Thursday, April 05, 2007

Shadow Divers, by Robert Kurson

This book was from the Alachua County Library, was an unabridged audiobook on 13 CDs, and was read by Michael Prichard.

If you are a big fan of Clive Cussler's Dirk Pitt novels on audio, you will feel right at home with the familiar voice of Michael Prichard. His is the perfect voice for these stories of the deep. The big difference is that this is a true story without the campy characters to make your eyes roll.

After a fisherman snags his nets on a mysterious wreck, he brings it to the attention of a legendary diver who has gone to seed named Bill Nagel. This man knows he will need the help of the very best divers he can find, so he assembles a team of experienced men who are willing to take a chance.

One of the men who answers the call is John Chatterton, a former army medic who is a commercial diver. He makes the discovery that what they have found is a submarine of unknown origin. It is at a depth of about 230 feet, which is a very dangerous place for any diver to work.

It is 7 years and 3 dead divers before Chatterton and a later addition to the team, Richie Kohler, finally uncover the identity of what they knew was a WW2 German U-boat with its full crew of skeletal dead. They defy death, personal tragedy, and the record of history in their dogged pursuit of truth about the men who died off the coast of New Jersey in the 1940s. And eventually they find closure for themselves and the families of the German sailors who died half a century before.

This was a very moving story about the men who became obsessed with their own personal search for truth. From John Chatterton's search for himself as a medic in Viet Nam to the recreation of the lives of the men who died on the U-boat, as told by the crew member who missed the boat to eternity, this story will get inside your head and your heart all the way to the end.

As a special bonus, there is an interview at the end with John Chatterton and Richie Kohler. As a special bonus to you now, there is a great website about the wreck they found, and it's right here! This book was a 4 star masterpiece.

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