Shadow Divers is a riveting true 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 hallucination, navigating through a minefield of perilous wreckage, they pushed themselves to their limits and beyond, brushing against death often in the rusting hulks of sunken ships.
But in 1991, not even these bold divers were prepared for what they found 230 feet below the surface, in the frigid Atlantic waters sixty miles off the New Jersey coast: 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 sediment.
Over the next six years, an elite team of divers embarked on a quest to solve the mystery. Some 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 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.
Shadow Divers spent 24 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list, peaking at #2. The book was awarded the American Booksellers Association’s 2005 “Book of the Year Award,” and has been translated into 22 languages.
“A pulse-quickening real-life thriller…written with great you-are-there intensity and dynamic verve.” —
“A masterful work…Remarkable…Captivating. Shadow Divers will in all likelihood join the company of such compelling and successful narratives of men doing deadly battle with nature as Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air and Sebastian Junger’s The Perfect Storm.” —
“Absorbing…Even a great story needs the right storyteller, and Chatterton and Kohler couldn’t have asked for anyone better than Kurson. From U-boat history to the mortal dangers of diving…Kurson explains it all, even as he’s spinning a fantastic yarn that happens to be true. All he leaves out are the boring parts.” —
“Exquisitely researched and superbly told…will leave even armchair adventurers gasping for breath.” (Critic’s Choice…four stars) —
“An irresistible sea yarn.” —
“Riveting… People who risk their lives and family bonds to pursue their passions can create some of the best non-fiction. Perhaps the most startling elements of Shadow Divers are anecdotes about the dangers of diving. [And] the final part of the book is perhaps the most moving.” —
“Kurson breathes life into Shadow Divers with consummate skill. His research is meticulous but he wears it lightly, his characters are skillfully drawn, and the narrative is so well paced and constructed that it develops a hypnotic, almost suffocating tension… But it is far more than mere adventure; this is also a haunting, painful story of obsession and its attendant costs. For once, the comparisons with The Perfect Storm are not out of place; this is a memorable story, beautifully told.” —
“Shadow Divers is not only a gripping adventure story, but a tale of dogged persistence and growing friendship. Mr. Kurson vividly captures the hazardous world of diving and the competition and camaraderie of the divers themselves.” —
“Exciting…Some of the most haunting moments occur on land, as when the divers research the lives of the doomed German sailors whose bones they swim among. Once underwater, Kurson’s adrenalized prose sweeps you along in a tale of average-guy adventure.” —
Blinded at age three, Mike May defied expectations by breaking world records in downhill speed skiing, joining the CIA, and becoming a successful inventor, entrepreneur, and family man. He had never yearned for vision.
Then, in 1999, a chance encounter with a prominent ophthalmologist brought startling news: a revolutionary stem cell transplant surgery could restore May’s vision. It could allow him to drive, read, see his children’s faces. But the procedure was filled with risks, some deadly, others beyond May’s wildest dreams.
Fewer than twenty people in recorded history had vision restored after a lifetime of blindness. One might profound joy from such a miracle. But in each of the cases, the results were disastrous for the patient: depression, suicidal thoughts, self-seclusion in dark rooms, fury at the surgeons who cured them. By the time of May’s surgery in 2001, the odds seemed a million-to-one against him.
Crashing Through is a journey of suspense, daring, romance, and insight into the mysteries of vision and the brain. Based on his National Magazine Award-winning story in Esquire, the book is a fascinating account of one man’s choice to explore what it means to see–and to truly live.
Crashing Through debuted on the New York Times Bestseller list, and has been translated into seven languages.
“A moving account [of an] extraordinary character. The science is fascinating [and] the tender moments resonate.”— People Magazine
“An amazing story. You will love it when you read it.”— Good Morning America
“Propulsive…A gripping adventure story.”— Entertainment Weekly
“Genuinely fascinating.”— Washington Post
“An astonishing story memorably told. May is remarkable, [an] equally compelling medical and literary and subject. Don’t be surprised if your own vision mists over now and then.”—Chicago Tribune
“Fascinating. Kurson artfully coaxes out every bit of tension, expertly captures May’s wonderment, [and] so deftly takes us along.”— Miami Herald
“May’s story and Kurson’s telling of it are beyond eye-opening.”— New York Daily News
“A remarkable story of courage and endurance.”— Publisher’s Weekly
“Crashing Through may be a subtler, more nuanced subject, but Kurson writes it for all he’s worth. Clearly Kurson is a man with natural curiosity and one who can feel the excitement life has to offer. One of his great gifts is he makes you feel it, too.”— Kansas City Star
“An incredible human story told in gripping fashion. A great read.”— Chicago Sun-Times