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Monday, December 27, 2004

A Magnificent but Dangerous Obsession

John Chatterton is a professional diver. He and fellow expert divers discovered a wreck off New Jersey that defied the historians. It was a German submarine that had been sunk during World War II, yet there was no official record of the sinking. In fact, all the evidence seemed to point to the boat's having been sunk in the Mediterranean.

Chatterton and Richie Kohler made numerous dives at the very dangerous depth of 230 feet. Having done some scuba diving myself as a teenager and studied the effects of nitrogen narcosis, I was astonished at what they were able to accomplish. The wreck's appeal did, in fact, kill several divers. I had read The Last Dive : A Father and Son's Fatal Descent into the Ocean's Depths by Bernie Chowdhury that chronicled the deaths of a father-son team who dove the wreck. Robert Kurson in Shadow Divers tells the story from a much broader perspective. My son and I listened to it in the car and were spell-bound.

What was almost as fascinating was the detailed account of the divers' lives and their obsession to identify the identity of the submarine. It was eventually determined to be the U-869 that had officially been recorded missing in the Mediterranean. You will not be able to put this book down.
"9/11 was a faith-based initiative."
Wendy Kaminer

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