Neil Swidey is the author of The Assist, a Boston Globe bestseller that was named one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post, and coauthor of the New York Times bestselling Last Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy. A staff writer for The Boston Globe Magazine, Swidey has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award and has twice won the Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists. He teaches at Tufts University and lives outside Boston with his wife and three daughters.
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Neil Swidey discusses Trapped Under the Sea: One Engineering Marvel, Five Men, and a Disaster Ten Miles Into the Darkness
What inspired you to write "Trapped Under the Sea"?
Swidey: I'm fascinated by how the world works. In this story, I saw a rare opportunity to explore how the infrastructure supporting modern life gets built, and the usually anonymous workers who take on enormous risk to make it possible. The fact that the narrative would be populated by a group of the most compelling and surprising real-life characters I've ever encountered made the decision a no-brainer for me. It was a pleasure to spend time with these guys, and an honor to share their important story that might otherwise have been lost to history.
Give us an elevator pitch as to why the man on the street should pick up Trapped Under the Sea?
Swidey: Can I subcontract that job out to the great Dennis Lehane? He puts it this way: "Trapped Under the Sea is extraordinary. It bears comparison with The Perfect Storm in its brilliant evocation of everyday, working class men thrust into a harrowing, at times heroic confrontation with death and disaster."
If it takes an extra minute for the elevator doors to open, I'd also point out ...
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