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, braving depths that induced hallucinatory effects, navigating through wreckage as perilous as a minefield, 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 sixty 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 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. Some of them would not live to see its end. Chatterton and Kohler, at first bitter rivals, would be drawn into a friendship that deepened to an almost mystical sense of brotherhood with each other and with the drowned U-boat sailors–former enemies of their country. 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, and it is written with a vivid sense of what divers actually experience when they meet the dangers of the ocean’s underworld. The story of Shadow Divers often seems too amazing to be true, but it all happened, two hundred thirty feet down, in the deep blue sea. BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Robert Kurson's Pirate Hunters.
Shadow Divers Exposed
The U-869 was one of more than 1,200 U-boats that were constructed for the Nazi war machine. It was sunk off the American eastern seaboard by a combination hedgehog and depth-charge attack. There were no survivors to tell the tragic tale. Now, for the first time, the real saga of the U-869 can be told in full. Archival documents have established that the U-boat was sunk by two American destroyer escorts. Seven crewmembers of those aggressive warships have supplemented the official record with their personal recollections. Shadow Divers Exposed works on a multitude of levels. It presents the actual circumstances that surrounded the loss of the U-869. It puts the discovery of the U-869 into perspective with other U-boats that have been found in American waters. It provides an overview of the U-boat war through accounts of other U-boat losses. And it corrects some of the gross errors, wild exaggerations, and deliberate distortions that filled the pages of Shadow Divers. The author interviewed a number of witnesses whose testimony contradicted the theatrical plot and boastful embellishments that formed the essential ingredients of Shadow Divers. Some of these witnesses actually performed the deeds for which the chosen protagonists of Shadow Divers were given credit. These witnesses disputed many of the fictitious elements that ran rampant through the pages of Shadow Divers. By means of forensic analyses of shipwreck collapse, torpedo mechanics, and U-boat survivors' accounts, the present volume explains why the U-869 could not have been sunk by a circular run of its own torpedo - as Shadow Divers had its uninformed readers believe.
Titanic s Last Secrets
After rewriting history with their discovery of a Nazi U-boat off the coast of New Jersey, legendary divers John Chatterton and Richie Kohler decided to investigate the great enduring mystery of history's most notorious shipwreck: Why did Titanic sink as quickly as it did? To answer the question, Chatterton and Kohler assemble a team of experts to explore Titanic, study its engineering, and dive to the wreck of its sister ship, Brittanic, where Titanic's last secrets may be revealed. Titanic's Last Secrets is a rollercoaster ride through the shipbuilding history, the transatlantic luxury liner business, and shipwreck forensics. Chatterton and Kohler weave their way through a labyrinth of clues to discover that Titanic was not the strong, heroic ship the world thought she was and that the men who built her covered up her flaws when disaster struck. If Titanic had remained afloat for just two hours longer than she did, more than two thousand people would have lived instead of died, and the myth of the great ship would be one of rescue instead of tragedy. Titanic's Last Secrets is the never-before-told story of the Ship of Dreams, a contemporary adventure that solves a historical mystery.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY CHICAGO TRIBUNE • A thrilling adventure of danger and deep-sea diving, historic mystery and suspense, by the author of Shadow Divers Finding and identifying a pirate ship is the hardest thing to do under the sea. But two men—John Chatterton and John Mattera—are willing to risk everything to find the Golden Fleece, the ship of the infamous pirate Joseph Bannister. At large during the Golden Age of Piracy in the seventeenth century, Bannister should have been immortalized in the lore of the sea—his exploits more notorious than Blackbeard’s, more daring than Kidd’s. But his story, and his ship, have been lost to time. If Chatterton and Mattera succeed, they will make history—it will be just the second time ever that a pirate ship has been discovered and positively identified. Soon, however, they realize that cutting-edge technology and a willingness to lose everything aren’t enough to track down Bannister’s ship. They must travel the globe in search of historic documents and accounts of the great pirate’s exploits, face down dangerous rivals, battle the tides of nations and governments and experts. But it’s only when they learn to think and act like pirates—like Bannister—that they become able to go where no pirate hunters have gone before. Fast-paced and filled with suspense, fascinating characters, history, and adventure, Pirate Hunters is an unputdownable story that goes deep to discover truths and souls long believed lost. Praise for Pirate Hunters “You won’t want to put [it] down.”—Los Angeles Times “An exceptional adventure . . . Highly recommended to readers who delight in adventure, suspense, and the thrill of discovering history at their fingertips.”—Library Journal (starred review) “A terrific read . . . The book gallops along at a blistering pace, shifting us deftly between the seventeenth century and the present day.”—Diver “Nonfiction with the trademarks of a novel: the plots and subplots, the tension and suspense . . . [Kurson has] found gold.”—The Dallas Morning News “Rollicking . . . a fascinating [story] about the world of pirates, piracy, and priceless treasures.”—The Boston Globe “[Kurson’s] narration is just as engrossing as the subject.”—The Christian Science Monitor “A wild ride [and an] extraordinary adventure . . . Kurson’s own enthusiasm, combined with his copious research and an eye for detail, makes for one of the most mind-blowing pirate stories of recent memory, one that even the staunchest landlubber will have a hard time putting down.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review) “The two contemporary pirate-ship seekers of Mr. Kurson’s narrative are as daring, intrepid, tough and talented as Blood and Sparrow—and Bannister. . . . As depicted by the author, they are real-life Hemingway heroes.”—The Wall Street Journal “[Kurson] takes his knowledge of the underwater world and applies it to the ‘Golden Age of Piracy’ . . . thrillingly detailing the highs and lows of chasing not just gold and silver but also history.”—Booklist “A great thriller full of tough guys and long odds . . . and: It’s all true.”—Lee Child From the Hardcover edition.
In his critically acclaimed bestseller Shadow Divers, Robert Kurson explored the depths of history, friendship, and compulsion. Now Kurson returns with another thrilling adventure–the stunning true story of one man’s heroic odyssey from blindness into sight. Mike May spent his life crashing through. Blinded at age three, he defied expectations by breaking world records in downhill speed skiing, joining the CIA, and becoming a successful inventor, entrepreneur, and family man. He had never yearned for vision. Then, in 1999, a chance encounter brought startling news: a revolutionary stem cell transplant surgery could restore May’s vision. It would allow him to drive, to read, to see his children’s faces. He began to contemplate an astonishing new world: Would music still sound the same? Would sex be different? Would he recognize himself in the mirror? Would his marriage survive? Would he still be Mike May? The procedure was filled with risks, some of them deadly, others beyond May’s wildest dreams. Even if the surgery worked, history was against him. Fewer than twenty cases were known worldwide in which a person gained vision after a lifetime of blindness. Each of those people suffered desperate consequences we can scarcely imagine. There were countless reasons for May to pass on vision. He could think of only a single reason to go forward. Whatever his decision, he knew it would change his life. Beautifully written and thrillingly told, Crashing Through is a journey of suspense, daring, romance, and insight into the mysteries of vision and the brain. Robert Kurson gives us a fascinating account of one man’s choice to explore what it means to see–and to truly live. From the Hardcover edition.
Where Divers Dare
In the tradition of Shadow Divers, this is the gripping true account of the search for German U-boat U-550, the last unfound, diveable wreck of a U-boat off the United States coast, and the battle in which it was sunk. On April 16, 1944, the SS Pan Pennsylvania was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-550 off the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts. In return the sub was driven to the surface with depth charges, and then sent to the bottom of the ocean by three destroyer escorts that were guarding the naval convoy. For more than sixty years the location of the U-boat’s wreck eluded divers. In 2012, a team found it—the last undiscovered U-boat in dive-able waters off the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, more than three hundred feet below the surface. This is the story of their twenty-year quest to find this "Holy Grail" of deep-sea diving and their tenacious efforts to dive on this treacherous wreck—and of the stunning clash at sea that sealed its doom and brought the Battle of the Atlantic to America’s doorstep. From the Hardcover edition.
The Last Dive
Chris and Chrissy Rouse, an experienced father-and-son scuba diving team, hoped to achieve widespread recognition for their outstanding but controversial diving skills. Obsessed and ambitious, they sought to solve the secrets of a mysterious, undocumented World War II German U-boat that lay under 230 feet of water, only a half-day's mission from New York Harbor. In doing so, they paid the ultimate price in their quest for fame. Bernie Chowdhury, himself an expert diver and a close friend of the Rouses', explores the thrill-seeking world of deep-sea diving, including its legendary figures, most celebrated triumphs, and gruesome tragedies. By examining the diver's psychology through the complex father-and-son dynamic, Chowdhury illuminates the extreme sport diver's push toward—and sometimes beyond—the limits of human endurance.
Diving Into Darkness
Traces the harrowing experiences of diving companions David Shaw and Don Shirley, whose 2005 underwater recovery endeavor in Africa's dangerous Bushman's Hole crater resulted in one of their deaths and the near escape of the other. 25,000 first printing.
Descent into Darkness
On December 7, 1941, as the great battleships Arizona, Oklahoma, and Utah lie paralyzed and burning in the aftermath of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a crack team of U.S. Navy salvage divers headed by Edward C. Raymer are hurriedly flown to Oahu from the mainland. The divers have been given a Herculean task: rescue the sailors and Marines trapped below, and resurrect the pride of the Pacific fleet. Now for the first time, the chief diver of the Pearl Harbor salvage operations, Cmdr. Edward C. Raymer, USN (Ret.), tells the whole story of the desperate attempts to save crewmembers caught inside their sinking ships. Descent into Darkness is the only book available that describes the raising and salvage operations of sunken battleships following the December 7th attack. Once Raymer and his crew of divers entered the interiors of the sunken shipwrecks—attempting untested and potentially deadly diving techniques—they experienced a world of total blackness, unable to see even the faceplates of their helmets. By memorizing the ships’ blueprints and using their sense of touch, the divers groped their way hundreds of feet inside the sunken vessels to make repairs and salvage vital war material. The divers learned how to cope with such unseen dangers as falling objects, sharks, the eerie presence of floating human bodies, and the constant threat of Japanese attacks from above. Though many of these divers were killed or seriously injured during the wartime salvage operations, on the whole they had great success performing what seemed to be impossible jobs. Among their credits, Raymer’s crew raised the sunken battleships USS West Virginia, USS Nevada, USS California, After Pearl Harbor they moved on to other crucial salvage work off Guadalcanal and the sites of other great sea battles.
Trapped Under the Sea
The harrowing story of five men who were sent into a dark, airless, miles-long tunnel, hundreds of feet below the ocean, to do a nearly impossible job—with deadly results A quarter-century ago, Boston had the dirtiest harbor in America. The city had been dumping sewage into it for generations, coating the seafloor with a layer of “black mayonnaise.” Fisheries collapsed, wildlife fled, and locals referred to floating tampon applicators as “beach whistles.” In the 1990s, work began on a state-of-the-art treatment plant and a 10-mile-long tunnel—its endpoint stretching farther from civilization than the earth’s deepest ocean trench—to carry waste out of the harbor. With this impressive feat of engineering, Boston was poised to show the country how to rebound from environmental ruin. But when bad decisions and clashing corporations endangered the project, a team of commercial divers was sent on a perilous mission to rescue the stymied cleanup effort. Five divers went in; not all of them came out alive. Drawing on hundreds of interviews and thousands of documents collected over five years of reporting, award-winning writer Neil Swidey takes us deep into the lives of the divers, engineers, politicians, lawyers, and investigators involved in the tragedy and its aftermath, creating a taut, action-packed narrative. The climax comes just after the hard-partying DJ Gillis and his friend Billy Juse trade assignments as they head into the tunnel, sentencing one of them to death. An intimate portrait of the wreckage left in the wake of lives lost, the book—which Dennis Lehane calls "extraordinary" and compares with The Perfect Storm—is also a morality tale. What is the true cost of these large-scale construction projects, as designers and builders, emboldened by new technology and pressured to address a growing population’s rapacious needs, push the limits of the possible? This is a story about human risk—how it is calculated, discounted, and transferred—and the institutional failures that can lead to catastrophe. Suspenseful yet humane, Trapped Under the Sea reminds us that behind every bridge, tower, and tunnel—behind the infrastructure that makes modern life possible—lies unsung bravery and extraordinary sacrifice. From the Hardcover edition.