Shadow Divers

  • by Robert Kurson
  • Narrated by Campbell Scott
  • 6 hrs and 22 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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, 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 60 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 that Chatterton and Kohler 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. Chatterton and Kohler, at first bitter rivals, would be drawn into a friendship that deepened to an almost mystical bond of brotherhood. 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. The story of Shadow Divers often seems too amazing to be true, but it all happened, 230 feet down, in the deep blue sea.

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What the Critics Say



Alex Award Winner, 2005
"While Kurson doesn't stint on technical detail, lovers of any sort of adventure tale will certainly absorb the author's excellent characterizations, and particularly his balance in describing the combat arm of the Third Reich. Felicitous cooperation between author and subject rings through every page of this rare insightful action narrative." (Publishers Weekly)
"A fascinating look at the sometimes communal, sometimes bitterly competitive psychology of wreck-divers, weekend warriors in wet suits whose dangerous hobby is often an antidote to the frustrations of the workaday world." (Booklist)
"The story told in Robert Kurson's new book features undersea thrills, a gripping mystery, incredible discoveries, true-blue friendship, life-or-death crises and history unfolding....Written with great you-are-there intensity and dynamic verve." (The New York Times)
"From U-boat history to the mortal dangers of diving (disorientation is so common that you wonder only three men drowned on this quest), Kurson explains it all, even as he's spinning a fantastic yarn that happens to be true. All he leaves out are the boring parts." (Newsweek)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Who Knew This Book Would Interest Me At All?

I only downloaded this book because it got such amazing ratings. I am not interested in scuba diving, in boats, in submarines or in WWII, but I was intrigued by the ratings. Boy, am I glad I didn't miss this one! What an incredible story, and it is non-fiction to boot! The story is fascinating, the men on the diving mission are fearless beyond belief and the history they uncover is staggering. I only listened to the abridged version because the unabridged was 2 credits and I was not sure this book was going to be my cup of tea.

Robert Kurson does an outstanding job of relaying the story of the divers, their triumphs, their losses and their impossible journey of discovery.

I have continued to do some of my own research on this WWII U-boat and it's crew thanks to the website of Richard Kohler Jr. who along with his diving mate John Chatterton, whose drive for the answers almost cost him his life, were able to bring this bit of history back to life. Congratulations!
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- Ella "Knowledge is knowing the way. Wisdom is looking for an alternative, more interesting road to get there. Audiobooks are that road."

Couldn?t turn it off !!!

Although I?ve listed to enjoyed dozens of audio books, this is the first book that has inspired me to take the time to write a review. My wife and I have been listening to audio books for years now and Shadow Divers is without doubt the best audio book we?ve ever listened to. It's simply a GREAT STORY (and extremely well narrated by the way) that keeps you interested from start to finish. You don?t have to be young or old, male or female, or a diver to find the story interesting. I strongly advise that you purchase the unabridged version so you don?t miss a thing. I found myself listening way after my normal bed time because I got so engrossed in the story. Shadow Divers may cause you to loose some sleep but I think you'll find it worth it.
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- Michael

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-24-2004
  • Publisher: Random House Audio