Karl's Reviews > Shadow Divers

Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson
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Oct 28, 11

Read in September, 2011

This is a thrilling adventure book about deep sea shipwreck scuba diving, chronicling the 1991 discovery and subsequent identification of the German WW2 submarine U-869 by Bill Nagel, John Chatterton, and Richie Kohler.

As in all adventure sports, deep sea shipwreck scuba diving has several schools of thought and methods, and this book describes and probes the highly individualistic and independent methods of Chatterton and Kohler, who are Atlantic wreck divers of extraordinary skill and daring.

People in the scuba diving community have been talking about this shipwreck and these divers since the 1990s, for decades, and this book has become widely popular among divers since its publication in 2004.

Like climbing Everest, diving to deep wrecks is an adventure sport that can kill you. Three divers died on this wreck, one unexpectedly, and two others predictably, in this story.

This is an exciting story of deep sea adventure.

Chatterton and Kohler are both super-heroes, due not only to their daring and skills as divers, but also due to their humanity and social responsibility. They went to great lengths and risked their lives to identify this mystery wreck and it's crew, and then to notify the crew's German relatives of the location of this tomb and war grave of their beloved young men.

It also alludes to the God-sent miracle one day back in 1944 when a single acoustic torpedo was launched by a Nazi submarine operating about 60 miles off the shores of New Jersey in the relatively shallow 230 ft waters of the Atlantic shipping lanes there, a single torpedo, fired by a young an inexperienced U-boat crew, in waters too shallow for them to make a safe escape, a single torpedo, which though ostensibly intended for an American freighter went awry in the waters and circled back and found the U-boat instead and crashed into its conning tower, with a massive explosion that broke it apart and sent it to the depths 230 feet below, killing all onboard instantly.

And 47 years later, unknown to anyone else on this Earth, that's where Nagle, Chatterton, and Kohler found it, and then later identified it, and then graciously informed the surviving relatives back home in Germany of the apparent accident and of the location where the dead Kriegsmarinen now lie in repose on the Atlantic floor.
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