BookBrowse Reviews Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson

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Shadow Divers

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

by Robert Kurson

Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2004, 400 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2005, 400 pages

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Underwater Adventure: Non-Fiction

Kurson brings considerable journalistic experience to his debut book, which combines the derring-do of a great modern-day adventure story with a 60 year old mystery.  In other words, it's a book that can be enjoyed by a much wider audience than diving buffs (just as 'Into Thin Air' isn't just for climbers).

In 1991 John Chatterton and Rich Kohler, two deep-sea wreck divers, found an unidentified German submarine lying at 230 feet off the coast of New Jersey.  Their seven year task of identifying what they found took them to Germany and Washington and, of course, to the darkest corners of the submarine.  If you want to know exactly what they found, you'll have to read the book - I'm not going to spoil it for you! 

230 feet doesn't sound particularly deep - it's less than the length of a soccer field; but to put it into context, amateur divers typically dive to less than 100 feet; diving much deeper than this requires special equipment including special gas mixtures to reduce the  risk of diving related issues (see sidebar).

So there you are at 230 feet, with a limited amount of air, and therefore time, ready to explore a wreck - and not a wreck of a nice big ship but a small claustrophobic WWII submarine.  It's pitch dark, except for any illumination you carry with you, and you have very little room to maneuver.  In addition, at any moment you could bump into a part of the fragile wreck and the whole thing could cave in on you.  

I don't know about you, but I'm very comfortable reading about all this from the comfort of my armchair!

This review is from the June 1, 2005 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.



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