By Robert Kurson

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

This nonfiction telling of deep sea diving was thrilling, to say the least.

I have to admit, when I started it, I was a bit skeptical.  Nonfiction isn’t really my thing, and I had to read this for an AP Enviro class I was taking (I ended up dropping it, but that’s okay because it was worth it to read this).  Nonetheless, I dove in (no pun intended) and tried to keep an open mind.

The book is about deep sea shipwreck diving in the Atlantic Ocean which, for those of you that do not know, is exactly what it sounds like.  People dive hundreds of feet underwater to investigate shipwrecks.  This “hobby” has claimed many, many lives, and in 1991, the year where the book takes place, it was at its most dangerous, mostly due to the fact that people were diving deeper than ever with the most basic equipment in an attempt to get a thrill.

The book follows the lives of two men when they come across a shipwreck that nobody has ever seen before.  This is a rare thing in and of itself, and the situation surrounding it makes it even more complicated.  The men– Kohler and Chatterton– are at first bitter rivals, and this is as much a story of their relationship as it is about deep water diving, and WWII.

The only reason which this book is not receiving 5 stars is that there were two very long chapters giving background on the two main characters, which I found frustrating because I wanted to get back to the plot.  However, I will admit this was probably a necessary part and added a lot to the book, so I shouldn’t complain.  I am a very plot-driven person, so those were not my favorite sections.  Knowing about their lives made everything even more powerful, and I don’t think the book would have been complete without it.  The fact that I didn’t like it should in no way deter you from the book, because I think it is an amazing, eye-opening read.

I would recommend this book for many different types of readers, because it contains so many different facets which make it come together as an amazing read.  There are human relationships so real you will find yourself beaming, sobbing, and screaming in anguish, shipwrecks written about so vividly you will see them in your dreams, and enough information about WWII to satisfy any history buff.  It is such a unique combination of all of these things that it made me fly through, and wish for more when I was done.

A word of caution– be careful, because after you are done reading you may just want to go scuba diving yourself!  Kurson writes in such a way to draw you in and keep you there; he has a unique ability to add detail while not boring or overwhelming the reader.  This book is also impeccably researched, with countless interviews and history books reviewed for the creation, so you do not have to worry about the facts being distorted.

Next time you are looking for an exciting book to read, whether fiction or nonfiction, pick up Shadow Divers, and I guarantee it will not disappoint.

If you do read it, let me know what you think below!

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Richie Kohler has a really cool website about all of his deep sea dives.  Check it out!