Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II

Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II

4.5 237
by Robert Kurson
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0345482476

ISBN-13: 2900345482470

Pub. Date: 05/31/2005

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

In the tradition of Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air and Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm comes a true tale of riveting adventure in which two weekend scuba divers risk everything to solve a great historical mystery -- and make history themselves.

For John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, deep wreck diving was more than a sport. Testing themselves

Overview

In the tradition of Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air and Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm comes a true tale of riveting adventure in which two weekend scuba divers risk everything to solve a great historical mystery -- and make history themselves.

For John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, deep wreck diving was more than a sport. Testing themselves against treacherous currents, braving depths that induced hallucinatory effects, navigating through wreckage as perilous as a minefield, they pushed themselves to their limits and beyond, brushing against death more than once in the rusting hulls of ships. But in the fall of 1991, not even these courageous divers were prepared for what they found 230 feet below the surface, in the frigid Atlantic waters sixty miles off the coast of new Jersey: a World War II German U-boat, its ruined interior a macabre wasteland of twisted metal, tangled wires, and human bones -- all buried under decades of accumulated sediment.

No identifying marks were visible on the submarine or the few artifacts that Chatterton and Kohler brought to the surface. No historian, expert, or government had a clue as to which U-boat the men had found. In fact, the official records all agreed that there simply could not be a sunken U-boat and crew at that location.

Over the next six years an elite team of divers embarked on a quest to solve the mystery. Some of them would not live to see its end. Chatterton and Kohler, at first bitter rivals, would be drawn into a friendship that deepened to an almost mystical brotherhood, with each other and with the drowned U-boat sailors -- former enemies of their country. As the men's marriages frayed under the pressure of a shared obsession, their dives grew more daring, and each realized that he was hunting more than the identities of a lost U-boat and its nameless crew.

Author Robert Kurson's account of this quest is at once thrilling, emotionally complex, and written with a vivid sense of what divers actually experience when they encounter the dangers of the ocean's underworld. The story of Shadow Divers often seems too amazing to be true, but it all happened, 230 feet down, in the deep blue sea.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2900345482470
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/31/2005
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
416

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Shadow Divers 4.5 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 237 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Summary: For someone who doesn¿t read that often, I found this nonfiction book quite interesting. It had a plot line that I would never have typically been interested in, especially because I¿m more of a fiction reader. The story is based on two men, John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, who thought of diving as more than just a sport. However, in the fall of 1991, not even these two courageous divers were prepared for what they found 230 feet below the surface of the water. In the depths of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of New Jersey, the two men found what they identified as a World War II German U-boat. Over the next six years, an elite team of divers embarked on a quest to solve the mystery. Some of them sadly, would not live to see its end. Likes/Dislikes: The overall story line was amazing! It kept you interested and kept you reading. However, it did have a tendency of repeating a lot of the information already stated, but in a different form, therefore the chapter seemed to drag longer than necessary. Themes/Messages: This book was all about travel and adventure. Both men risked everything they had, just for a shot at making a new discovery. They also found a discovery of friendship. When the novel started, both men couldn¿t stand one another. So a test of friendship came along with an amazing adventure that they shared.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I don't care for non-fiction. I get bored easily with an oversupply of facts. I don't care for technical dissertations. Minutae puts me to sleep. This book has tons of facts, lots of technical tidbits, and was one of the most compelling books I have read in years. The facts and details that I normally deplore gave this work depth, substance, and meaning. And the end, touched with elements of humanity, was a perfect conclusion. What a heroic quest the protagonists pursued. What a fantastic job of recording it. A great read all around.
raday More than 1 year ago
This book is outstanding for the WWII history of U-Boats and for the history and intracies of diving. As one who does not dive, but would love to, this book brings the reader into the "hunt" for the truth and "hunt" for the artifacts to prove it. Read it and go to the bottom of the Sea.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was excellent - I couldn't put it down. It was for my book club, and certainly given the subject matter and the cover, something I wouldn't have picked up on my own. I'm so glad I did because I would recommend it to anyone (already have in a couple cases, actually)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up on a whim while working as a grip on a film set, that required little movement of gear... There was a book store that we were shooting in and S.D. happened to catch my eye. I read it from cover to cover in about 2 maybe 3 days and was completely immersed in the world that Kurson provides. His intellect and childlike (as in, a son looking up to his father) admiration of the men that completed this adventure make it a truly fabulous story. I couldn't possibly say enough good things about this book. If you want to loss yourself in a literary playground for a few hours a day this is a good choice.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a scuba diver myself and would never try the things these guys did to solve this mystery. I've met the author and both divers and must say they are three of the funniest, and most endearing gentlemen you would ever want to meet. This is an excellent book and I recommend it to divers and non-divers alike. It is sad, exciting and dramatic, and even funny. A very good book that was well-written and researched. I read and even re-read it.
QKelly More than 1 year ago
I’m thirty-two years old, and I love history. Old history, that is. More-recent history, such as WWII, WWI, Vietnam and so on, doesn’t have the same allure for me as the Civil War, Roman history, British history, Egyptian history, etc. do. Well, heck. That has changed because of one book, “Shadow Divers” by Robert Kurson. Did you know that during WWII, German U-boats snuck up in American waters and some got so close to the shore that the crew could smell U.S. trees, listen to U.S. radio? Many of these U-boats were sunk in waters around the United States coast and are still there. I’d had no idea. Ignorant me had this misconception of WWII being fought way over there, there being Germany, Japan, England, wherever. Hawaii was attacked, yeah, but Hawaii isn’t mainland U.S. When I saw the U-boats fact mentioned in the book’s blurb, I knew I HAD to get this book. And it’s a treat. It’s a must-read for anyone. It has mystery, suspense, intrigue, honorable men, rapscallion men, the bad boys with hearts of gold and the women who love them, and death. Lots of death but an uplifting ending. It’s nonfiction but is better-paced and more suspenseful than most fiction I have read. Kurson basically follows a group of divers as they discover a sunken U-boat and the group’s struggle over several years to identify which boat it is. The divers end up changing recorded history. Kurson provides a fascinating and sometimes heartbreaking look into diving culture. I have no quibbles with this book, but I did wonder about some of the divers. They did what is an honorable thing, at least on first glance. They found bodies in the wreckage, lots of bodies. Well, not bodies. Skeletons and bones are more accurate. The divers refused to ransack the bones in order to identify the U-boat. Respect for the dead, respect for their families. The divers didn’t want to have to tell the families that they had to paw through their loved ones’ pockets to find a tag to identify the U-boat. That’s great. All well and good. Except what happens? The divers can’t find ID elsewhere. Several years go on. Still they refuse to riffle through the bodies/clothes on the bodies. I dunno. It seems presumptuous of them to assume what the families would have wanted. If I had lost a loved one at sea, I’d like to know where he was, even if that meant someone had to go through his pockets for a tag. The divers had a pretty good idea which U-boat this was, so why didn’t they just ask the families what they preferred instead of assuming for them? Anyway, that was a bit maddening but is no reflection on the author. This book gets five stars out of five. Once you start reading, be prepared to be immersed in claustrophobic and thrilling situations for hours.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have not finished the book yet. Am enjoying it so far and expect to finish shortly. First time with a electronic book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Combines history and the struggle of underwater expeditions. Well worth the read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Kurson's writing invaded my dreams. I sometimes woke up feeling like I'd needed to decompress before opening my eyes. I'm not a diver, but I believe this book took me as close as I'll ever get to a deep sea submarine. While reading this in public, I had to check to make sure that my mouth hadn't dropped open (often my chin was dangling) or pull the book up higher so strangers in the coffee shop couldn't see my tears. Deep sea divers truly are the 'astronauts of the deep sea'. They can be lured into the murky depths of the unknown while most of us hold our breath and await the outcome. I'm grateful to them for sharing the adventure. This isn't a treasure hunt-it's a tale of trust, bravery, and faith in the human spirit. Chrissy K. McVay author of 'Souls of the North Wind'
malawi447 More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story weaves history with an insanely dangerous sport. The details of both are mesmerizing. Beautifully written and lovely told. I loved this book as much as the first time I read The Perfect Storm.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely riveting and astoundingly good book. It reads like the best novel, but the research and understanding that went into it shine clearly through. The story is one I didn't know, and am very glad I have learned. I am a diver myself - never a wreck diver; I'm one of those "tourists" that Bill Nagle so decried. But what diving I have done gives me even more of an understanding and heartfelt appreciation for the work, research and dedication that John Chatterton and Richie Kohler did, and Robert Kurson so eloquently brought to light. This book meets the standards of real history that David McCullough has set. Read it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
if you are interested in diving, this IS the book to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would give this book 10 stars if I could. Considering that the subject matter (diving) is one that I have zero interest in, the fact that I literally could not put this book down should speak volumes. A meticulously detailed account of a mission (QUEST might be a more appropriate term) to solve a mystery. As a person who cannot stand unanswered questions, this was right up my alley. Well written (enough dialogue to give you the "you are there" feeling, but enough background and technical information to make you feel as though you BELONG there), engrossing, informative (trimix? What in the world is that?) and ultimately satisfying and triumphant. Just a terrific read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent writing and a fascinating subject. Made me feel i was there experiencing the human drama. Chatterton and Koehler make one terrific team. A superior read that at times had me gasping for breath along with the men who died in the deep.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Adventure and mystery and history- great stuff!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A true story that had me on the edge of my seat as I read. I felt like I was right there in the action. This was an excellent book that kept me reading until I was finished within 1 day which is unusual for me. LOVED IT!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I admire the way the author blended meticulous research with human interest, and tied it all together through skillful storytelling. Mr. Kurson seems to have great respect and admiration for the real-world heroes of this amazing adventure, which inspires the reader to want to know them and to become invested in their lives. His depiction of the action in the story, some of it harrowing and tragic, was so mesmerizing I could barely put the book down. Even though I had no particular interest in diving, WWII or submarines before reading this book, I found it utterly fascinating and would highly recommend it. If any of those subjects interest you (and even if they don’t!), you’re in for a real treat.