This incredible true adventure is one of my favorite Audible listens.
The diving scenes are tense, and I found myself holding my breath each time they dove to 230 feet to explore the boat. Searching the boat must be done with extreme care due to the depth, but also the danger of getting trapped inside where there is debri that could fall at the wrong touch. Added to the danger, they take care not to disturb the remains of the men who perished on the boat.
However, most of the story is above water, about two dedicated men who will not give up until they find out the mystery of the boat found off the coast of New Jersey. This takes them almost 7 years to wade through the red tape and brick walls that seem to interfere at every turn.
John Chatterton and Richie Kohler become almost obsessed with their quest to find out the name of the WW II U-Boat. It takes over their lives so completely that they both eventually lose their marriages.
Amazingly only three men in Chatterton's dive group lost their lives while attempting to get identification off the boat. In such deep waters, they could only stay down about 30 minutes per dive, or risk getting Narc'd -resulting in extreme confusion and bad decisions which could cause a rise too quickly to the surface. This is where the term "the bends" comes from- and is so painful that one of the men begs to be shot rather than endure it.
I really like the narrator as well. His voice didn't distract from the story, which almost is told like a documentary. Worth the credit.
What an extraordinary story. Interesting from the very beginning, this story will keep you listening far into the night. Danger around every corner, along with the breathtaking beauty of the Amazon.
Candice Millard has pulled together a very enjoyable book based on history, biography, adventure, and courage. I learned a lot about Theodore Roosevelt-he was one of those people who you may think of as "bigger than life" -quite a unique man.
Paul Michael deserves high praise as well- narrates the book to perfection.
I could see this novel being made into a movie---
The book is really an important history of the start of the whaling business in Nantucket, and an incledible story of perseverance by the men who undertook this profession (even though to do so meant they turned to eating each other.) True, most of them did not survive the ordeal after their boat was rammed by a Sperm Whale, and the few who did survive didn't really have great lives afterwards. Maybe there was a message to those men and others like them- to maybe think about what they were doing to these magnificent mammals of the ocean- killing them by the thousands for their bottom line- and diminishing their numbers forever in the future - never to be completely replaced. As is often the case, men kill not because they have to, but because they can, and usually against defeneless animals who want nothing more than to be left to themselves. In the end, the men got what they probably deserved.
A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
What I absolutely love about McPhee's nonfiction is his ability to write about place, people and ideas with both beautiful prose and amazing intimacy. My favorite parts are where McPhee weaves place and people, or people and ideas together and establishes the grand metaphor for his book. McPhee picks up pieces of conversation, and stray facts, from these amazing geologists and their satelites that might get missed by most other writers, but manages to find, keep and eventually place these nuggets into his book (written over 20 years) in a way that works to support his big themes.
Seriously, this book is one of my favorite nonfiction works of all time. You can see the mark McPhee left on his students' writing if you've ever read Robert Wright, Richard Preston or New Yorker editor David Remnick. Some consider (McPhee would flunk me for such vague, nonattributable writing I'm sure) McPhee to be the godfather of New New Journalism, but he is much more than that. IMHO, he is the godfather on modern nonfiction writing, period.
That being said, this is the last of the series, and the weakest piece of the book (and also the weakest piece of geology). So, if you are new to McPhee, or interested in listening to 'Annals of the Former World', this is the soft and permeable end. Start wtih 'Basin and Range' >next> 'In Suspect Terrain' >next> 'Rising from the Plains' >next> 'Assembling California' >next>'Crossing the Craton'.
Just beware Audible lists 'Crossing the Craton' as book 4, but it is really Book 5 because for whatever reason Book 4 ('Assembling California') has "separated" from main body of "Annals of the Former World'. California geology writing is just as mysterious as California's people and geology, I guess.