the bill this year. A fascinating tale of obsession, deep-sea wreck diving and German U-boats. A very high risk occupation with multiple deaths on the journey, a mystery involving WWII, two men dedicated to their craft of deep sea diving and committed to finding the truth of their discovery. Kurson put together a thrilling book which also seemed to have historical relevance. (view spoiler)[The men d Every year I seem to read at least one highly charged very masculine book. This definitely filled the bill this year. A fascinating tale of obsession, deep-sea wreck diving and German U-boats. A very high risk occupation with multiple deaths on the journey, a mystery involving WWII, two men dedicated to their craft of deep sea diving and committed to finding the truth of their discovery. Kurson put together a thrilling book which also seemed to have historical relevance. (view spoiler)[The men discovered a Nazi submarine off of the coast of New Jersey. They could not identify it because the records were incomplete and inaccurate. The proof was in the sub and the sub was very deep. In fact it pressed on the depth limits of safe diving during that time. John Chatterton and Richie Kohler worked tireless and risked their lives to solve the mystery. (hide spoiler)] What I found most jarring was the notion that a Nazi sub was sunk off the coast of the USA during the WWII. I never knew they were so close to our shores. Very naïve on my part. There were actually several Nazi subs sunk here. Kurson was thorough and was even able to get inside accounts of the sunken U-boat crew. (view spoiler)[a sailor got violently ill the day the boat embarked so he escaped death and survived long enough to provide accounts and memories of the crew (1996) (hide spoiler)] Though Kurson worked really hard to lionize these two men as honorable and full of moral character, their obsession led to a deterioration of their personal lives. They sacrificed a lot to basically identify which specific sub sunk off of the New Jersey coast. To be honest, on the question of "was it worth it?"; I opt toward the idea that it was a little reckless and frivolous. Kurson says they are grown up Boy Scouts: patriotic, honorable and true. So basically, this was my 2020 "Himbo" book. But in spite of that sort of thing; it really was a riveting, engaging and excellent read. Highly recommended for an adventure!! 4 Stars Read on kindle

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mara

    Well, I've done some calculations, and it turns out that there are precisely one-bagillion ways to die while deep water diving. As I'm neither Boyle, nor Dalton nor Henry I won't be going into grave (as in watery grave) detail vis-à-vis the laws of physics that make humans so ill-equipped to brave the pelagic depths of the sea.* Things like nitrogen narcosis can impair even a master diver's decision-making skills, and those decisions can often be fatal. Wreck diving, the subject of this rive Well, I've done some calculations, and it turns out that there are precisely one-bagillion ways to die while deep water diving. As I'm neither Boyle, nor Dalton nor Henry I won't be going into grave (as in watery grave) detail vis-à-vis the laws of physics that make humans so ill-equipped to brave the pelagic depths of the sea.* Things like nitrogen narcosis can impair even a master diver's decision-making skills, and those decisions can often be fatal. Wreck diving, the subject of this riveting read, adds a bevy of other hazards to the diving-danger equation. By the time you've thrown together the variables specific to John Chatterton and Richie Kohler 's quest to identify a previously unexplored (and undocumented) U-boat found off the coast of New Jersey, splash time seems like suicide. However, this isn't just a story about people doing something extremely dangerous (which, admittedly, has an appeal). There's a reason that others have likened this book to John Krakauer's Into Thin Air and Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm . Shadow Divers is a story with rich characters who are woven into a broader history that seems to almost inevitably lead to the adventure at hand. This book will also get your heart pumping (which is ok, since your oxygen gauge isn't running low) if you're at all into WWII military history. Author Robert Kurson does a great job of making this about mystery and curiosity, while keeping a respectful distance from the politics of it all (not in a Hitler was a great guy kind of way, in a everyone wants to know what became of their loved ones kind of way). I'm likely not doing this one justice, because it's the details and the slow build of the relationships, the thirst for knowledge and the love of the unknown that made this so worthwhile. * If, like me, you find studying the various gas laws to be a fun leisure time activity, check out Andy Davis' The Physics of Diving page Bonus example of something you do not want to happen while diving:

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Dunckley

    This is not only the most thrilling non-fiction book I've EVER read, it is one of the most exciting, thrilling books of any genre! So many times the description for a true story says, “reads like an adventure story”, and then you read it and it's boring. This—THIS is flat out adventure! The “shadow divers” of the title are deep wreck divers, a sport that consists of only a few hundred diehards. And “diehards” is perhaps a great description, because this sport is incredibly deadly. By the 1980's, This is not only the most thrilling non-fiction book I've EVER read, it is one of the most exciting, thrilling books of any genre! So many times the description for a true story says, “reads like an adventure story”, and then you read it and it's boring. This—THIS is flat out adventure! The “shadow divers” of the title are deep wreck divers, a sport that consists of only a few hundred diehards. And “diehards” is perhaps a great description, because this sport is incredibly deadly. By the 1980's, scuba equipment still hadn't evolved much beyond when Jacques Cousteau helped invent it. The limit for recreactional diving is roughly 130 feet, and there are multiple small things that can go wrong and kill you. The deep wreckers go down to 200 feet or even deeper. Below 66 feet, a diver's judgment and focus and soberness decline due to Nitrogen Narcosis. Divers have died even though they have plenty of air, are not trapped, etc, because they have Narcosis and can't figure out where to go or what to do. At 130 feet most divers are impaired. By 170 feet hallucinations are normal. At 200 feet any tiny miniscule event can lead to panic, any major significant event (low air, losing your anchor line) might seem like nothing—and both of those can cause death. The descriptions of the dives, the hair-raising ecapes, and the tiny mistakes that led to deaths are written in an enthralling manner. The idea of participating in this sport is terrifying. For the divers, the biggest deal, the Super Bowl or Kentucky Derby, is discovering a new wreck. The divers in this book are elated to find a new wreck that no one else knows about. In a pact of secrecy they go down to check it out only to discover that it is no ordinary wreck, it is a German WWII Uboat. Right off the coast of New Jersey. A Uboat that doesn't exist according to records, a Uboat that can't possibly be there. Divers Chadderton and Kohler become obsessed with figuring out what Uboat this is. As this is before you could Google information, this became a six year quest that involved letters, international phone calls, meetings with military records administrators, flying to Germany, arguing with historians who are happy with the status quo—and ending up actually rewriting history. The adventure took its toll—three men died while diving the wreck. Another drank himself to death. Both Kohler's and Chadderton's marriages ended. After risking their lives to an insane degree they retrieve uncontrovertable proof of which Uboat this is. I love books where new information is presented in an entertaining fashion, and this book is the best there is. I was put through a wringer of emotions, everything from terror to sadness, from excitement to grief. I was completely pulled in to this story—even though it is true it is a story by any definition. I recommend this to EVERYONE, no matter what type of books you normally read!! If you like history, adventures, WWII, pirates, ships or shipwrecks, diving, thrillers, survival, science--or just enjoy a rollickin' good tale, then Read. This. BOOK!!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Char

    Finding the book Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man's First Journey to the Moon incredibly entertaining and informative, I took the recommendation of a friend and put this one on hold at my library. I downloaded the audio version and I didn't care for the narrator quite as much as I did with ROCKET MEN. (I see now there is a version narrated by Campbell Scott! That one was not available at my library.) (Not everyone is a Ray Porter!) Also, this version seem Finding the book Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man's First Journey to the Moon incredibly entertaining and informative, I took the recommendation of a friend and put this one on hold at my library. I downloaded the audio version and I didn't care for the narrator quite as much as I did with ROCKET MEN. (I see now there is a version narrated by Campbell Scott! That one was not available at my library.) (Not everyone is a Ray Porter!) Also, this version seemed to have been adapted from CDs because everyone once in a while the narrator announced to go to the next one. Lastly, the quality of the recording wasn't that great either: it sounded static-y at times. Audio portion aside, this was an extremely informative book regarding deep sea diving. Now that I've read it, I know that it's something I will never do. I can't even walk around above ground without stubbing toes and running into things. During a deep sea dive, any stumble, any unsure footing could and probably would result in death. As would snagging your line, rubbing up against something abrasive, running out of air or resurfacing too soon. And I haven't even mentioned narcosis yet. I also learned a lot about history and history books, in general. Turns out a lot of the time, the facts you think you know are not the facts. Just ask the divers in this book who worked for YEARS trying to identify the German U-boat they found off the Jersey shore. They worked tirelessly to discover where the boat came from, who was on it, etc.. Overall, I found this book interesting and informative and I recommend it to anyone who is interested in the subjects I mentioned above. *Thank you to my local library for the free download! Libraries RULE!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Woman Reading

    Shadow Divers is an adventure story that had a 60+ year old mystery and came complete with chills, suspense and death. It stars John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, who it can be argued had a touch of lunacy in their make-up, as they risked their lives and certainly their marriages in this endeavor. Kurson, the author, was more sympathetic than me and presented this as a classic tale of man against nature. Hmm, I could almost hear the fanfare behind the pronouncements. ;) Chatterton and Kohler are Shadow Divers is an adventure story that had a 60+ year old mystery and came complete with chills, suspense and death. It stars John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, who it can be argued had a touch of lunacy in their make-up, as they risked their lives and certainly their marriages in this endeavor. Kurson, the author, was more sympathetic than me and presented this as a classic tale of man against nature. Hmm, I could almost hear the fanfare behind the pronouncements. ;) Chatterton and Kohler are among the scant 100 or so divers in the world that specialize in deep shipwreck diving. The majority of divers in the world prefer diving in depths that don’t exceed 40 meters (130 feet). Both men regarded these recreational dives as too safe and not a means of testing themselves and pushing the limits of exploration. But humans breathe air, something that you get in water only if you bring it with you. And at a depth of 130 feet, a body is subject to atmospheric pressure 5 times greater than when it’s at sea level. This atmospheric pressure changes how the body processes the nitrogen molecules that are in the air tanks. As the nitrogen is inhaled and gets absorbed throughout the body, one becomes susceptible to nitrogen narcosis and the deeper one dives, the stronger the narcosis. Initially, the narcosis resembles a state similar to alcoholic intoxication but it can quickly progress to including hallucinations. When you have imaginary crabs singing to you and telling you where to go when you’re 180 feet below the surface, then most people would conclude that you’re facing trouble and that you are flirting with death. Their mystery wreck, however, had collapsed at a depth of 230 feet (think 23 stories and atmospheric pressure that’s 8 times greater than at sea level!). The other physical limitation of deep diving is the need for decompression during the diver’s return to the surface. The diver has to expel the excess of nitrogen that had accumulated in their body tissues during their descent by staggering their return to the surface with mandatory rest periods. This is a slow process that cannot be skipped or as captain Bill Nagle said, “They’re already dead. They just don’t know it yet.” This limits the time at a wreck site, because a 25-minute visit at 230 feet below necessitates about 1.5 hours to ascend and decompress which is the maximum of air time allowed by their tanks. These realities just made things more interesting for Chatterton and Kohler. Chatterton and Kohler were the only ones among a dozen or so deep divers who persisted after Nagle’s ship Seeker first found the mystery shipwreck. During the initial dive in September 1991, Chatterton recognized immediately that they had found a German U-boat or submarine. A shipwreck is as it sounds, a wreck. Exposed to salt water, materials have eroded and corroded. Oil from the engines mix with corroded metal and wires that have been torn asunder from their walls float freely, ready to trap anything that crosses its pass from the currents. Visibility can be nonexistent once the silt and other matter have been disturbed by movement in the water. It didn’t take that many visits to the mystery site before divers began to die as they took their chance to penetrate the mysteries of the wrecked U-boat. During the next 6 years, the two continued to hunt for definitive clues as to the identity of the German U-boat found 60 miles off the coast of New Jersey. Hurricane season and other aspects of real life, like work and failing marriages, kept them to land for the majority of the year. They then conducted research of primary source materials in the Naval Historical Center in Washington, D.C. and wrote letters to experts in the UK and in Germany. They eventually learned that the history experts had gotten things wrong and these two rewrote history. Crusty, salty characters and lunacy were definitely present! But these two divers accomplished a historical feat at great physical danger to themselves because of their maverick attitude of “no matter what.” This was an interesting and quick read. If Kurson had not chosen certain spots to interrupt the diving narrative with biographies and other background information, Shadow Divers would have read as quickly as any fictional thriller. I had borrowed both a hard copy as well as the audio book from the library. The hard copy had photographs (which I enjoyed) and the latter had a post-publication interview with Chatterton and Kohler.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Howard

    4.5 Stars for Shadow Divers (audiobook) by Robert Kurson read by Michael Prichard. This is a great adventure, particularly if you’re into WWII or diving.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chrissie

    This is an action-packed adventure story. An adrenalin thrill. Make sure that is what you want before you start. It is also a non-fiction book about the discovery of an unidentified submarine where none was said to exist. Which submarine was it? Who were the men that discovered it? What was done to discover its provenance and how it came to be there? Who were the dead men on that U-boat? That is the theme of this book. It can be tackled in several ways, two of which are to make it into a thrilli This is an action-packed adventure story. An adrenalin thrill. Make sure that is what you want before you start. It is also a non-fiction book about the discovery of an unidentified submarine where none was said to exist. Which submarine was it? Who were the men that discovered it? What was done to discover its provenance and how it came to be there? Who were the dead men on that U-boat? That is the theme of this book. It can be tackled in several ways, two of which are to make it into a thrilling adventure story that will scare you sh*t~ess or through a calm, balanced presentation of known facts. Yeah, the latter is a bit more of an academic approach. What are you looking for? This is purely a matter of preference and/or mood. There is another issue to be considered. Are you interested in understanding the psychological underpinnings of the prime actors? I don't think the book does that very well. There is a huge difference between knowing "what Mr. X did then and there" and understanding why that person made the choices he made. I never came to understand John Chatterton or Richie Kohler. Not Bill Nagle, nor Chris Rouse, nor Chris Rouse Jr. The book does state what they did but I just do not understand what motivated these guys. What makes them tick. I just do not understand. Perhaps people are simply born different. This book does not provide a psychological study. There are holes in the information if that is what you are after, and this is what I was looking for. One example: the book doesn't explain why custody of Kohler's children was switched between the parents. If we want to understand Kohler we need to know this. Another instance was when we are told how Chatterton’s mother saw to it that he was not allowed to return to Vietnam. We are told she spoke to people. Who? What did John do to fight these decisions? Nothing is said. If you want to understand the person these are important points. These are just two examples, but there are more. The book presents the actions of the people, but I still never come to understand these men. I highly recommend this book if you want a thrill and are curious about marine warfare during WW2. The facts related to this dive are thoroughly presented, and you will be scared to death. This starts immediately when at the very beginning you learn of the dangers coupled to of deep wreck diving - nitrogen narcosis and decompression sickness. Don’t think those are the only two dangers! The narrator of the audiobook is Michael Prichard. He reinforces the tone of the text. So, if you want to be scared, the audiobook is a great choice. ************** At the beginning: This is scaring me to death!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Judith E

    Shadow Diving is an in depth, or “deep dive” (sorry, the devil made me do it :) study into the profession of wreck diving. John Chatterton and Richard Koehler are premier world class scuba divers who discover a sunk submarine off the coast of New Jersey. This is a subject I knew nothing about and the author nicely tied in the art of scuba diving, the discovery of the submarine, the WWII U boat history and the lives of the submarine seamen. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jenni

    When I was around ten years old my dad handed me this book. Looking back on it, I'm not too sure why he did so. This is what I remember: I heard the word "motherfucker" for the first time, and reflected that it's one hell of a curse word. I became engrossed in the truth and real journalism in this novel--it made me realize the mysteries of the world and the great depths of the sea. Mostly, though, I remember loving the men and their devotion to this wreck. I remember them perservering through it When I was around ten years old my dad handed me this book. Looking back on it, I'm not too sure why he did so. This is what I remember: I heard the word "motherfucker" for the first time, and reflected that it's one hell of a curse word. I became engrossed in the truth and real journalism in this novel--it made me realize the mysteries of the world and the great depths of the sea. Mostly, though, I remember loving the men and their devotion to this wreck. I remember them perservering through it all to try to uncover the truth about something they had fallen in love with, in a way. I guess he had wanted to entertain me while I was stuck with him at his office the whole day. Maybe he wanted to teach me a lesson about dedication and freindship. Maybe he wanted to teach me about my Jewish heritage and submarines and warfare and such, somehow. I remember loving this book and not putting it down until I was finished. Mostly, though, I just remember asking my dad what a motherfucker was, hah!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Laura Noggle

    *Diving for history’s sake.* "In contemplating the Doria's tilted grandness, he could glimpse shadows of the secrets great shipwrecks offer those who see with their minds." This was my second Robert Kurson book after Rocket Men, and it’s clear he’s working from the same blue print. Highlight event, then background on event, deeper history on individuals involved, minor related events, final analysis of main event ... more or less. Very formulaic, not necessarily in a bad way. A very dear friend o *Diving for history’s sake.* "In contemplating the Doria's tilted grandness, he could glimpse shadows of the secrets great shipwrecks offer those who see with their minds." This was my second Robert Kurson book after Rocket Men, and it’s clear he’s working from the same blue print. Highlight event, then background on event, deeper history on individuals involved, minor related events, final analysis of main event ... more or less. Very formulaic, not necessarily in a bad way. A very dear friend of mine lost her mother to a deep sea diving accident, so the life threatening aspect of the book was all the more vivid while reading. Whether it’s rockets in space or submarines on the ocean floor—Kurson knows how to weave a thrilling true life adventure tale. "In the course of two weeks he had contact with a U-boat ace, a blimp pilot, a historian, and the president of a U-boat club. Each gave accounts of history unavailable in books and sometimes at odds with books. To Chatterton, who had hungered since childhood for better explanations, for the chance to see for himself, this stretching of history's canvas was a revelation." "Reading about men did not seem like book work to Kohler. Instead, he found himself transported; he could feel the inside of a U-boat not just as a machine but as the backdrop to a human being’s life. He could feel the grueling and claustrophobic conditions under which these soldiers waged war, the coldness of a live torpedo next to a man’s sleeping face, the smell of six-week-old underwear, the spittle in the expletives of men crammed too close to one another for too long, the splatter of a single icy condensation droplet on the neck of an enlisted man finishing a six-hour shift. Technical information interested him, yes, but technology did not make his heart pound—nothing did—like the idea of a U-boat man waiting helplessly while Allied depth charges tumbled through the water toward his submarine, the ominously dainty ping . . . ping . . . ping . . . of Allied sonar a prelude to imminent explosion." "Life is a matter of luck, and the odds in favor of success are in no way enhanced by extreme caution." — WWII German U-Boat Commander Eric Topp

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    This was one of those books sitting on a shelf waiting to be read ( from 2004) and I had heard from various people that it was a great story. But I did not get around to reading it until it was decided that it would be the book for our discussion group to read for this month ( August, 2017). It certainly lived up to the hype as I give it *****!!! It's an amazing story of wreck divers exploring a sunken German U-boat from World War II off the coast of New Jersey. We learn about the dangers of tha This was one of those books sitting on a shelf waiting to be read ( from 2004) and I had heard from various people that it was a great story. But I did not get around to reading it until it was decided that it would be the book for our discussion group to read for this month ( August, 2017). It certainly lived up to the hype as I give it *****!!! It's an amazing story of wreck divers exploring a sunken German U-boat from World War II off the coast of New Jersey. We learn about the dangers of that activity, wreck diving, and that left me wondering how people can involve themselves in something so reckless. The book focuses on two men, John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, and, as we learn about the characters of these two men, I begin to understand the motivation. Moreover, we learn about the German submarines and the crucial Battle of the Atlantic of World War II. It's also a true-life mystery as, following dive after dive, the divers fail to find anything that identifies which U-boat it was. Research is also done by the men and they go to Washington, DC, and Germany to try to solve the mystery of the sunken sub. It takes six years--and the loss of three lives--before they are able to learn the identity of the sub-and how it got there off the Jersey shore. A well-told story that is very engaging-- and it still leaves me wondering why men (and women) are willing to risk their lives in their pursuits.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Just as on the Titanic, it is U-869’s ghosts that do not let her sleep, crying out of the depths for their story to be told. 2 amateur “shadow” divers moved beyond reason, spent 6 years of their lives in study, research, planning, travel, and dangerous deep sea diving (risking death countless times, three men did in fact die while diving the wreck) to uncover the identity of a lost WW2 submarine discovered in 1991 on the floor of the Atlantic just off the coast of New Jersey. It is a flawlessly Just as on the Titanic, it is U-869’s ghosts that do not let her sleep, crying out of the depths for their story to be told. 2 amateur “shadow” divers moved beyond reason, spent 6 years of their lives in study, research, planning, travel, and dangerous deep sea diving (risking death countless times, three men did in fact die while diving the wreck) to uncover the identity of a lost WW2 submarine discovered in 1991 on the floor of the Atlantic just off the coast of New Jersey. It is a flawlessly researched, creatively written, tale of adventure, mystery, honor and character. Not just the story of the submarine and the German men who sailed her but more so the story of the American men who discovered her identify and in doing so revealed her hidden fate to the world and to the surviving families of the lost crew of U-869. As a Registered Nurse with experience in trauma, I was enthralled by the author’s attention to detail in describing the physiology of deep sea diving along with its inherent dangers. As the lives of the men connected with the boat and her discovery were fleshed out I felt myself drawn purposefully, by author Robert Kurson, into the mystery and historical aura of the wreck. Like a swiftly turning tide, I was pulled out to sea with all those aboard the “Seeker” searching for truths among the waves of life. Just as I was finishing the book, I glanced up at a documentary, Titanic's Final Moments: Missing Pieces (in HD), that my husband was watching on the History Chanel and was stunned to see the face of one of the Shadow Divers. John Chatterton is likely now the world’s finest deep sea diver. Tying in with my military studies, he is also a Vietnam veteran, a medic. Both he and fellow Shadow Diver Ritchie Kohler have made a very successful transition from deep sea diver to underwater explorer. A docudrama in words, Shadow Divers has earned its prominent place on my bookshelf inspiring a current of new direction in my adventure reading. www.uboat.net http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/lostsub/ http://www.johnchatterton.com/ http://www.titanic2006.com/ http://uboat.net/boats/u869.htm http://www.uscg.mil/hq/g-cp/history/W... http://www.richiekohler.com/ http://www.history.com/shows.do?episo...

  17. 5 out of 5

    Michaelbrent Collings

    This was a fantastic book about a gripping story - part mystery, part history, with more than a little bit of life thrown in. The story of several divers who discover a u-boat 60 miles of the coast of New Jersey - that's right, a NAZI FRICKING SUBMARINE that was so close the submariners in it could have THROWN bombs at us if they wanted, let alone launching torpedoes... and one that was utterly unknown until the 1990s. The book takes you beyond just the facts of the finding, into the lives of th This was a fantastic book about a gripping story - part mystery, part history, with more than a little bit of life thrown in. The story of several divers who discover a u-boat 60 miles of the coast of New Jersey - that's right, a NAZI FRICKING SUBMARINE that was so close the submariners in it could have THROWN bombs at us if they wanted, let alone launching torpedoes... and one that was utterly unknown until the 1990s. The book takes you beyond just the facts of the finding, into the lives of the divers who first located, then risked their lives to return to the wreck again and again until they had found out what it was and verified what lay within. It takes you into the complicated world of deep sea technical diving - a terrifying world where you either knew someone who had died or knew someone who knew someone who had: never more than a few steps away from the grim reaper in a world man is specifically not designed to go. The book was riveting, frightening, emotional, elated all in stages, and I cannot recommend it enough.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jaksen

    Liked it, gave it four stars. The best part, the many and detailed descriptions of searching the u-boat. The hazards, the danger, the insistence of certain divers to keep going back and back again, and yes, back again. Why I took off one star, I didn't like the main characters. Perhaps I know too many people like this, driven to such exacting precision and perfection they become almost stereotypes of themselves. Or it could be the way the author chose to represent them. I wanted to say (to the aut Liked it, gave it four stars. The best part, the many and detailed descriptions of searching the u-boat. The hazards, the danger, the insistence of certain divers to keep going back and back again, and yes, back again. Why I took off one star, I didn't like the main characters. Perhaps I know too many people like this, driven to such exacting precision and perfection they become almost stereotypes of themselves. Or it could be the way the author chose to represent them. I wanted to say (to the author) yeah, I know, your MC is driven, he's brave, he's courageous, he's a man's man, a hero, actually he's more than a man. Where does he hang up his super-hero cape? Very good book, though.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lance Charnes

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Shadow Divers is a quest story, and, as those often are, a story of obsession. It chronicles the discovery of a sunken U-boat off New Jersey by a group of die-hard wreck divers and their six-year campaign to identify that relic. In 1991, when Bill Nagle and his small band of fanatics first ran across the sub in question (eventually identified as U-869, sunk in 1945), what we now call “technical diving” was in its gestational period. The equipment hadn’t progressed much past what Jacques Cousteau Shadow Divers is a quest story, and, as those often are, a story of obsession. It chronicles the discovery of a sunken U-boat off New Jersey by a group of die-hard wreck divers and their six-year campaign to identify that relic. In 1991, when Bill Nagle and his small band of fanatics first ran across the sub in question (eventually identified as U-869, sunk in 1945), what we now call “technical diving” was in its gestational period. The equipment hadn’t progressed much past what Jacques Cousteau would recognize, and a great deal of the knowledge base had been cobbled together from practical experience, cribs from the Navy, guesswork and bravado. A tiny number of loons would ride this thin bubble of safety down 200 or 250 feet through what were usually extremely challenging conditions (cold/heavy currents/low-to-no visibility) to visit historic shipwrecks and collect souvenirs. That some number of them died in the attempt is no surprise. John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, the two heroes of the story (you know them from the series Deep Sea Detectives), transform what started as an artifact-hunting expedition into a life-consuming obsession that busted both their marriages, nearly killed them, actually killed three of their fellow divers, caused fights and broken friendships, and cost them a great deal of money before they finally succeeded. Kurson spends a lot of time focused on Chatterton and Kohler, including lengthy diversions into their backstories. They were Kurson’s business partners in writing the book, and while Shadow Divers isn’t exactly hagiography, it’s not unexpected that the two men come off perhaps better than they would have in more independent hands. What Kurson labors mightily to do, but doesn’t quite succeed in the trying, is to make the depths of Chatterton’s and Kohler’s obsessions accessible. There’s lots of explanation, true, and lots of rationalization on both men’s parts. However, as the costs and dangers mount, it’s often difficult for the reader to square the reward with the stakes. You’re required to take a fair amount on faith and ride whatever connection you’re able to form with the men themselves to get through the prolonged dark-night-of-the-soul sequences at the end of Act 2. Kurson’s writing is fast and atmospheric. He manages large infodumps with enough grace to keep the pace going. He’s able to illuminate the action – which often consists of men inching their way though tiny compartments in zero visibility – in a way that non-divers can fathom and divers can easily imagine. Strangely enough, the chapters that ought to be the most interesting (those reconstructing the sub crew’s last months) are instead flatly journalistic, reading like a newspaper feature rather than the high drama Kurson manages to wring out of the diving sequences. Non-divers will thank Kurson for avoiding much of the gear porn that often clutters the stories of men taking part in highly technical pursuits. I’ve had this book on my shelf for several years. I’m a diver – advanced open water, EAN, rescue – and I enjoy wrecks, so this ought to have been a perfect read for me. I always found reasons not to get to it, though. This hesitation ultimately boiled down to my reluctance to read highly dramatized accounts of divers dying. (I’ve never seen, and will likely never watch, the film Open Water for the same reason.) When you’re 120 feet down, relying on a collection of rubber and metal to keep you alive and a whole chain of events to get you topside and to shore, you don’t need more bad pictures in your head. Diving wrecks is something I enjoy, not something I feel a need to die for. Shadow Divers is real-life action/adventure, a portrait of near-insanity, and an exploration of what our inner demons can drive us to. If you enjoy or appreciate ships, history, or discovery stories, or can’t get enough Krakauer or Junger, you should consider this book. If you read Cussler and want to know what underwater exploration is really like, try this. It’s not a neat or happy story, but quests don’t often end neatly or happily.

  20. 5 out of 5

    David

    This is a great adventure/mystery; a German U-Boat from World War II is found off the coast of New Jersey. But history records do not mention any such submarine in the area. In fact, historical records are shown to be replete with errors and mistaken identities. So which U-Boat is it? What was it doing there? How did it sink? This is the story of two brave divers, John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, and how they solved these mysteries. They risked their lives diving down to 230 feet over the cour This is a great adventure/mystery; a German U-Boat from World War II is found off the coast of New Jersey. But history records do not mention any such submarine in the area. In fact, historical records are shown to be replete with errors and mistaken identities. So which U-Boat is it? What was it doing there? How did it sink? This is the story of two brave divers, John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, and how they solved these mysteries. They risked their lives diving down to 230 feet over the course of years. Each dive brought them closer to the solution to the mystery. Both men are very experienced in diving at ship wrecks. But their goal is not to scavenge for artifacts. Their goal is to shed light on this mystery, and bring closure to the families of the dead sailors whose skeletons remain aboard the sunken wreck. These two superb divers came together despite having completely opposite philosophies and experiences. They did not exactly "hit it off" together when they first met. Not until they hashed out their differences did they see each other as colleagues, partners, and friends. The book interleaves the exploration of the shipwreck with a narrative of the lives of the sailors aboard the U-boat. The story is expertly told, giving the reader a true, intense feeling for the dangers aboard the U-boat, both for the sailors and for the exploring divers. Not a story to be missed!

  21. 5 out of 5

    trishtrash

    This book is principally the story of two American divers who risk their lives to explore and identify the wreck of a WWII U-Boat. Rich with adversity, adventure and war history, the author's enthusiasm for the tale (which in turn is lit by the dedication and determination of the divers themselves) lends the writing that elusive thrill of perfect retelling. The balance of back-story of the men who explored the wreck, the detail and technical information, the history, the suspense of the dives the This book is principally the story of two American divers who risk their lives to explore and identify the wreck of a WWII U-Boat. Rich with adversity, adventure and war history, the author's enthusiasm for the tale (which in turn is lit by the dedication and determination of the divers themselves) lends the writing that elusive thrill of perfect retelling. The balance of back-story of the men who explored the wreck, the detail and technical information, the history, the suspense of the dives themselves and smattering of other, relevant wreck-diving tales is all melded into a chase story that enthrals as it informs. Despite the incredible depth (sorry!) and breadth of Kurson’s research, the story is ultimately about the two men who proceed against the advice of friends, in the face of death, to prove to themselves who they are in the face of adversity, and to return the final story of the lost crew to their surviving relatives in Germany.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kelda Giavaras

    I believe I read a review of this book recently that stated: Things I'm not interested in, 1.) WW2 U boats, 2.)Deep sea diving 3.) WW2 history of any kind....And yet I LOVED this book! I can honestly say I relate. While I do typically stick to WW2 fiction, I found this read absolutely fascinating. I'm awed by the amount of research that had to go into writing this. And I'm equally awed by the divers that were so committed to revealing the mystery behind this U boat. (Which by the way, was found I believe I read a review of this book recently that stated: Things I'm not interested in, 1.) WW2 U boats, 2.)Deep sea diving 3.) WW2 history of any kind....And yet I LOVED this book! I can honestly say I relate. While I do typically stick to WW2 fiction, I found this read absolutely fascinating. I'm awed by the amount of research that had to go into writing this. And I'm equally awed by the divers that were so committed to revealing the mystery behind this U boat. (Which by the way, was found off the coast of New Jersey?! Yikes! I had no idea any german U boats were ever that close to our shores.) I happened to listen to this via CD. A plus was that when the book ended, there was an interview with the author and Bill Chatterton and Richie Kohler. It was so interesting to hear their voices. You could easily tell how impactful this whole adventure was on all of their lives.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Gigi

    A thrilling story that's even more compelling because it's a true story. A thrilling story that's even more compelling because it's a true story.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    This was a great recommendation from Emilie! I don't normally read non-fiction, but this was a perfect mix of facts and storytelling. I actually found myself holding my breath during the intense diving scenes. This was a great recommendation from Emilie! I don't normally read non-fiction, but this was a perfect mix of facts and storytelling. I actually found myself holding my breath during the intense diving scenes.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    Not only the date by date survey of a diving project that lasted many years, but also the depth and core story of the reality for the divers who accomplished the answers to the mystery. Knowing you were going to get the tale of a sunken U boat, I had no idea you would also get the biography to emotional depths and physical conditions for the principles who operated this obsession off "The Seeker". And they did seek, and it did start with obsession. And did end with a more total obsession. Being wi Not only the date by date survey of a diving project that lasted many years, but also the depth and core story of the reality for the divers who accomplished the answers to the mystery. Knowing you were going to get the tale of a sunken U boat, I had no idea you would also get the biography to emotional depths and physical conditions for the principles who operated this obsession off "The Seeker". And they did seek, and it did start with obsession. And did end with a more total obsession. Being within the U-505 in Chicago during different periods of my life, I knew the spaces and the constraints of that reality. (I was even in it when it was in the process of being moved "outside" decades ago.) One time two of us got to go into it all and alone during that period for hours when the museum was closed for a special event. For the last 10 or 15 years since the "move" that access is no longer true at all. Now you have a narrow band that can be walked and the largest and most interesting sections, like the food prep areas, are barrier obscured and you can only look into or see parts of them. So I understand how incredible that these men with their gear could begin to fit within the spaces they attempted. It's like a cork in a narrow necked bottle. There would never be a moment of any surety with the collapsing damage and heavy metal components. The graveyard not only visible but, IMHO, imminent second by second. Thus the outcomes. No spoilers, but this is also not a jubilant tale, even within its ultimate successes. The photos were as superior as the text, and the slimness of that crew in that crew photo! They were small and fine boned teen age and 20 something men who sailed those cigars in 1940-45. Their legacy to destruction was large, their outcomes worse. Yet I liked the finality of Kohler's last connections and the mission he felt he had to finish. Dangerous, dangerous avocations and hobbies, and some others not in such a high risk category as this kind of diving, but still testing to longevity! They are addicting habits. It certainly seems that those adrenaline needs and practices will effect every avenue and connection of a life path, that's not uncommon. It is certainly evident in these men's stories and their teamwork. I would be willing to bet that Chatterton is still pushing his limits on occasion. Probably on the sneak.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth A

    This nonfiction book lives up to its subtile: The true adventures of two Americans who risked everything to solve one of the last mysteries of World War II. In order to fully appreciate my review of this book, you need to know that I am not a World War II (or WWI for that matter) buff in any shape or form. Yes, I've watched loads of war movies, and was that person; the one asking are those the Germans or allies? Am I the only one who did not know that you could tell them apart merely based on th This nonfiction book lives up to its subtile: The true adventures of two Americans who risked everything to solve one of the last mysteries of World War II. In order to fully appreciate my review of this book, you need to know that I am not a World War II (or WWI for that matter) buff in any shape or form. Yes, I've watched loads of war movies, and was that person; the one asking are those the Germans or allies? Am I the only one who did not know that you could tell them apart merely based on their head gear? I had never even heard of this book until a I read a review by a Goodreads friend, Carol K. It sounded interesting, so I immediately got it on audio, which is wonderfully read by Michael Prichard, and started listening to it on my walks. I was immediately hooked. This story of deep water wreck divers stumbling across a sunken German U-boat off the New Jersey coast in 1991, and how they go about trying to determine its identity is a fascinating and gripping read. This is my fave kind of narrative nonfiction, and the cast of characters alone are worth the price of admission. I have always been fascinated by people who push their bodies and psyches to the extremes. I think it is their obsession that I admire - that single minded focus, damn the consequences. I learned much about many things, and plan to watch some U-Boat movies in the near future. The only reason this book did not get the additional star is because the writing is choppy and repetitive at times, but even if you are not a history-war-diving buff, check it out for a fascinating ride. PS. My audiobook had a short interview with the two main divers in this story which was quite fun.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Arah-Leah Hay

    3.5 Stars This story had me hook line and sinker. I initially came to it with its comparison to Jon Krakauer's "Into Thin Air", which blew me away. There is no doubt for the comparison. Where Into Thin Air delves into the politics and risks of climbing Mt. Everest, Shadow Divers deals in the risk and politics of deep sea diving. High altitude sickness vs depth narcosis, and how they both intrude on your sanity while you are already risking your life. This is a true story of discovery. American di 3.5 Stars This story had me hook line and sinker. I initially came to it with its comparison to Jon Krakauer's "Into Thin Air", which blew me away. There is no doubt for the comparison. Where Into Thin Air delves into the politics and risks of climbing Mt. Everest, Shadow Divers deals in the risk and politics of deep sea diving. High altitude sickness vs depth narcosis, and how they both intrude on your sanity while you are already risking your life. This is a true story of discovery. American divers find a Nazi sub on the bottom of the Atlantic off the coast of New Jersey. The mystery lies in identifying it. There is no historical record placing any u-boats at this location. Although I found the whole account very fascinating, I did find the writing a bit choppy and bogged down at parts. I do come away with a richer understanding of deep sea diving, u-boats and their role in World War Two. Now I think I should go watch Daas Boot or U-571. Books Inspire!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Scot Parker

    I read this the first time years ago when I was just starting to think about getting into technical diving and it earned 5 stars from me. I decided to re-read it now that I'm routinely doing trimix dives on shipwrecks at the same depth as the U-861; it holds up quite well. I appreciated the book so much more the second time through now that I have a much deeper (heh) appreciation for what is involved when diving deep shipwrecks. It's a great book for the interested non-diver as well; I'd compare I read this the first time years ago when I was just starting to think about getting into technical diving and it earned 5 stars from me. I decided to re-read it now that I'm routinely doing trimix dives on shipwrecks at the same depth as the U-861; it holds up quite well. I appreciated the book so much more the second time through now that I have a much deeper (heh) appreciation for what is involved when diving deep shipwrecks. It's a great book for the interested non-diver as well; I'd compare it quite favorably to other adventure stories like Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer and Touching the Void by Joe Simpson. If the description of the book catches your interest, give it a try; it's a good one!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Paul Ataua

    Thanks for the recommendation Lori. There was no way I was ever going to read a book about scuba divers discovering a U-boat under 230 foot of water off the New Jersey coast without serious prodding. Nothing could have interested me less. And yet, I was gripped from beginning to end. The story was good enough in itself, but Kurson did a fantastic job of bringing the whole thing to life. One of those rare occasions when non-fiction is every bit as absorbing as fiction.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Steven

    Best book I've read in five years. The adventure of a lifetime. A mystery underwater? I was already hooked. Two guys who find a German U-Boat off the New Jersey coast? The entire crew still inside? That's a book with promise. And the author delivers. He weaves the right combination of non-fiction research and a fascinating tale of two men struggling for seven years--against incredible and unexpected odds--to figure out which U-Boat they had found. If you know anything about research, or simply b Best book I've read in five years. The adventure of a lifetime. A mystery underwater? I was already hooked. Two guys who find a German U-Boat off the New Jersey coast? The entire crew still inside? That's a book with promise. And the author delivers. He weaves the right combination of non-fiction research and a fascinating tale of two men struggling for seven years--against incredible and unexpected odds--to figure out which U-Boat they had found. If you know anything about research, or simply believe in the value of an accurate historical record, you'll enjoy the subplot as much as the death-defying dives to the sub, forever submerged under 200 feet of cold, North Atlantic waters. This may be the best non-fiction I have ever read. I was particularly struck by Kurson's tone. It is perfect: urgent, but not overstated (the way this review surely appears). The book moves quickly between narrative scenes and factual/historical context, and Kurson's voice is not sentimental. He plays the straight man throughout, but the straight man who is pressing relentlessly on toward the finish. The book is brisk. When you finish the book and look at this story, the amount of material Kurson had to comprehend and then organize into a narrative, his work is astounding. But you won't think about that until you finish. The book is too good to stop and think about such things--you'll just want to read and read and read. (This was my amazon.com review, titled: "BEST BOOK I'VE READ IN THREE YEARS.") Incidentally, I posted it on my blog and Kurson e-mailed me within the hour, thanking me. Nice man--we've corresponded twice since.

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