In the tradition of Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air and
Sebastian Junger’s The Perfect Storm comes a true
tale of riveting adventure in which two weekend scuba divers risk everything to
solve a great historical mystery—and make history themselves.
For John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, deep wreck diving was
more than a sport. Testing themselves against treacherous currents, braving
depths that induced hallucinatory effects, navigating through wreckage as
perilous as a minefield, they pushed themselves to their limits and beyond,
brushing against death more than once in the rusting hulks of sunken ships.
But in the fall of 1991, not even these courageous divers
were prepared for what they found 230 feet below the surface, in the frigid
Atlantic waters sixty miles off the coast of New Jersey: a World War II German
U-boat, its ruined interior a macabre wasteland of twisted metal, tangled
wires, and human bones—all buried under decades of accumulated sediment.
No identifying marks were visible on the submarine or the
few artifacts brought to the surface. No historian, expert, or government had a
clue as to which U-boat the men had found. In fact, the official records all
agreed that there simply could not be a sunken U-boat and crew at that
Over the next six years, an elite team of divers embarked on
a quest to solve the mystery. Some of them would not live to see its end.
Chatterton and Kohler, at first bitter rivals, would be drawn into a friendship
that deepened to an almost mystical sense of brotherhood with each other and with
the drowned U-boat sailors—former enemies of their country. As the men’s
marriages frayed under the pressure of a shared obsession, their dives grew
more daring, and each realized that he was hunting more than the identities of
a lost U-boat and its nameless crew.
Author Robert Kurson’s account of this quest is at once
thrilling and emotionally complex, and it is written with a vivid sense of what
divers actually experience when they meet the dangers of the ocean’s
underworld. The story of Shadow Divers often seems too
amazing to be true, but it all happened, two hundred thirty feet down, in the
deep blue sea.
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