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Shadow Divers

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  25,501 ratings  ·  2,268 reviews
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, br
Hardcover, 335 pages
Published 2004 by Random House
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Jquick99 I don’t understand your question. Since John knew Horenburg being still alive was incorrect, John would NOT want to talk again to the source...why tal…moreI don’t understand your question. Since John knew Horenburg being still alive was incorrect, John would NOT want to talk again to the source...why talk twice to someone who purposely gave you false information?(less)

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Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
As a kid one of my favorite television shows was Jacques Cousteau's Undersea Kingdom. I was enthralled with the idea of scuba divers swimming with dolphins and looking for sunken treasures and video taping their findings for the world to see. While Cousteau's weekly program showed coral reefs and shallow water scuba diving that many tourists engage in, he on occasion aired a program about deep sea divers searching for the sea's mysteries. When the nonfiction book club on goodreads selected Shado ...more
Things that don't interest me:

--military history
--other ocean-going vessels
--maritime terminology
--scuba diving

Oddly enough, these are what this book is about and whenever real life forced me to set it down and walk away for awhile, I spent an absurd amount of time thinking about it and frantically wondering, "what next? Tell me more! I need to know more!" I think that means Robert Kurson might be a brilliant writer.

My husband is a U.S. Navy submarine veteran and belongs to a
Dec 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Holy moly. I didn't think that this book would be as amazing as it was. I had thought it'd be a rather dry telling of an awesome discovery, but it was so much more than that.

Mr. Kurson was able to tell John Chatterton and Richie Kohler's stories so that it read just like that, a story. His tone was honest and even, his research was obvious. There were points where I had to remind myself that this wasn't fiction.

I truly appreciated the history that Mr. Kurson injected into this entire book. Not o
This is the fascinating true story of deep-sea wreck divers. Some are commercial divers while others come from all walks of life and share the love of discovery, the call of the unknown. Most are die-hard aficionados of the artifacts that can be pulled from underwater wrecks. Whatever their life calling, deep-sea divers are explorers; they are today’s frontiersmen and women, probing, sifting, and investigating. Sometimes the exploration turns inward to investigate what's inside of them answering ...more
Every year I seem to read at least one highly charged very masculine book. This definitely filled the bill this year. A fascinating tale of obsession, deep-sea wreck diving and German U-boats. A very high risk occupation with multiple deaths on the journey, a mystery involving WWII, two men dedicated to their craft of deep sea diving and committed to finding the truth of their discovery. Kurson put together a thrilling book which also seemed to have historical relevance. (view spoiler) ...more
Well, I've done some calculations, and it turns out that there are precisely one-bagillion ways to die while deep water diving. As I'm neither Boyle, nor Dalton nor Henry I won't be going into grave (as in watery grave) detail vis-à-vis the laws of physics that make humans so ill-equipped to brave the pelagic depths of the sea.* Things like nitrogen narcosis can impair even a master diver's decision-making skills, and those decisions can often be fatal. Wreck diving, the subject of this rive ...more
Lisa Dunckley
Jan 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is not only the most thrilling non-fiction book I've EVER read, it is one of the most exciting, thrilling books of any genre!

So many times the description for a true story says, “reads like an adventure story”, and then you read it and it's boring. This—THIS is flat out adventure!

The “shadow divers” of the title are deep wreck divers, a sport that consists of only a few hundred diehards. And “diehards” is perhaps a great description, because this sport is incredibly deadly. By the 1980's,
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finding the book Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man's First Journey to the Moon incredibly entertaining and informative, I took the recommendation of a friend and put this one on hold at my library.

I downloaded the audio version and I didn't care for the narrator quite as much as I did with ROCKET MEN. (I see now there is a version narrated by Campbell Scott! That one was not available at my library.) (Not everyone is a Ray Porter!) Also, this version seem
Woman Reading
Shadow Divers is an adventure story that had a 60+ year old mystery and came complete with chills, suspense and death. It stars John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, who it can be argued had a touch of lunacy in their make-up, as they risked their lives and certainly their marriages in this endeavor. Kurson, the author, was more sympathetic than me and presented this as a classic tale of man against nature. Hmm, I could almost hear the fanfare behind the pronouncements. ;)

Chatterton and Kohler are
May 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars for Shadow Divers (audiobook) by Robert Kurson read by Michael Prichard. This is a great adventure, particularly if you’re into WWII or diving.
Sep 06, 2008 rated it liked it
This is an action-packed adventure story. An adrenalin thrill. Make sure that is what you want before you start.

It is also a non-fiction book about the discovery of an unidentified submarine where none was said to exist. Which submarine was it? Who were the men that discovered it? What was done to discover its provenance and how it came to be there? Who were the dead men on that U-boat? That is the theme of this book. It can be tackled in several ways, two of which are to make it into a thrilli
Judith E
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible, non-fiction
Shadow Diving is an in depth, or “deep dive” (sorry, the devil made me do it :) study into the profession of wreck diving. John Chatterton and Richard Koehler are premier world class scuba divers who discover a sunk submarine off the coast of New Jersey.

This is a subject I knew nothing about and the author nicely tied in the art of scuba diving, the discovery of the submarine, the WWII U boat history and the lives of the submarine seamen. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this.
Aug 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sports, nonfiction
When I was around ten years old my dad handed me this book. Looking back on it, I'm not too sure why he did so.

This is what I remember: I heard the word "motherfucker" for the first time, and reflected that it's one hell of a curse word. I became engrossed in the truth and real journalism in this novel--it made me realize the mysteries of the world and the great depths of the sea. Mostly, though, I remember loving the men and their devotion to this wreck. I remember them perservering through it
Laura Noggle
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, history, nonfiction
*Diving for history’s sake.*

"In contemplating the Doria's tilted grandness, he could glimpse shadows of the secrets great shipwrecks offer those who see with their minds."

This was my second Robert Kurson book after Rocket Men, and it’s clear he’s working from the same blue print.

Highlight event, then background on event, deeper history on individuals involved, minor related events, final analysis of main event ... more or less. Very formulaic, not necessarily in a bad way.

A very dear friend o
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This was one of those books sitting on a shelf waiting to be read ( from 2004) and I had heard from various people that it was a great story. But I did not get around to reading it until it was decided that it would be the book for our discussion group to read for this month ( August, 2017). It certainly lived up to the hype as I give it *****!!! It's an amazing story of wreck divers exploring a sunken German U-boat from World War II off the coast of New Jersey. We learn about the dangers of tha ...more
Oct 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: History Buffs, Adventure Readers, Those Who Love the Sea
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michaelbrent Collings
Jun 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a fantastic book about a gripping story - part mystery, part history, with more than a little bit of life thrown in. The story of several divers who discover a u-boat 60 miles of the coast of New Jersey - that's right, a NAZI FRICKING SUBMARINE that was so close the submariners in it could have THROWN bombs at us if they wanted, let alone launching torpedoes... and one that was utterly unknown until the 1990s.

The book takes you beyond just the facts of the finding, into the lives of th
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Liked it, gave it four stars.

The best part, the many and detailed descriptions of searching the u-boat. The hazards, the danger, the insistence of certain divers to keep going back and back again, and yes, back again.

Why I took off one star, I didn't like the main characters. Perhaps I know too many people like this, driven to such exacting precision and perfection they become almost stereotypes of themselves. Or it could be the way the author chose to represent them. I wanted to say (to the aut
Lance Charnes
Dec 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of the Jon Krakauer/Sebastian Junger school of adventure writing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great adventure/mystery; a German U-Boat from World War II is found off the coast of New Jersey. But history records do not mention any such submarine in the area. In fact, historical records are shown to be replete with errors and mistaken identities. So which U-Boat is it? What was it doing there? How did it sink?

This is the story of two brave divers, John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, and how they solved these mysteries. They risked their lives diving down to 230 feet over the cour
Jan 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: divers, history buffs, anyone who enjoys a good perils-of-the-sea yarn
Recommended to trishtrash by: cream_of_wheat, diver and fellow livejournaler
This book is principally the story of two American divers who risk their lives to explore and identify the wreck of a WWII U-Boat.

Rich with adversity, adventure and war history, the author's enthusiasm for the tale (which in turn is lit by the dedication and determination of the divers themselves) lends the writing that elusive thrill of perfect retelling. The balance of back-story of the men who explored the wreck, the detail and technical information, the history, the suspense of the dives the
Kelda Giavaras
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I believe I read a review of this book recently that stated: Things I'm not interested in, 1.) WW2 U boats, 2.)Deep sea diving 3.) WW2 history of any kind....And yet I LOVED this book! I can honestly say I relate. While I do typically stick to WW2 fiction, I found this read absolutely fascinating. I'm awed by the amount of research that had to go into writing this. And I'm equally awed by the divers that were so committed to revealing the mystery behind this U boat. (Which by the way, was found ...more
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, nonfiction
A thrilling story that's even more compelling because it's a true story. ...more
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks
This was a great recommendation from Emilie! I don't normally read non-fiction, but this was a perfect mix of facts and storytelling. I actually found myself holding my breath during the intense diving scenes. ...more
Apr 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Not only the date by date survey of a diving project that lasted many years, but also the depth and core story of the reality for the divers who accomplished the answers to the mystery.

Knowing you were going to get the tale of a sunken U boat, I had no idea you would also get the biography to emotional depths and physical conditions for the principles who operated this obsession off "The Seeker". And they did seek, and it did start with obsession. And did end with a more total obsession.

Being wi
Elizabeth A
May 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Carol K
Shelves: 2015, audio, non-fiction
This nonfiction book lives up to its subtile: The true adventures of two Americans who risked everything to solve one of the last mysteries of World War II.

In order to fully appreciate my review of this book, you need to know that I am not a World War II (or WWI for that matter) buff in any shape or form. Yes, I've watched loads of war movies, and was that person; the one asking are those the Germans or allies? Am I the only one who did not know that you could tell them apart merely based on th
Arah-Leah Hay
3.5 Stars
This story had me hook line and sinker. I initially came to it with its comparison to Jon Krakauer's "Into Thin Air", which blew me away. There is no doubt for the comparison. Where Into Thin Air delves into the politics and risks of climbing Mt. Everest, Shadow Divers deals in the risk and politics of deep sea diving. High altitude sickness vs depth narcosis, and how they both intrude on your sanity while you are already risking your life. This is a true story of discovery. American di
Scot Parker
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scuba
I read this the first time years ago when I was just starting to think about getting into technical diving and it earned 5 stars from me. I decided to re-read it now that I'm routinely doing trimix dives on shipwrecks at the same depth as the U-861; it holds up quite well. I appreciated the book so much more the second time through now that I have a much deeper (heh) appreciation for what is involved when diving deep shipwrecks. It's a great book for the interested non-diver as well; I'd compare ...more
Paul Ataua
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thanks for the recommendation Lori. There was no way I was ever going to read a book about scuba divers discovering a U-boat under 230 foot of water off the New Jersey coast without serious prodding. Nothing could have interested me less. And yet, I was gripped from beginning to end. The story was good enough in itself, but Kurson did a fantastic job of bringing the whole thing to life. One of those rare occasions when non-fiction is every bit as absorbing as fiction.
Best book I've read in five years. The adventure of a lifetime. A mystery underwater? I was already hooked. Two guys who find a German U-Boat off the New Jersey coast? The entire crew still inside? That's a book with promise. And the author delivers. He weaves the right combination of non-fiction research and a fascinating tale of two men struggling for seven years--against incredible and unexpected odds--to figure out which U-Boat they had found. If you know anything about research, or simply b ...more
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Play Book Tag: Shadow Divers 4 stars 1 8 Jan 04, 2021 04:51AM  
Non Fiction Book ...: Shadow Divers (Feb 1-29, 2020) 56 77 Mar 02, 2020 08:50AM  
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Men's Book Club: This topic has been closed to new comments. Book of the Month > (BoM) November 2017 - Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson 14 63 Nov 27, 2017 12:00PM  

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Robert Kurson is an American author, best known for his bestselling book, "Shadow Divers," the true story of two Americans who discover a sunken World War II German U-boat and for "Crashing Through," the story of an entrepreneur who regains his eyesight after a lifetime of blindness.

Kurson began his career as an attorney, graduating from Harvard Law School and practicing real estate law. His profe

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