Shadow Divers is a combination of mystery, adventure, scuba diving, and history that works really well. Off the New Jersey coast, deep under the ocean’s surface, lies a German U-Boat with no identifying marks and no mention in wartime history. A team of expert technical divers sets out to discover what U-boat it is and how it sank so close to America’s shores. What starts as a seemingly simple and exciting project, turns into an obsessive mystery filled with danger.
The wreck was at around 230 feet under, which is at such an extreme that only specialized technical divers have the training to undergo such a dive. Kurson relates all the problems that arise when diving at depth as well as the tragic consequences that can occur when things go wrong. His style of writing is very good and really makes for some tense reading during the underwater portions of the book. The pressure, stress, and excitement of diving to such depths are really brought out in Kurson’s descriptions.
While the diving is what made the book excellent, the history and detective work is not just page filler. The book spans a seven year period that covers many dives and a lot of research by Richie Kohler and John Chatterton. Kurson does an excellent job of relaying this type of information and getting the reader right into the middle of the mystery. As I read Shadow Divers I wanted to know so bad what was going to happen next that I truly could not put the book down. It is probably one of the fastest reads I have ever had.
Shadow Divers and The Last Dive make excellent compliments to each other. The former is a less technical detail oriented book, so it would be an easier read for those that aren’t familiar with scuba diving.
Overall I highly recommend Shadow Divers to anyone in pursuit of a good non-fiction book. It is filled with action, tension, and mystery.
Side Note: There is a feature length film planned, but no release date has been attached to it. In the meantime there is an excellent documentary from Nova called “Hitler's Lost Sub
,” that tells the same story and has actual footage from some of the dives. A must own for fans of the Shadow Divers book.