Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson
Storytelling, history and adventure at its finest.
Kurson follows the true-life adventure of two American deep-shipwreck divers, John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, on their mission to solve the mystery surrounding a previously undiscovered sub, affectionately called U-Who, lying in 230 feet of frigid Atlantic water off the coast of New Jersey.
Beginning in 1991 and over a span of six years, some of the world’s most elite deep-shipwreck divers combined forces to discover the identity of this sunken submarine concealing her secrets within a twisted metal hull beneath decades of silt. Even with the best skills and equipment of the time, three divers lost their lives trying to extract answers to this forgotten piece of history. But for lead divers Chatterton and Kohler, naming the sub and providing answers and closure to the lost submariners’ families became paramount...and worth dying for.
The tale in and of itself is an astounding one, but how Kurson tells it is pure genius.
Shadow Divers is a beautifully crafted work of art alternating between education (about deep-shipwreck diving, submarines and World War II), backstory on the individual divers, and the discovery of and exploratory dives on the U-boat. With not a single page wasted and every word riveting, this non-fiction novel holds readers captivated until the end.
Once the identity of the U-boat was clear, even if not yet confirmed, Kurson worked in historical WWII scenes of the German crew and their tasks aboard the newly commission U-boat. His portrayal of how the sailors and their loved ones felt about Hitler, Germany's weakening position in the war, and what was sure to be a one-way trip on one of the last U-boats Germany sent into battle against the Allied Forces, added depth and weight to the story.
Whether you are a military history lover or not, this riveting tale of daring deep-shipwreck dives, harrowing fatal accidents and a thirst to discover the identities of the men entombed inside a submarine lost for half a century will not disappoint.