BookBrowse Reviews Trapped Under the Sea by Neil Swidey

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Trapped Under the Sea

One Engineering Marvel, Five Men, and a Disaster Ten Miles Into the Darkness

by Neil Swidey

Trapped Under the Sea
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Feb 2014, 432 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2015, 432 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte

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Neil Swidey's harrowing account is of five men who were sent into a miles-long tunnel, hundreds of feet under the ocean as part of the Boston Harbor cleanup project; only three came out alive.

In 2010, The New York Times ran a splashy story about Boston's new waterfront in its Travel section. Complete with slideshow, the article showed what residents have known for a while now - the complete and glamorous revitalization of downtown thanks to two massive engineering projects, The Big Dig and the Harbor cleanup. Looking at the city now, it's hard to imagine that, less than 20 years ago, downtown was nothing more than a set of highways crisscrossing each other, and the harbor was so polluted that it was often described as a cesspool.

Through the '80s and '90s, years of dumping lightly treated sewage lead to a harbor so polluted that the organic matter from the decay had settled on the sea floor creating an oozing mud known as "black mayonnaise." A lawsuit forced the city's hand and the Boston harbor cleanup got underway.

The solution was an expensive cleanup...

Additional Information

You can find out more about the project on the book's website, including pictures of the tunnels and the experimental breathing system.

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