This book will hold your attention from the opening paragraph to the final author interview. If you dive, you can well imagine yourself decending into the cold water of the north Atlantic. The characters come to life and the author does a good job of describing both the modern day wreck diver and the life of a U-boat sailor.
[Ship]wreck diving is not for the faint of heart and this book expertly captures that frighting, fascinating world and those who are drawn to (obsessed by?) it.
John Chatterton and his diving enemy-turned-partner, Richie Kohler, dive a sunken WWII German U-boat (dubbed the "U-Who" until they finally ID it) off the New Jersey coast. Through 3 dive crew deaths (!), two failed marriages, and numerous harrowing, narrow escapes they relentlessly go back to the mystery sub for several YEARS looking for evidence from which to identify the vessel. Soon they are caught up in the real world of historians, artifacts, documents and oral accounts to ultimately to prove the WWII records wrong and correctly identify the sub.
Kohler, in particular, feels compelled to uncover the story of the German sailors who (all) died when the ship sank and his personalization of their WWII lives is moving. (As long as you don't think too much about the fact they were killing Americans.)
As Chatterton and Kohler get closer and closer (over several years) to identifying the sub, the suspense builds. It climaxes on the last dive during which Chatterton (250 feet underwater) nearly dies twice. Gripping stuff.
My only complaint: the author dwells a bit too long on the "mystical" or philosophical angle to this hunt. However, he did have a good quote from Chatterton: "Excellence is born of preparation, dedication, focus, and tenacity," a prescription Chatterton followed religiously in his pursuit of wreck diving excellence.
... but you'll never get me to voluntarily experience narcosis at 200 ft.
Criminal defense Lawyer in Las Vegas, Nevada. Read mostly non-fiction.....history, science, military biography. My quirky side likes Zombie Books? Will also pick up a fiction bestseller once in a while. Favorite movie: Being There
I found myself taking special trips in my car to finish this book! The best book I have downloaded so far. From the technical detail of deep wreck diving to the history of U-Boats and their crews, this book is first rate. The best compliment I can give the book is that it will be required reading for both my teenage sons.
Overly long in the dull parts, too short in the exciting parts. Repetitive. Why a writer can't trust a reader to remember the salient details in a characterization or narrative for more than a page or two is a mystery deeper than any sunken vessel.
One suggestion: A site where Audible subscribers can go to see the images published in the print editions of the books we download. This would have been of tremendous help with this tome, I think.
This was a sluggish account of ordinary guys diving a wreck. I was excited by all the good reviews but really disappointed by the book. The key characters, manly men existing, in this book anyway, in a world devoid of women, drink and go on expensive pleasure wreck diving trips. The goal of this obsessive and dangerous hobby is to both explore and plunder sunken ships. We are supposed to be carried along on an exciting journey of transformation as these manly men discover a sunken submarine (though, the location was given to them by a fisherman), dive it, research it (the idea of going to the library and into the archives is presented as almost as exotic as the dive itself), read some history (and sadly, we are forced to sit through a "docu-drama" about the german crew of the submarine) and ultimately find that diving isn't just about grabbing all the plates you can from the wrecks. Its about, you know, people, and history. And, doing research is hard, and sources can be contradictory. Um, yeah. I felt like I was reading about college freshmen doing a research paper. Its a cool story, but would have been better as a 10-page Vanity Fair article. Stretching it out to a full-length book just didn't work.
I enjoyed the book. It is quite an adventure, and had me on the edge of my driver's seat and doing the cliche "waiting-in-the-garage" listening. Robert Kurson did a great job.
The whole thing, however, has a hollowness and selfishness to it. These guys put themselves ahead of their families and all else for the sake of their hobby. I guess it's not that much different than those who climb Everest, but this deep wreck diving story just doesn't have the same feel as "Into Thin Air". I don't consider these fellows heroes in any sense of the word, even though they were in extremely dangerous situations.
I enjoyed Prichard's reading.
This is a simply fabulous book whether you're into diving or not. A remarkable story, remarkable divers, well researched and well told - I often found myself holding my breath. Watching the video documentary added another dimension but I'm so glad I had read the book first. Thankyou Bill, John and Ritchie (et al) for your effort - and Robert for telling their story.