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Setting the Hook: A Diver's Return to the Andrea Doria Paperback – December 14, 2011
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From Kirkus Reviews
A deep-sea diver explores shipwrecks and his own character in this gripping scuba memoir.
Hunt (Angles of Attack: An A-6 Intruder Pilot’s War, 2002) revisits 30 years of shipwreck dives, a pastime whose lugubrious allure is only heightened by his vivid descriptions of the dangers. Chief among these are the hulks themselves, full of ensnaring electrical cables and silt, all of which becomes an impenetrable, disorienting cloud at the kick of a fin; one wrong turn in these pitch-black labyrinths, and a diver can be trapped in a watery tomb. Then there’s the sheer physiological challenge of penetrating an alien environment where breathing itself is a high-tech feat rife with fatal glitches. Carbon dioxide can build up to asphyxiating levels; nitrogen first intoxicates and then bubbles out of the blood to cause the bends; even oxygen becomes toxic and induces convulsions. Hunt’s well-paced narrative is full of underwater panics, nerve-wracking escapes and rescues that sometimes end in failure and death. He structures it around his dives to the wreck of the Italian cruise ship Andrea Doria, which sank in 240 feet of water off Nantucket in 1956—he includes a riveting account of the disaster and the blunders that caused it—and remains a magnet to divers because of its difficulty and wealth of fine china and other loot. Along the way he presents a lucid, engrossing study of the art of diving, introducing readers to the arcane gear, the constant attention to breathing, buoyancy and “situational awareness” the sport demands and the complex decompression routines that make surfacing take twice as long as the dive. Hunt’s three decades of Andrea Doria excursions also frame an affecting story of maturation and limits, as he ages from a strapping, reckless youth to a more cautious man in physical decline—a transformation that prepares him for the onset of Parkinson’s disease with the knowledge that “dying slowly is hard work.”
Hunt’s taut scenes and meticulous prose will have readers holding their breath, but his saga probes hidden depths as well.
...fascinating read of true adventure, very much recommended.-The Midwest Book Review
...excellently written, well structured, and superbly proofed...fully delivered on the diving, adventure and technical fronts, but it was the human angle of the author's very personal journey that elevates this much recommended book. -C. H. Blickenstorfer, scubadiverinfo.com
Peter Hunt’s engaging memoir...offers a thoughtful perspective of America’s wreck diving scene. -Simon Rogerson, British Sub Aqua Club (BSAC) SCUBA Magazine
...heartfelt and inspiring story of diving, the fragility of life, and a reflection on our humanity.-Dive News Network
...two books in one...a story of camaraderie, conflict, drama, success and failure in early technical diving, and also one man's personal struggle… thought-provoking…highly recommended.” Jesper Kjøller, DYK – The Scandinavian Dive Magazines
...the story of a wreck diving pioneer and the personal story of a man…Setting the Hook is a great read…well written…a great diving book, but an even better people book. -Charles George, Wreck Diving Magazine
…enthralling personal account…unique perspective…gripping subplot...-Undercurrent Magazine, Editor’s Pick of the month
A “Must-Pack Book” for your next dive vacation. -Sport Diver Magazine
Top customer reviews
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The main problem with the book is the author. First, he is not a good storyteller. One gets the sense that there are interesting dive stories, perhaps even insights, buried in his experiences. They just never quite make it to the surface. Because of his subpar storytelling skills. Second, the author's command of the English language is limited. Yes, he can write grammatically correct sentences but prose they're not. If there is a case to be made that not everyone should attempt to write a book, this is it. Peter Hunt is a pilot. He seems to be a fine man. But he should stay away from writing.
Toward the end of the book Hunt mentions that he has Parkinsons which is sad. Bad writing notwithstanding, he seems to be a champ and I hope he approaches the difficulties of his illness with the same attitude that he showed when flying for his country and diving with spirit.
I highly recommend this read as a journey into the human spirit, a journey beneath the waves of the treacherous Long Island Sound, a journey to the wreck of a glorious ship pulled under in her youth, never again to see the light of day, condemned to rot among the snagged fishing nets and bottom mud of a dark world. I am grateful for this man's generous sharing as he grasped at new technologies, as he confronted his past, and longed--as we all do--for the simple days we have taken for granted. Buy this now, and regret it not!!! It is an incredible story of challenge, of overcoming, of the great circle of life and time. In the end, it is the story of man himself: we are here to exist; to be the best we can be! Peter Hunt has met this God-given goal, and can be proud for all he has done! Thank you for including us all!
Part of what differentiates this book from others is how Hunt honestly examines his motivations, conflicts, joys, and fears, and the changes that the passage of time wrought. Even though I'm a non-diver, I found myself gaining insight not only about the author but about myself. For that alone, this book is worth reading, and re-reading. This is a book about far, far more than diving and I predict it will become a classic in its field.
This book is a great read for anyone. It is told in the first person and gives the reader a chance to know the author on a personal level. I highly recommend this book. Especially, to anyone who has strapped on a Scuba tank or anyone else who has an interest in the Great Ocean liners of yesteryear.
If you are a thrill seeker who would contemplate such an extreme adventure, reading this book first may well save your life. The Author explains hidden dangers that even a seasoned scuba diver may not have thought of. The smallest most insignificant detail can be the proverbial link in the chain of events that can lead to a horrible death. I had a hard time putting the book down.
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