Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson Book Review – Deep Wreck Diving on Hitler’s Lost U-Boat17:23

Published on August 7, 2016

In 1991, a group of divers set out to explore an unknown object lying 230 feet (70 m) below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean and discover an apparent historical impossibility: a World War II German U-boat off the coast of New Jersey.

The Book “Shadow Divers”:

John Chatterton Diving the U-boat wreck:

Amazed at this discovery, Chatterton and his fellow divers make a pact to keep the U-Boat a secret until they can discover its identity and claim credit for its discovery. This is to prevent “wreck-jumping” (wherein another person claims credit and/or removes objects from the wreck).

Unfortunately, this pact is broken almost immediately by a couple of members of the team who decide to tell close friends, and the secret is let out. Consulting both the United States Navy and the German Navy yields denials of the possibility of a World War II-era U-boat wreck in that area.

Historical records claim the closest U-boat wreck to be hundreds of miles away.

The book chronicles the seven year quest to learn the identity of the mysterious wreck, dubbed U-Who by the dive team, the identities of the men aboard her, and how she came to rest on the ocean floor near New Jersey.

Over the length of the quest several members of the original dive team quit, either because their lives lead them elsewhere or over concerns for their safety. Several new members were brought in, including Richie Kohler, a member of the notorious “Atlantic Wreck Divers” club that had the reputation of being pirate-like and reckless in their diving philosophy.

This philosophy is the complete opposite of Chatterton’s, and Chatterton initially dislikes Kohler. However, during the course of the quest the two men discover qualities in each other they both admire and respect. Kohler himself is driven not by monetary desires but the history behind the wreck, and the personal connection he feels as his family is of German descent. He and Chatterton ultimately become close friends.

The quest for the identity of the U-Boat and its occupants pushes the dive team to the limits, ultimately ending Chatterton’s and Kohler’s marriages, and the lives of three divers, including Steve Feldman, and the father-son team Chris Rouse, Sr. and Chris “Chrisy” Rouse, Jr.

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