I read Diving Into Darkness probably faster than any other book I have read, not only because it was absolutely fascinating, but also extremely well written. The book is somewhat of a biography of David Shaw, one of the world’s best deep divers. At extreme depth there is very little room for error and the consequence of most mistakes is usually death, and this is what makes Diving Into Darkness so exciting. The book follows Shaw’s quick climb from a novice diver to an extreme cave diver, diving to nearly 900 feet in South Africa’s Bushman’s Hole. Diving at these extreme depths is insanely dangerous and when things go wrong they really go bad.
Phillip Finch did an excellent job of making Diving Into Darkness both flow well and very readable even for non-divers. There are a lot of technical details that are important for a reader to understand if the perilous nature of extreme depth is to be fully appreciated. Finch relates these details like a great teacher, giving just enough to make sense and delivering it in a very easy to understand way.
Often times I have a difficult time with books that don’t flow straight through chronologically and Diving Into Darkness is one that jumps around a bit. The way Finch handled this though was very well done, because it always made sense and flowed from one character to the next smoothly.
This is the third book I have read that is in the scuba diving sub-genre and I have decided that even though I do not dive I am totally hooked. The extreme level of skill, tiny margin of error, and tragic consequences make for an edge of your seat read.
Overall I absolutely loved Diving Into Darkness and would recommend it to anyone. It is easy to read, straight forward, and very exciting. There are portions that may only interest readers that want the details leading up to big dives, but these flow nicely into the more exciting portions of the book. I read through this book in three evenings and wished there was more.