Shadow Diversbook77
by Robert Kurson
375 pages, $26.95
Random House Press, copyright 2004

by Sev Pearman

If you have ever had to pull your front brake deeper, in a desperate attempt to scrub off more speed because you entered the corner too hot, you will enjoy Shadow Divers. This is the true story of how two amateur shipwreck divers stumble upon an unknown wreck 60 miles off the New Jersey shore. The pair combat the dangers of diving a wreck that can shred their scuba gear in a thousand ways, extreme cold, and the loss of four of their companions in their quest to identify a mystery submarine.

You MMM readers are very much alive. You know how to “live in the moment.” Riding forces you to constantly examine your road, your path and yourself as you experience all that your ride has to offer. It is this appreciation that makes us relish true accounts like Into Thin Air, The Perfect Storm and Ron Ayers’ account of riding the 10,000 mile Iron Butt, Against the Wind.

Divers John Chatterton and Richie Kohler were among the world’s best deep wreck divers when the U-boat was discovered in 230 feet of water in 1991. Subsequent dives fail to find any markings on her shattered hull. It was only after the recovery of china marked with the Nazi eagle and swastika and 1942 that they were certain of what they had found. Which U-boat was this? Why was it here? What caused it to go down?

Even more perplexing, neither the US nor German navies believed the divers. Neither had any evidence of U-boat activity that close to New YorkHarbor. Interviews with surviving U-boat captains and experts were equally discouraging. Seven years of research all pointed to the conclusion that Chatterton and Kohler simply must be mistaken. If so, then what kind of sub was she? How did she get there? And how to explain the china and other identifying artifacts that were retrieved?

Like all great non-fiction, Robert Kurson’s Shadow Divers seems impossible to be true, but it is. The U-869 lies only 60 miles off the New   Jersey shore; both sailors and divers perished and it took over seven years of deadly diving and research to reveal her identity. MMM awards Shadow Divers four out-of-four cylinders.

Verdict:
Book Shy—True mystery of U-boats, wreck diving and death. This is living history.

“Where are the bikes?”—Packs the same energy you feel when you are riding.

High-Miler—Reads like Ayers’ Against the Wind. You are brought 230 ft. underwater beside these divers.

MMM would like to thank Amanda O. for bringing this book to our attention.

Sev Pearman and MMM welcome your comments and book recommendations. Send e-mail to mnmc@comcast.net Please put “Book Review” in the subject line.

M.M.M.

 

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