I wanted to do this revu earlier , but got busy helping a new Author get her book out there. Please forgive the lapse as this book is definitely part of my 2018 “Summer of Reading”, like never in recent memory! (smile)
By the time I returned “Hitmen” to my local library, I was already curious about Kurson’s previous book, “Shadow Divers”, which was mentioned in every promotional note I read for his latest work. I know this book has been reviewed – it isn’t on the “new” list and it was published in 2004 – I just want to share it with you, a fan or one of the curious about my blog because it became part of my summer 2018 reading list.
At first, I dismissed it as another boring “fish story” about scuba diving, but boy was I wrong! This book is a great historical narrative of non-fiction which is SO to the point that I had to let you know about the story as this milestone summer wanes.

This volume has elements of suspense, drama, mystery, education and science.
Its about men who dive deepest sunken shipwrecks like the Andrea Doria for sport, coming across an object very near to New York harbor, which they identify as a German U-boat submarine, and their quest to precisely identify it because previous history had no record of such a vessel in those waters so close to our east coast!

As with “Hitmen”, Kurson lays the groundwork of the story, then biographies each character, alternating between perspective, action, more history and biographical perspective which includes their love lives. He teaches us while describing this unique saga of connecting personalities and wartime “dots” to identify this object at the bottom of the sea, not far from the New Jersey coast and New York City. He names the book during chapter 2 at the bottom of page 33.

“Shadow Divers” is a most amazing story that I thought I would never read. These men dive for “sport” so much deeper than Lloyd Brides ever did on one of my boyhood favorite television shows, “Sea Hunt”, which is the first place I ever heard about “the bends”, an affliction caused by the chemistry of nitrogen and oxygen in our blood and returning to the surface of the ocean too fast. You will read and experience the profound, dangerous excitement of the mix of air they breathe underwater and the discovery by these sportsmen to the point that it is so scary, that it catapults you to read-on!

One of the most moving parts of the book is his recounting of the father and son divers, the Rouses, who joined many other divers on Bill Nagel’s Seeker to attempt to recover artifacts and identify the “U-Who”.
“The Seeker rose and fell with nature’s onrushing tantrum, each explosion against the ocean threatening to catapult the divers overboard and crush Chrissy under the stern.” (pg. 218)

In my schooling, the Pacific theater of WWII was taught as a more important battleground than the Atlantic resistance. Yet, throughout this book and feeling the investigative bravery, persistence and fortitude of these divers, I learned that Hitler launched many of these demon submarines and was upon our biggest east coat city’s doorstep. Oh wow! This is true and these few men men saw it through! If a book can be describes as a “nail-biter”, then this is one of them – right until the chapter where Chatterton and Kohler’s rehearsals bear fruit. Even our recently departed and beloved United States Senator and war veteran, John McCain contributed to the back cover liner note endorsements of “Shadow Divers”!

Reading this book brought another one of my favorite underwater dive movies to mind, 1977’s “The Deep” with the great dance beat soundtrack theme by the late Donna Summer and sexy underwater underwear scene with Jacqueline Bisset. Whoa! That shipwreck was only in 70 feet of water, however. Let’s listen to that theme, which I appropriately apply (and it was a great dance music hit during the those days!) below.

If I were you, I would quickly add this book to my library. I actually read it twice and my rating is still five-out-of-five depth charges!

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