Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II

Written by:
Robert Kurson
Narrated by:
Campbell Scott

Abridged Audiobook

Release Date
June 2004
6 hours 30 minutes
New York Times Bestseller 

In the tradition of Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air and Sebastian Junger’s The Perfect Storm comes a true tale of riveting adventure in which two weekend scuba divers risk everything to solve a great historical mystery–and make history themselves.

For John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, deep wreck diving was more than a sport. Testing themselves against treacherous currents, braving depths that induced hallucinatory effects, navigating through wreckage as perilous as a minefield, they pushed themselves to their limits and beyond, brushing against death more than once in the rusting hulks of sunken ships.
But in the fall of 1991, not even these courageous divers were prepared for what they found 230 feet below the surface, in the frigid Atlantic waters sixty miles off the coast of New Jersey: a World War II German U-boat, its ruined interior a macabre wasteland of twisted metal, tangled wires, and human bones–all buried under decades of accumulated sediment.
No identifying marks were visible on the submarine or the few artifacts brought to the surface. No historian, expert, or government had a clue as to which U-boat the men had found. In fact, the official records all agreed that there simply could not be a sunken U-boat and crew at that location.

Over the next six years, an elite team of divers embarked on a quest to solve the mystery. Some of them would not live to see its end. Chatterton and Kohler, at first bitter rivals, would be drawn into a friendship that deepened to an almost mystical sense of brotherhood with each other and with the drowned U-boat sailors–former enemies of their country. As the men’s marriages frayed under the pressure of a shared obsession, their dives grew more daring, and each realized that he was hunting more than the identities of a lost U-boat and its nameless crew.

Author Robert Kurson’s account of this quest is at once thrilling and emotionally complex, and it is written with a vivid sense of what divers actually experience when they meet the dangers of the ocean’s underworld. The story of Shadow Divers often seems too amazing to be true, but it all happened, two hundred thirty feet down, in the deep blue sea.
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Nathan S.

Great read that keeps you coming back for more.

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Adam Geisler

I get that he was trying to capture the flavor of real people who really were characters, but I think the F word outnumbered any other "descriptive" word. Would've been great without it.

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Samantha A.

As a fellow diver, I really enjoyed this book! It made me further appreciate deep divers and wreck divers alike. Very interesting. Kept you hooked until the end!

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Gregg Gauger

you won't regret spending time with this one -- the story will stay in your mind

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This is a story of serious, dangerous adventure. Courage and the spirit of adventure are alive and well in at least a few of us. I think James Weddell, Theodore Roosevelt, Amelia Earhart, and Admiral Byrd were looking down from heaven and smiling as these men discovered and researched the wreck of an old war machine. We benefit from a well-written documentary that is expertly narrated on this recorded book.

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Liz B

I don't read a lot of nonfiction, so it has to be pretty good for me to get all the way through it. This audiobook definitely held my interest all the way through; not only is it interesting from a historical perspective, the writer does a nice job fleshing out the "characters" so that I really connected with them and understood WHY they were doing what they did.

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Outstanding! This book was thrilling to listen to.

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This book was better than I thought it would be. There was some back and forth going from past to present but fairly easy to follow with a minimal of characters. I found myself pulling into the garage and sitting there still listening to the book not wanting to turn it off!

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A truly remarkable book that is masterfully read by Campbell Scott! This story is an amazing real life adventure involving history, its recordation, our need to know the truth and to honor those who lived it. I simply could not recommend this book more.

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John C Hagan MD

This book is a masterpiece and compares with any of the great true life thrillers (Into Thing Air, The Perfect Storm). It is so engrossing that I sat in the garage for a hour before I found a point where I could leave the narrative and go into the house. This book was recommended to me by a physician that is a voracious reader. He told me that he had over 10 friends that called him to thank him for his enthusiastic recommendation. I am making the same enthusiastic endorsement to you.

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Tom Watrous

Of all the cd's I have listened to in the last several years, this is the best. What an amazing story. Fast paced, well read....a fantastic and dangerous adventure. Wreck divers seem to have the same drive that leads others to climb Mt. Everest....and it's just as dangerous. I can't say enough good things about this book.

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I typically lean more toward fiction but decided to rent this book since it was rated so favorably. I'm glad I did. The narrator did a fantastic job and their story was mesmerizing. I really enjoyed the interview with John Chatterton and Richie Kohler at the end of the book.

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This is a great story and I liked the interview with the key divers at the end of the story. This reminded of the stories I devoured as a kid. I have always been fascinated with shipwrecks. When I was younger I dove on some wrecks from WWII in the South Pacific. It was great fun but also a great learning adventure as we had to learn all about that ship.

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Frank Morris

Very well done. Renewed my faith in folks who dive and are willing to respect the location for what it is - a military gravesite. Do not pull the last CD when the narrative concludes. Interviews at the end of that CD are nearly as good as the entire story.

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If you listen to "Shadow Divers" in the car, have the good sense to pull over to the side of the road when you get to certain parts of the story. Do not start driving again until your heart rate and pulse go back to normal and you can concentrate on the road ahead. It is a great story no matter what your preferences, your age, or your sex.

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This was an excellent book that kept my interest all the way through. If you are a bit of a World War two history buff you will love this book. If not, it's still a great story.

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Casey Braffet

This story and audiobook are incredible. This was the story that got me into audiobooks a year ago and it was so good I got it again. The story is amazing and narration is top notch. This one had me going to my car during my lunchbreaks to see what happened next. Probably the best audiobook I have heard so far. And it is a true story. OUTSTANDING!

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Rusty Swartz

Outstanding story with excellent narrative. We hated for the audio to end.

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Louise Ferguson

Absolutely outstanding. Robert Kurson's vivid story telling makes you feel as if you are right there with the men on their dives. I throughly every minute of it. I recommend this story to anyone who loves a deep sea adventure, salvage and mystery.

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what a great story!! This book is riveting, it draws you into the mystery. You don't have to love history, submarines, WW2 U-boats, or diving. Just enjoy the story.

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Nathan Baker

riveting story. you are drawn into the story and learn about diving and some history. it is for anyone with a sense of history and adventure.

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Jessica Campbell-Smith

Great book! Even if you have no interest in deep wreck diving or WWII U-boats, this story is well written and well read and you'll care for the people involved just the same. But if you do have an interest, this is a must read.

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This was an outstanding story. Having spent time in the Navy on a submarine made it all the better for me. Highly recommended!

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This was an absolutely outstanding CD. Whether you like fiction or non-fiction you will love this. It reads like fiction and you are riveted even when you know how it will end. It was a touching and emotional story that I was sorry to see end. If you like books by Jon Krakauer (Into Thin Air, Under the Banner of Heaven, etc) I would highly recommend this. The narrator did a great job!

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I do not usually listen to non-fiction books. I am a fiction book reader. However, since I'm only renting books and not forking over $25 each for them now, I took a chance on a new type of reading. I was swept away, not only by the heart stopping story but also because of the reader, Campbell Scott. This is a true adventure story! I didn't want to get out of the car. It is so hard to believe this story is true! I cannot recommend this book more strongly. I liked getting to know the divers and what they were thinking and feeling. If you like adventure, daring, and mystery then this book is for you!

Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II
This title is due for release on June 29, 2004.

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This title is due for release on June 29, 2004
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Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II
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Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II

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