Shadow Divers

by

Author: Kurson, Robert
Title: Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II
Genre: Nonfiction
Publication Date: 2004
Number of Pages: 400 p.
Geographical Setting: New Jersey and New York coasts
Time Period: 1991-97
Series:

Plot Summary: When two experienced deep-sea wreck divers discover a torpedoed but undocumented German submarine lying deep off the New Jersey coast in 1991, they embark on a 7 year investigation to discover its identity. This perilous search delves into the mechanics of the dangerously deep dive, the frustrating searches in U.S., British, and German archives to identify the submarine, and harrowing tales from WWII submarine survivors–German as well as American. The mission is not without its share of tragedies: three divers lost their lives on the wreck and John Chatterton’s marriage failed as a result of his obsession. Fascinating characters, both contemporary and historical, fill this intriguing, detail-rich true adventure tale.

Subject Headings: U-869 (submarine); World War, 1939-1945–Naval Operations–Submarine; World War, 1939-1945–Naval Operations, German; Shipwrecks–New Jersey; Underwater Archaeology–New Jersey; Deep Diving–New Jersey; Adventure Stories

Appeal: compelling; detailed characterizations; cinematic, flashbacks, investigative, multiple plot lines, plot-centered, thought-provoking, tragic; accurate, detailed setting, historical details, details of wreck excavations, details of deep sea diving, details of submarines and submarine life, details of military history; suspenseful, bittersweet, dramatic; journalistic, popular treatment; authoritative, informative, entertaining.

Similar Fiction Authors and Works:
Lothar Guenther Buchheim, The Boat, action tale set aboard a World War II German U-Boat. Offers details of life aboard the submarine and reinforces the sense of claustrophobia and danger. Also made into a motion picture (Das Boot).
Clive Cussler, Raise the Titanic and his other deep sea exploration and adventure novels provide similar details in fictional settings.
Arturo Perez-Reverte, The Nautical Chart. For readers who appreciate well-developed characters in a tale of obsession relating the worlds of ships and old charts.

Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors
Bernie Chowdhury, The Last Dive: A Father and Son’s Fatal Descent into the Ocean’s Depths, tells of two divers who lost their lives exploring this wreck.
Joe Haberstroh, Fatal Depth: Deep Sea Diving, China Fever, and the Wreck of the Andrea Doria, chronicles the dangers of extreme diving and compares the desire to dive the Andrea Doria to the passion with which climbers try to conquer Everest.
Jon Krakauer, Into Thin Air, presents similar dangers in exploring extreme “sports.”

Joyce

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