Regular price: $21.27

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

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, 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 60 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 that Chatterton and Kohler 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. Chatterton and Kohler, at first bitter rivals, would be drawn into a friendship that deepened to an almost mystical bond of brotherhood. 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. The story of Shadow Divers often seems too amazing to be true, but it all happened, 230 feet down, in the deep blue sea.

Listen to an interview with Robert Kurson on C-SPAN Booknotes from July 11, 2004.
©2004 Robert Kurson; (P)2004 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

  • 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 Ratings


  • 4.5 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
  • 4 Stars
  • 3 Stars
  • 2 Stars
  • 1 Stars


  • 4.5 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
  • 4 Stars
  • 3 Stars
  • 2 Stars
  • 1 Stars


  • 4.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
  • 4 Stars
  • 3 Stars
  • 2 Stars
  • 1 Stars
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Ella
  • toronto,, Ontario, Canada
  • 01-06-09

Who Knew This Book Would Interest Me At All?

I only downloaded this book because it got such amazing ratings. I am not interested in scuba diving, in boats, in submarines or in WWII, but I was intrigued by the ratings. Boy, am I glad I didn't miss this one! What an incredible story, and it is non-fiction to boot! The story is fascinating, the men on the diving mission are fearless beyond belief and the history they uncover is staggering. I only listened to the abridged version because the unabridged was 2 credits and I was not sure this book was going to be my cup of tea.

Robert Kurson does an outstanding job of relaying the story of the divers, their triumphs, their losses and their impossible journey of discovery.

I have continued to do some of my own research on this WWII U-boat and it's crew thanks to the website of Richard Kohler Jr. who along with his diving mate John Chatterton, whose drive for the answers almost cost him his life, were able to bring this bit of history back to life. Congratulations!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Michael
  • The Woodlands, TX, USA
  • 02-02-05

Couldn?t turn it off !!!

Although I?ve listed to enjoyed dozens of audio books, this is the first book that has inspired me to take the time to write a review. My wife and I have been listening to audio books for years now and Shadow Divers is without doubt the best audio book we?ve ever listened to. It's simply a GREAT STORY (and extremely well narrated by the way) that keeps you interested from start to finish. You don?t have to be young or old, male or female, or a diver to find the story interesting. I strongly advise that you purchase the unabridged version so you don?t miss a thing. I found myself listening way after my normal bed time because I got so engrossed in the story. Shadow Divers may cause you to loose some sleep but I think you'll find it worth it.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Richard
  • Swampscott, MA, USA
  • 09-27-05

A wonderful book!

I usally approach non-fiction books as an informational read, a learning experience no matter how boring. On this I was intrigued by some of the rave reviews so I took a chance.

It turned out to be a exciting, can't put down book. It was a learning experience about the exciting and different and dangerous word of deep sea wreck divers that I was unaware of. If that sounds like "who cares!" I guarantee you will find it most intriging. Their adventure in finding the boat and indentifying it was like a mystery.

For you WWII buffs it brought you through the experience of what it was like to go on a UBoat mission in the waning days of WWI when they knew there was an 80% chance of never returning and how that involved their families.

This was so unusual, it evolved into a program shown on NOVA and is in the process of becoming a movie. I sent for the DVD on and am waiting for the movie.

The story just rolls along and one I hated to see end. Itis read by Michael Pritchard, my favorite reader from my Books on Tape Days

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Mark
  • San barba, CA, USA
  • 06-17-05

Gripping to the very end

An excellent and engaging tale of true resolve, bravery and dedication. The main characters lead in a little know field and push the limits in every way taking risks that are hard to believe. This book is worth every minute.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Could not stop listening

Incredible adventure that expertly connects decades old and more recent historical events. Character development was excellent as it gave you insight into the various emotions driving the expedition. Detail was just right without getting too much into the technical aspects of diving. Highly recommend even if you are not interested in the world of diving.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Valerie
  • Arlington Heights, IL, USA
  • 03-13-07

Very engaging

Once I started listening - I had a hard time stopping to get out of the car. The experiences these divers went through was great to hear about. If you are a diver or just interested in hearing about a wreck divers experiences and the oportunity to find an unidentified sub, I think you will really enjoy this adventure.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Terri
  • Denver, CO, USA
  • 08-17-05

Shadow Divers Was Great!

I was a little hesitant to listen to this book since I have never been interested in WWII and German U boats. I am a recreational diver and this is why I decided to purchase it. I was happily surprised with this one. I enjoyed all aspects of the book and even learned something about WWII, WITHOUT any pain! It was beautifully written and narated very well. There were a few 4 letter words, but otherwise it was a clean book:something I always appreciate. I definitely recommend it to anyone interested in diving, WWII and German history.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Slow Start

I really did enjoy this book, once I got into it. The first few chapters spend too much time explaining or should I say glorifying deep wreck diving. Not until about Chapter 5 or 6 did the story really get on track, but once it did I was hooked. It will, however, give you good bit of knowledge about diving if you don't already have it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

shadow divers

great book. It is amazing to think it all really happened. A very interesting look into diving and U-boats.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story


An enlightening and riveting story of what some good ol boys did and still do, to write a small piece of history.