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Titanic's Last Secrets: The Further Adventures of Shadow Divers John Chatterton and Richie Kohler [Kindle Edition]

Brad Matsen
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)

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Book Description

After rewriting history with their discovery of a Nazi U-boat off the coast of New Jersey, legendary divers John Chatterton and Richie Kohler decided to investigate the great enduring mystery of history's most notorious shipwreck: Why did Titanic sink as quickly as it did?

To answer the question, Chatterton and Kohler assemble a team of experts to explore Titanic, study its engineering, and dive to the wreck of its sister ship, Brittanic, where Titanic's last secrets may be revealed.

Titanic's Last Secrets is a rollercoaster ride through the shipbuilding history, the transatlantic luxury liner business, and shipwreck forensics. Chatterton and Kohler weave their way through a labyrinth of clues to discover that Titanic was not the strong, heroic ship the world thought she was and that the men who built her covered up her flaws when disaster struck. If Titanic had remained afloat for just two hours longer than she did, more than two thousand people would have lived instead of died, and the myth of the great ship would be one of rescue instead of tragedy.

Titanic's Last Secrets is the never-before-told story of the Ship of Dreams, a contemporary adventure that solves a historical mystery.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this expertly written account, Matsen (Descent) does what would seem impossible: he tells us something new about the Titanic disaster. In August of 2005, a team using Mir submersibles found previously undiscovered wreckage from the ship on the ocean floor. The wreckage suggested that the Titanic had not sunk with the bow rising into the air. Instead the ship had broken in half while almost horizontal and gone down before most of the passengers knew what was happening. The discovery directs Matsen's retelling of the Titanic story, beginning with events that led to the creation of the giant ocean liner. Matsen is an engaging writer and has smoothly incorporated massive amounts of research. After opening in the 21st century, Matsen spends 150 pages recounting the entire Titanic saga, including biographies of the builders, the ins-and-outs of shipyard politics and ocean travel. It's all very well done but leads at times to a loss of overall focus. A dive to Britannic, Titanic's sister ship, is handled rather hastily and the personalities of the team that made the Titanic discovery are never fully developed. These are minor issues, however, and it testifies to the quality of the book that the reader is left wanting more. (Oct.) ""
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved."

From Booklist

An experienced writer on maritime subjects chronicles the further adventures of John Chatterton and Richie Kohler (see Robert Kurson’s Shadow Divers, 2004). Now distinguished underwater archaeologists, they investigate a novel theory about why the Titanic sank so rapidly. With the help of dives on the wreck and several experts on the ship and her fate, they bolster suspicions that it and its sibling liners were structurally weak, too large for the standard shipbuilding techniques of the day. Whether they wholly convince the reader, their research is impressively thorough and their prose clear. Furthermore, they offer vivid accounts of the golden age of shipbuilding, of relations among the three men (Lord Pirrie, Bruce Ismay, and Thomas Andrews) who created the Titanic and sealed her doom, and of the pleasures and perils of underwater archaeology. Those who pick this up in anticipation of the centennial of the sinking should be enthralled. --Roland Green

Product Details

  • File Size: 687 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Twelve; 1 edition (October 1, 2008)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001E0V0ZY
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #273,728 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
67 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and a Great Read October 6, 2008
I found this book thoroughly researched and historically important; it brings out details about the Titanic saga which have previously been unknown or ignored, and it places the entire story within the larger context of the cutthroat turn-of-the-century shipping industry. It's a well-told story that's a great read.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm a documentary filmmaker who has worked with John Chatterton and Richie Kohler for over 11 years on multiple projects, including the 2005 Titanic expedition described in this book. I wrote and produced two television documentaries about their discoveries at the Titanic wreck site and subsequent investigations. During that time, I had extensive contact with many of the protagonists in Brad Matsen's account, including former Harland & Wolff employee Tom McCluskie and naval architect Roger Long.

I take issue with a previous review by Daniel Allen Butler, and note that in his review he fails to divulge that he is not exactly a disinterested party, but rather an author with a competing book about Titanic. Mr. Butler also recently panned Jennifer McCarty's book as "yet another book where the authors attempt to attach themselves to the Titanic story..." I have not read Ms. McCarty's book. But it appears that Mr. Butler, whose own Titanic book was published in 1998 (just as the James Cameron film was appearing in theaters), believes he should be the last writer allowed "to cash in on the disaster and the public's apparently insatiable appetite for all things Titanic" (his snide first-line dig at Matsen).

I might be tempted to agree - if there were no new evidence. But new evidence is precisely what Matsen's book is all about. And it delivers a whopper.
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42 of 50 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Inaccurate and disappointing April 21, 2010
The best way to ruin a good expedition is to publish a bad book, after producing a mediocre television program. The reality is that the author and his protagonists used the Titanic as a branding tactic for themselves, and this book is nothing more than a way to promote "The Further Adventures of Shadow Divers...." as it says in the subtitle.

I have to disagree with the review of Mr. DeNooyer, my colleague on the 2005 expedition. This book is not "thoroughly researched," and it could have been "historically important," but it is not. In fact, the book is riddled with inaccuracies.

The original purpose of the 2005 expedition was to explore a new section of the Titanic wreck site discovered on an earlier expedition. The "ribbons of steel" angle came in later when the television producers felt the need to follow the "Deep Sea Detectives" formula and prove or disprove a "grounding theory" mistakenly attributed to me in the television program, but which actually originated with Parks Stephenson and David Brown in a white paper they published in 2001. See [...]. The "ribbons of steel" are actually sections of the Titanic's hull plating, not seen on the first dive because the submersible took a different path to return to the new debris field. Due to the inherent difficulties of exploring 2.5 miles below the ocean's surface, particularly limitations on lighting and your field of view, if you travel 50 feet in either direction of the path you took on a previous dive, you will never see the same thing twice. After being used to hook the reader and disparage me, the "ribbons of steel" angle is abandoned in favor of the discussion of the "newly discovered" double bottom hull sections.
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The fascination about the Titanic continues September 26, 2008
Titanic. All one has to do is utter the name of the world's most infamous unsinkable ship and imagery, myth, and legend-sans James Cameron-pops into mind.

The world was mesmerized when Dr. Robert Ballard and his team located the wreckage in 1985. And not since Charles Pellegrino's 1990 classic, Her Name Titanic: The Untold Story of the Sinking and Finding of the Unsinkable Ship, has there been a great book about the Olympic-class ship. On the other hand, since Ballard et al., first glimpsed the rusting wreckage there had been nothing thing new to report. Until now. Get ready to unearth one of the greatest historical cover-ups of the twentieth century.

It's not clear how author Brad Matsen came to be involved with writing a completely absorbing narrative of the divers' adventures and findings. Regardless, Matsen's new book, Titanic's Last Secrets: The Further Adventures of Shadow Divers John Chatteron and Richie Kohler can take its place as the definitive answer to the world's most unanswerable question: Why did Titanic sink as quickly as she did?

In 2005, Deep Sea Detectives John Chatteron and Richie Kohler stacked their finances and reputations on the report of one man who claimed to have seen new evidence that the majestic ship's last hours were not at all what we had imagined and that it did not sink exactly as we have come to believe. David Concannon had seen "ribbons of steel that looked like they had been peeled from the ship" in Titan's debris field. He had no real proof, only what he had seen. Chatteron and Kohler took a plunge (no pun intended) in an effort to discover, once and for all, how and why Titanic sunk.

The book's subtitle is a little misleading. Chatteron and Kohler almost take a back seat to Titanic's mesmerizing personality.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Must be a "Must Have" for Titaniacs.
I actually gave the stars for my friend, it is a birthday gift. In early December his apartment flooded and his copy of this book was ruined. Read more
Published 3 months ago by rad
4.0 out of 5 stars Whether this conclusion is right or wrong doesn't detract from the...
Anyone interested in the Titanic should read this book for its wealth of technical information about how the ship was built. Read more
Published 6 months ago by William G. Schmidt
3.0 out of 5 stars Mildly Entertaining But Doesn't Present Any New Secrets... Really
I’m not really a big fan of non-fiction but when my daughter picked this up at the Goodwill where she works part time, it was hard to resist. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Fred Rayworth
3.0 out of 5 stars A good book, but the title is fairly misleading....
I thought it was a pretty good book, and definitely an easy read, which I liked. I don't want to be overly critical, I thought it was very interesting and well-written. Read more
Published 12 months ago by P-Monster
5.0 out of 5 stars Very readable history of the Titanic.
Not only was the subject matter of the Titanic of general interest, but the writing was so engaging that it was difficult to put the book down until it was finished. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Jan
5.0 out of 5 stars Titanic's Last Secret
This book follows up "Shadow Divers' (Kurson), which I devoured and recommended to everyone who would listen. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Marcia D. Kellotat
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating book!
You'll never think about the Titanic disaster the same way again after you read this book. The author makes a very convincing case.
Published on November 10, 2012 by DarrelE
5.0 out of 5 stars A very interesting book!
Well, with the sinking of the Titanic just having had its 100th anniversary, many of us find ourselves interested. With this in mind, I ordered and read the book. Read more
Published on May 2, 2012 by Robert V. Rose, retired education researcher
5.0 out of 5 stars Answers many questions we had about previous theories
I recently saw a Booktv replay of the authors discussing "Titanic's Last Secrets," which piqued my interest. Read more
Published on April 27, 2012 by Karen Sampson Hudson
5.0 out of 5 stars Surpasses Night to Remember...
in my opinion. Facts, background on the ship, interviews and comments from hearings after the sinking of the Titanic, make this a fasinating read. So good, read it twice.
Published on February 22, 2012 by Carol M. Hutchens
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More About the Author

I published my first short story in 1972 and have been making most of my living as a writer ever since. I was in the Marine Corps from 1966 to 1971 and have also worked as a merchant seaman, charter pilot, commercial fisherman, lecturer, and magazine editor. I have a BA in English from the University of North Carolina and a Master of Fine Arts in fiction from the University of California at Irvine. I will be seventy in July, 2014. I am the author of Death and Oil: A True Story of the Piper Alpha Disaster on the North Sea; Jacques Cousteau: The Sea King; Descent: The Heroic Discovery of the Abyss, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in 2006; the New York Times bestseller Titanic's Last Secrets; Planet Ocean: A Story of Life the Sea, and Dancing to the Fossil Record with artist Ray Troll; the Incredible Ocean Adventure series for children, recipient of the National Science Teachers Award for 2004; Go Wild in New York City on urban ecology for children; and many other books. I was a creative producer for The Shape of Life, an eight-hour National Geographic television series on evolutionary biology, and wrote the accompanying book. I have written on marine science and the environment for Mother Jones, Audubon, Natural History, and dozens of other magazines. I have been awarded two fellowships at the MacDowell Colony and a residency at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology. Like so many mid-list authors in the new age of celebrity publishing, I have not sold a book since the collapse of the industry five years ago. No complaints, though. It's been a wonderful life. I now live with my sweetheart, Barbara Manchester, and my standard poodle, Lucky, in Port Townsend, Washington.


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