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Shadow Divers: Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of WWII | [Robert Kurson]

Shadow Divers: Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of WWII

In 1991, acting on a tip from a local fisherman, two scuba divers discovered a sunken German U-boat, complete with its crew of 60 men, not too far off the New Jersey coast. The divers, realizing the momentousness of their discovery, began probing the mystery. Over the next six years, they became expert and well-traveled researchers, taught themselves German, hunted for clues in Germany, and constructed theories corrective of the history books, all in an effort to identify this sunken U-boat and its crew.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why You Should Download This Audiobook: At the heart of this true story are two larger-than-life characters who risk everything to uncover the wreck of a WWII submarine. It is their relationship, friendship, and loyalty that make this more than just a fascinating account about the world of wreck diving. The narration by Michael Prichard is note-perfect: You actually forget that you are being read to, so you are free to experience this amazing story as though you are underwater with the divers and submariners.

Publisher's Summary

In 1991, acting on a tip from a local fisherman, two scuba divers discovered a sunken German U-boat, complete with its crew of 60 men, not too far off the New Jersey coast. The divers, realizing the momentousness of their discovery, began probing the mystery. Over the next six years, they became expert and well-traveled researchers, taught themselves German, hunted for clues in Germany, and constructed theories corrective of the history books, all in an effort to identify this sunken U-boat and its crew. During that time, three of their colleagues died exploring the wreck, including a father and son team. In 1997, when it all seemed in vain, the two divers came up with a final plan, so dangerous that the book ends with this last dive.

Listen to an interview with Robert Kurson on C-SPAN Booknotes from July 11, 2004.

©2004 Robert Kurson; (P)2004 Books on Tape

What the Critics Say

  • Alex Award Winner, 2005

"While Kurson doesn't stint on technical detail, lovers of any sort of adventure tale will certainly absorb the author's excellent characterizations, and particularly his balance in describing the combat arm of the Third Reich. Felicitous cooperation between author and subject rings through every page of this rare insightful action narrative." (Publishers Weekly)
"A fascinating look at the sometimes communal, sometimes bitterly competitive psychology of wreck-divers, weekend warriors in wet suits whose dangerous hobby is often an antidote to the frustrations of the workaday world." (Booklist)
"The story told in Robert Kurson's new book features undersea thrills, a gripping mystery, incredible discoveries, true-blue friendship, life-or-death crises and history unfolding....Written with great you-are-there intensity and dynamic verve." (The New York Times)
"From U-boat history to the mortal dangers of diving (disorientation is so common that you wonder only three men drowned on this quest), Kurson explains it all, even as he's spinning a fantastic yarn that happens to be true. All he leaves out are the boring parts." (Newsweek)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (2056 )
5 star
 (1304)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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4.6 (538 )
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3 star
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Story
4.4 (537 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Douglas mission viejo, CA, USA 07-03-04
    Douglas mission viejo, CA, USA 07-03-04 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    198
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    "GRIPPING!"

    IPOD plus headphones at 3 AM....I couldn't stop listening to this superb story of adventure, history, courage, tenacity....The author superbly weaves several tales together to create such a beautiful fabric of a story. This is one of the best, if not the best, of my many audible experiences. Please only get the unabridged version: I wouldn't miss a drop of this story.

    58 of 60 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike Evanston, IL, USA 07-07-04
    Mike Evanston, IL, USA 07-07-04 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    32
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    23
    2
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    "True Adventure Under the High Seas"

    A fascinating view into the world of what has to be the most extreme of extreme sports, deep wreck diving. Kurson conveys a treasure chest of historical and technical information, all wrapped in a gripping high-tension narrative. What is most fantastic is the fact that it?s true-every word.

    The story invites comparison to works such as ?The Perfect Storm? and ?Touching the Void?; but it transcends those works and others of the genre by allowing the story to stand on its own. Knudson conveys what drives these men through the sheer power of description and story. He doesn?t interject himself or attempt to process the information for us. His meticulous research and winning prose style render that unnecessary.
    Listeners will be treated to an education in wreck diving as well as a slice of history. The fear and excitement is palpable in every dive. This is a one of a kind story.

    26 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wendy Minneapolis, MN, USA 09-01-04
    Wendy Minneapolis, MN, USA 09-01-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    23
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    "An Excellent Read!"

    As a listener to fiction, (and mostly mystery) I hesitated to download Shadow Divers. However, I had heard an interview with the author on NPR and the book seemed so compelling, I had to go for it. I wasn't disappointed! The book is filled with mystery and adventure and the interview with the two main divers at the end was unexpected and fantastic.

    23 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JOHN Plantation, FL, United States 01-09-05
    JOHN Plantation, FL, United States 01-09-05 Member Since 2003

    Audible Member Since 2003

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    66
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    Overall
    "As exciting as the best fiction adventure novel."

    I was surprised that this book does actually live up to the praise of the listeners? reviews. Besides being a fascinating treatise on the ultra-dangerous sport of deep wreck diving, this true story reads like fiction. Extremely well researched and organized, Kurson introduces and describes each real-life person so that the reader/listener knows and identifies with him personally, each sharing a strong connection to either the love of wreck diving, or the mystery of the phantom U-boat.

    The book is rich with detail that aptly serves to explain the myriad complexities and inherent dangers of deep water diving. For the first time in my life, I finally understand the physiology of ?decompression? and why it is vitally mandatory for any diver to complete before surfacing. The descriptions of that diving affliction known as ?the bends? makes one appreciate just one of the myriad ways a person can perish exploring the deep.

    The human side of each character is developed, so that one can understand that the participants are all just everyday real people, complete with all of the foibles and frailties that each of us possess. This added to fullness of the story and helped bring it to life for me.

    Very engaging and highly recommended for lovers of fiction, non-fiction, history, adventure or mystery.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael The Colony, TX, USA 12-01-04
    Michael The Colony, TX, USA 12-01-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Unbelievably Riveting"

    I couldn't stop listening to this book. I stayed up late listening until I was a zombie at work. The narrator is perfect for the material & the material is facinating & emotionally gripping. There is a section after the epilogue where the author details his sources. Be sure to listen after that for an interview with Chatterton and Kohler conducted by the author after the print version of the book was published.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brenda S. Barton 09-03-04 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    "Wow! Enter a world most will never experience"

    I am not a diver and not necessarily a World War II buff, but I loved this book. The compelling human way in which this mystery is presented is truly a feast for those of us addicted to character development, the unfamiliar, and suspense. This story takes the listener to another time when the world was at war and another place at the bottom of the ocean where life and death are one. Along the way, it teaches us a little bit about who we are.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melodie Greensboro, NC, United States 10-18-04
    Melodie Greensboro, NC, United States 10-18-04 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fascinating!"

    I am not usually a non-fiction reader, but picked this up last month based on reviews. I cannot say enough great things about it. It was well written, well narrated, and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the whole listen. I highly recommend this book. I found myself hurrying home in the evenings to listen to the next chapter! I hated for it to come to an end. Listen to this book!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Randy Ramona, CA, USA 04-16-09
    Randy Ramona, CA, USA 04-16-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Absolutely a great book"

    If you like nautical history this is a great book for you. I am not a diver and was pleased to get such a great education on diving from this book as well as a lesson on the history surounding the events. 6 stars would be more appropriate. Other that I personally know that listened to or read this book share my opinion of "amazing".

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Littlestown, PA, USA 03-19-09
    Michael Littlestown, PA, USA 03-19-09
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    "Very exciting"

    Great listening. Never a dull moment. Lot's of very interesting U Boat history. Also a great insight into the skills of deep water diving. This is one of my favorites. The narrator does a perfect job.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paulette CA, United States 04-24-08
    Paulette CA, United States 04-24-08 Member Since 2004

    Always a reader, now a listener as well!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Compelling, Fantastic Story!"

    Wow, what a ride! Truth is way more interesting, and this has it all; Flawed people with the right skills, doing the right thing, for history and family. I would have never picked it for such a supreme listen, but it ranks up there with those that you never want to finish....the story, narration and prose....a perfect storm, that you will listen again and again...don't even think about it...hit the 'buy' button!!!!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
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