Shadow Divers: the True Adventures of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of WWII (Nonfiction: Robert Kurson) c. 2004

Summary: Richie Kohler and John Chatterton had made deep wreck diving more than a hobby, and it often tested their endurance to the absolute limit. Not even these intrepid divers were prepared, however, for what they found in 1991, resting in 230 ft off the coast of New Jersey; the remains of an unidentified WWII German U-Boat. Over the course of 6 years, an elite team of divers, many of them rivals at the outset, would work with Kohler and Chatterton to explore the wreck, and give an identity to the nameless ship and forgotten crew.

Review: Kurson effortlessly weaves together history and research with the gripping exploits of the divers. The empathy shown for fallen combatants of what was then an enemy nation, honoring their service and sacrifice without condoning their role as part of the German war machine, is particularly well done. The divers personal lives can get a bit melodramatic, but that’s a small quibble. Overall, this is a gripping read for any fan of historical thrillers or thrilling history.

Read-a-likes: Fans of Kurson should check out the works of Erik Larson, particularly Devil in the White City but also In the Garden of Beasts. Clive Cussler, whose books routinely feature shipwrecks and salvage, is a natural fiction read-a-like, but other thriller authors such as Steve Berry, who features a strong historical element in his novels, should not be overlooked.

Availability: This title is available from the Lake Bluff Library as a book and an audiobook. Click here to check on the availability!

Review by Eric.

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