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.
A well-researched story of a couple of deep-water divers and the mysterious U-boat they discovered. Very interesting insight into the culture of this crazy and dangerous lifestyle.
I’m only nitpicking now, but some parts veered too deep into backstories for me, and my interest waned at times.
As avid and longterm audio listener, I've literally listened to hundreds of books. I love history, and I am intrigued by diving, so this seemed like a good fit for me. I really had high hopes for this audio, but unfortunately, the narrator's voice grates on my nerves and I can't get through it. Even on double speed, his voice is slow and abrasive. I've tried to listen to this audio three times, and have finally given in. Instead, I'm moving through the paperback at much better pace. This is the first time I've ever had such an issue with narration that I haven't been able to finish an audio.
I was extremely excited when I saw how highly rated this book had been among Audbile listeners. It was among the highest rated books Ihave ever listened to and, having read it, I am a bit surprised.
The book was fascinating as I had absolutley no knowledge of ship-wreck scuba and the author did a great job of creating a solid understanding and actual feel for what it must be like to dive 200' and risk your life.
The problem with the book, especially the last third, is that it seemed to lack focus and pace as it went on and on.
I admit that I favor fictional mystery books which are great page turners. This book was not a page turner except for once or twice fast-forwarding the story as I was sure that I would miss nothing.
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 book is rated so highly I couldn't wait to hear it. In this case, the first 10 minutes set the tone for the whole book. Overly melodramatic, the writing is forced to give deep meaning where much less exists. The connections made of characters to their earlier formative life-experiences is grossly strained. The author gives a single minded purposefulness to the characters that is supposed to seem heroic and admirable, but mostly just makes them appear flat, thinly developed, and foolhardy. It is written glorifying a coarse male stereotype of swearing, drinking, being stubborn, crass, and taking risks. As a male, I found this emphasis insulting.
I did finish the book because the story of the extreme diving challenges of exploring and identifying this submarine was captivating. If the book was half its length, and without the strained (and seemingly highly filtered) character development, it could have been great.
The reader's voice is plain and his oratory dull. He uses a German accent for the German characters, but it just doesn't seem to fit right.
The reader destroys the experience of the book. He sounds more like an old fashioned radio announcer. The story is gripping but we couldn't get through more than a few hours of it before crying "Uncle"!!! Such a great story - such a shame...
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.