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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

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


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 location.

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.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Robert Kurson's Pirate Hunters.

From Publishers Weekly

Jul 07, 2008 – In this gripping account, Finch (F2F) narrates a disastrous attempt to recover a body nearly 900 feet underwater in a South African crater named Bushman s Hole. David Shaw, an Australian pilot for Cathay Pacific, became obsessed with diving in his early 40s and quickly became a world-class deep diver. In South Africa, Shaw trained with renowned diving instructor Don Shirley, and the two men grew close. Shirley was a proponent of diving rebreathers, sophisticated pieces of equipment that allow divers to reach greater depths while using less equipment. In 2004, Shaw dove to the bottom of Bushman s Hole, where he discovered the corpse of a diver that had lain there for a decade. Together, Shaw and Shirley decided to try to raise the body. Finch seamlessly weaves together the various strands of his story, from the character biographies to the dangers and arcane technologies of deep diving. An experienced cave diver himself, Finch brings the reader into a strange and hermetic underworld that few have ever experienced firsthand. In deep diving, he demonstrates, even the smallest breakdown in judgment or equipment will bring catastrophe. Although the outcome is never in doubt, Finch manages to build suspense to fevered intensity.

Customer Reviews

Shadow Divers

Hands down, one of the best books I have ever read. As a recreational diver, I appreciated the detail of deep wreck diving. The authors writing style made this story come alive! Incredible job! I intend to research other books this author may have written! Thank you for the journey you took me on.

Hard to Put Down

A rich, well-told account of the discovery, exploration, and documentation of the unknown wreck of a WW II U-boat off the coast of New Jersey. Definitely worth reading if you’re interested in quests, extreme sports, the sea, diving, or history.

History and adventure

Very well written book that combines both historical facts and elements of adventure. The author did extensive research into u boats and is evidenced in the detailed facts in the book.

Shadow Divers
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  • $12.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Military
  • Published: Jun 29, 2004
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 432 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings