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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 Paperback – May 24, 2005
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The Age of Daredevils
At the dawn of the 20th century, a small but determined band of barrel-jumpers risked their lives in one of the world’s most wondrous waterfalls. Only a few survived. Learn More
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Top Customer Reviews
Kurson puts us in the center of the action as we learn about the discovery of a mysterious submarine shipwreck--not one of ours--just 60 miles east of Pt. Pleasant, NJ. In nautical terms this is literally in our backyard. Resting on the bottom of the ocean at 233 feet, it is a depth that is tantalizingly close, yet dangerously deep and accessible to all but a few of the most experienced deep diving specialists.
Central to the story are the truly larger than life main characters: hard drinking rough hewn John Nagle, Captain of the dive-boat and world renowned wreck diving legend; two peas in opposing pods, John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, wreck diving enthusiasts who idolize Nagle and only hope to share in some of the excitement that he has experienced in the past; and a rather odd assortment of other players who come and go at different times. Along the way we witness relationships destroyed, marriages ruined, jobs forfeited, sanity questioned, and even lives tragically lost, all in the single minded pursuit to solve a seemingly unsolvable puzzle.
Kurson pulls it all together nicely, and without revealing the end, I will just say that this book is a richly rewarding experience for the reader. Good books like this leave me wanting to know so much more about the characters, sort of "where are they now?" Fortunately, the adventures experienced by these fascinating men don't end with the telling of this story; John Chatterton, and to a lesser extent Richie Kohler, can be seen quite regularly on the History Channel as the hosts of the Deep Sea Detectives docudrama television series.
This book is as good as any suspense novel out there, but the diffference is that it is true. I highly recommend this book to diver and non-diver alike!
From time-to-time Kurson lays it on pretty thick stylistically; the story is so dramatic (several divers died during the search) that it does not need melodramatic prose. There is an interesting but strangely apologetic chapter on the German sailors; Kurson seems a little too eager to prove that many of them had anti-Hitler leanings. This is surely true, but the story of the lost men, whose bones still rest on the bottom of the Atlantic, is tragic and touching regardless of their politics.
Still, if you like true adventures, you can't do better than this.