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Publisher's Summary

Chris and Chrissy Rouse, an experienced father-and-son scuba diving team, hoped to achieve widespread recognition for their outstanding but controversial diving skills. Obsessed and ambitious, they sought to solve the secrets of a mysterious, undocumented World War II German U-boat that lay under 230 feet of water, only a half day's mission from New York Harbor. In doing so they paid the ultimate price in their quest for fame.

Bernie Chowdhury, himself an expert diver and a close friend of the Rouses, explores the thrill-seeking world of deep-sea diving, including its legendary figures, most celebrated triumphs, and gruesome tragedies. By examining the diver's psychology through the complex father-and-son dynamic, Chowdhury illuminates the extreme sport diver's push toward - and sometimes beyond - the limits of human endurance.

©2000 Bernie Chowdhury (P)2003 Recorded Books, LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Misleading title

I enjoyed this book, but it has much content unrelated to the Rouses' deaths or even their life. The author frequently writes of himself, which can still be interesting. There is a factual disagreement with Shadow Divers about whom to evacuate by Coast Guard helicopter. Not sure which book to trust.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Who's Last Dive

This book seem to be more about the author and his embellished accomplishments then the Rouses. His speculation on what they did on their last dive was almost comical seeing his wasn't even there. Hearing the narrator take deep breaths at every sentence made this a painful book to listen to.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

The Dive Parts Are Good

The diving portions of the book are very good. The author spends too much time with the psychology and sociology aspects of diving and the books starts to bog down. Seems like he was going out of his way to promote Dr Hunt for some reason. You can see how the author also got caught up with how the deep diving and artifact collecting would define him. THe narrators emphasis on non English pronunciations was a bit distracting.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

This book is terrible

The story of the Rouses is probably an interesting one, but it could have been done in about 1/2 the number of chapters actually included. An unforgivable number of unrelated sentences made this a difficult book to get through.

The amount of repetition drove me insane. Some sub-stories were repeated 2 or 3 times. Explanations of equipment use and features - 5 or more repeats.

The author either has amnesia or Alzheimer’s and the editor needs to be fired.

I found myself continuing to listen only to hear about “the last dive” which turned out to a single paragraph. You would think that would be close to the end, requiring only an epilogue. No, this author needed 4 more hours of unrelated stories before he could put hi pen down.

If you want another viewpoint of this story with a much better presentation, listen to Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fascinating and educational, albeit a bit too long

Would you consider the audio edition of The Last Dive to be better than the print version?

Considering how much specific material is covered in The Last Dive, I'd definitely suggest going with listening to the audiobook instead, as it can definitely feel exhausting to read about all the technicalities related to diving if it's not a sport you do yourself. Just make sure the narrator's breathing doesn't get on your nerves.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Last Dive?

To me, the book became the most engaging in Chapter 7: Triple Vision and Chapter 8: Voice From The Deep, as the writer describes in excruciating detail what it's like to have decompression sickness, and what kind of thoughts someone has during and right after an experience like that.

Did L. J. Ganser do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

L. J. Ganser's performance was fine for the material. He manages to make the moments that matter compelling enough to draw you in, and does a good job clearly pronouncing the diver-terminology-heavy sentences that are spread throughout the book.
I didn't get bothered by the heavy breathing that some other listeners complained about, and it actually might have added to the atmosphere to me, making me feel like I was right there with the divers at the crushing underwater depths.
However, I do feel L. J. Ganser struggles to create proper individualistic characters, even with the core characters of the book, which is a problem when two of the major names - father and son, Chris and Chrissy - are so similar.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It's definitely not a book I would want to listen to all in one sitting. It might be because it's rather packed with its nearly 17 hour runtime, but even if it were shorter, the material feels too repetitive to sit through in one go. Characters dive again and again, often dealing with problems underwater, and sometimes face the aftermath.
This loop of similar feeling dives brings the pacing to a grinding halt somewhere 1/3 in the book when the writer has laid out all the unsettling problems that occur in the deep sea that affect the decision making of a diver, like the martini law and artifact fever. At that point there's not much new material to be educated about, and so the dives start to feel a bit too similar for a couple chapters.
It's even more jarring right after the eulogy of the father and son - what felt like should've been the end. We continue to follow some of the other divers facing more potential problems, and only after another hour there is an end-goal in sight, when some of the divers become obsessed with finding the identity of the German U-boat that the father and son have died to find. It's definitely a "pick up for a chapter every once in a while" kind of audiobook.

Any additional comments?

What (pleasantly) surprised me most about Bernie Chowdhury's The Last Dive, is that despite the Father-Son dynamic of Chris and Chrissy Rouse clearly being the focus of the book, the story of what happens to this duo takes a back seat halfway to give way to the general dangers of decision-making at great depths. It becomes about the psychology of risk-takers, and how a single wrong act of judgement could be the last dive for us all.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Very Good Book!

Loved every paragraph of every chapter. The author writes about somewhat technical details of sport diving in ways that explain while capturing attention.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great story destroyed by a heavy breather

A great review and story of people and their willingness to encounter fear and the potentially fatal. Made me do some self reflection. Great read.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

must read for divers

Excellent book about diving and the tragedy of Chris and Chrissy. This book explains the dangers of deep wreck diving and the history of the sport.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Well Written and Engaging

Very engaging--I never lost interest. Thorough --if you like adventure stories you will like this and learn a lot about diving. Narration was ok but you could hear him taking deep breaths before reading which was kind of weird. I highly recommend this book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Story.

This book does a great history of the family and the kind of decision making that ended, ultimately, in tragedy.

Especially recommended for divers but not exclusively.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Wade
  • 01-11-18

Detailed and tragic

As a professional diver it was interesting the Heat the recent roots of of hobby even if bedded in the deaths of others.