Titanic's Last Secrets: The Further Adventures of Shadow Divers John Chatterton and Richie Kohler

Titanic's Last Secrets: The Further Adventures of Shadow Divers John Chatterton and Richie Kohler

by Brad Matsen


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After rewriting history with their discovery of a Nazi U-boat off the coast of New Jersey, legendary divers John Chatterton and Richie Kohler decided to investigate the great enduring mystery of history's most notorious shipwreck: Why did Titanic sink as quickly as it did?

To answer the question, Chatterton and Kohler assemble a team of experts to explore Titanic, study its engineering, and dive to the wreck of its sister ship, Brittanic, where Titanic's last secrets may be revealed.

Titanic's Last Secrets is a rollercoaster ride through the shipbuilding history, the transatlantic luxury liner business, and shipwreck forensics. Chatterton and Kohler weave their way through a labyrinth of clues to discover that Titanic was not the strong, heroic ship the world thought she was and that the men who built her covered up her flaws when disaster struck. If Titanic had remained afloat for just two hours longer than she did, more than two thousand people would have lived instead of died, and the myth of the great ship would be one of rescue instead of tragedy.

Titanic's Last Secrets is the never-before-told story of the Ship of Dreams, a contemporary adventure that solves a historical mystery.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780446582056
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 10/01/2008
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Bradford Matsen is the author of Descent: The Heroic Discovery of the Abyss as well as many other books abou the sea and its inhabitants. He was a creative producer for the television series The Shape of Life, and his articles have appeared in Mother Jones, Audubon, and Nature, among other publications. He divides his time between Seattle and New York City. John Chatterton and Richie Kohler contributed to the research of Titanic's Last Secrets, as they did for Robert Kurson's Shadow Divers, the 2005 Book Sense Nonfiction Book of the Year.

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Titanic's Last Secrets: The Further Adventures of Shadow Divers John Chatterton and Richie Kohler 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
With Titanic Last Secrets, Brad Matsen, author of the acclaimed Descent: The Heroic Discovery of the Abyss, once again shows why he is one of the most gifted, accomplished writers on anything to do with the sea. In tackling history's most famous ship disaster, he accomplishes what I thought was impossible-telling us something new about the Titanic. The revelations are not only new but cumulatively downright sensational, rendered all the more so by new physical evidence and analysis that rewrites the history of the ship's last moments and resolves a lot of troubling questions that have until now been unresolved. The early focus of Matsen's well paced narrative are divers John Chatterton and Ritchie Kohler 'of Shadow Divers fame' who in the summer of 2005 dove the Titanic in search of clues that might explain how the ship sank in such a shockingly short time, less than three hours after striking an ice berg. In a largely unexplored debris field far from the ship's stern, the pair find two large intact sections of the Titanic's bottom, bottom-up on the ocean floor. The discoveries provide a wealth of forensic data supporting a theory that the Titanic actually broke up on the surface at a shallow angle before sinking. Seamlessly shifting the narrative back and forth from past to present, Matsen does a terrific job of painting a fresh and fascinating portrait of the doomed ocean liner and the principal characters whose hubris, greed, corruption, deadly cost-cutting and sheer folly led to the construction of a weak ship. Moreover, Matsen's modern-day archival investigations reveal the Titanic's builders knew the vessel's lethal shortcomings and covered them up, abetted in the aftermath of the sinking by the British government. It all make for a fast-moving entertaining read full of suspense and surprising turns. Titanic's Last Secrets belongs on the bookshelves of every mariner and armchair sailor. Granted, Matsen's conclusions are sure to be debated-even mocked-by 'Titaniac' buffs whose numbers are legion the world over, but this is as it should be. As the New York Times editorialized shortly after the new sinking theory emerged, 'There is really no getting over the Titanic, as least not where the human imagination is concerned.' Highest recommendation. John Grissim, founder Marine Watch and author, The Lost Treasure of the Concepcion and Pure Stoke
ViscountWesley More than 1 year ago
Sadly, a provocative discovery - two large sections of Titanic's keel with bottom facing upwards - has been approached with little, detailed forensic explanation. The "big-deal" discovery is not revealed until one has read through a drum-role of too-cute, personal asides about the mission before finally getting down to the purported Last Secrets. Nor are the secrets all that secret. Arguments have been put forward for years as to how the Titanic broke up - top down or bottom up. All in all a highly commercialized book, written with enough padding to flesh the pamphlet-sized new information into a book. Disappointing, and thinly explained, this work could have been much improved by the inclusion of top specialists in metallurgy and buoyancy expertise with some serious use of graphics to illustrate the book's conclusion. There was some compelling evidence discovered, but poorly explained or substantiated. Chapter on Wee Man, aka historian Thomas McCluskie was insulting. A man of Tom's accomplishments and recently inducted into the Order of the British Empire by the Queen, his physical handicap has not affected his keen intellect.
NEMO More than 1 year ago
The idea and premise for the book were very interesting. The book started out very cool - with the THEORY of the Titanic being "grounded" on the iceberg, and what that could've meant to the fast sinking time.

The author then weaves a story starting with the owners and shipbuilders that is VERY interesting! Reads like Walter Lords epic tale.

Then unfortunately, the book kind of ends. Perhaps this is because it is how it was in reality, but it was disapointing to not have some of the questions not answered. You'd have to read it to understand, but as much as I liked the first 2/3rd's of the book, the end left me empty and looking for resolution.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Having just read this book cover to cover in 2 sittings, I can heartily recommend it for both Titanic buffs as well as the casual reader. Matsen tells this tale with fresh eyes and new facts and keeps the pages turning. I won't be one of those reviewers who give away all the good details before you read the book, but I will say there are twists and turns in this often told story that made me think of Titanic in a whole new light. Five Stars!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was a great overview of the history and details behind te making of the Titanic and the inquiries that took place after the sinking. The secrets that this book revealed were marginal at best
Cherylk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you thought you knew everything there was about the Titanic then think again. Titanic¿s Last Secrets gives readers a new; clean prospective on a famous tragedy that has captivated us all. The dynamic team of Brad Matsen and deep sea divers John Chatterton and Richie Kohler have teamed up to share their wealth of knowledge as well as in depth research on this well-known ship and in doing so they produced a wonderful book. John Chatterton and Richie Kohler travel to the wreckage of the Titanic to disprove a myth about what really happened that day. Titanic¿s Last Secrets is like a history lesson is supposed to be like¿ fun and exciting. From the first page, I got caught up in the anticipation as well as excitement to when Chatterton and Kohler first discovered something new about the Titanic that no one else had ever laid eyes on before. With Brad Matsen¿s writing style, he made it so real that it was like I was there every step of the way. I appreciate the risks Chatterton and Kohler went though by risking their lives to bring truth and justice for all those innocent souls that perished for greed. For anyone that is fascinated with the history of the Titanic then this is the book for you, so pick up a copy of Titanic¿s Last Secrets today. This is one book that will have people talking.
Meggo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Full disclosure time - I am a borderline "Titaniac". I find the story of the Titanic to be even more fascinating than other maritime disasters like the Lusitania, the Bismark, and the Edmund Fitzgerald. I enjoyed reading this book, which brought new information to the table about how the great ship went down so quickly, mixed with the history of the ship, its construction, launch and ultimately its end and the aftermath. I would have preferred to have seen documentary evidence claimed to be seen by the previous archivist of the shipyard that built Titanic, but it's a thought provoking book all the same. Worth the read.
Helcura on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found this book quite interesting, both the parts regarding the divers in the present day, and the biographies of the historical personages. It presented information I hadn't known and changed my understanding of the Titanic tragedy significantly. Definitely worth the read, and worth adding to one's collection of popular history.
ElizabethChapman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Author Brad Matsen tells the story of divers John Chatterton and Richie Kohler who learn of a tantalizing new clue to the sinking of the Titanic and set out to explore the famous wreck. When the clue turns out to be a red herring, they seek to salvage their expedition by searching unexamined areas of the Titanic site. They make a discovery that they feel finally explains why the ship sank so quickly, despite all the safety measures in place.Titanic¿s Last Secrets goes back and forth between the modern-day expedition and an account of the building and sinking of the ship, as well as the turn of the century investigation of the disaster. Even for those familiar with that story, there are interesting details in the chapters focusing on the birth and death of the Titanic. Matsen¿s narrative zips along and is an easy read. He saves the discovery for the end of the book, so I¿ll explain the new theory as a spoiler for those who want to follow the path of the Titanic¿s Last Secrests without knowing its conclusion.SPOILER FOLLOWSChatterton and Kohler find two massive sections of the Titanic¿s hull on the ocean floor far from the rest of the wreck. After analysis, they conclude that the design of the ship was inherently weak and that parts of its double-hulled bottom section broke off while the boat was still on the surface. They state that the Titanic¿s design was simply a scaled up version of smaller boats and that at the ship¿s huge size it was fundamentally unstable. When the bow of the ship began to fill with water after being damaged by the iceberg it struck, that weight put tremendous stress on the middle of the boat. Parts of the hull cracked and fell away under the pressure, allowing water to rush in. A ship that should have floated for hours -- the time required for the Carpathia to reach the Titanic and rescue all its passengers and crew -- soon plummeted under the water. They also speak with the long-time archivist of the ship's manufacturer, Harland and Wolff, who says the the company's own belief for why ship sank (kept secret since the disaster) was exactly the same as Chatterton and Kohler's. Their thesis ignores the prevailing theory that substandard rivets caused the ship¿s hull to open like a zipper on impact with the iceberg. Personally I find that a much more compelling explanation and much better supported by the evidence we have. None-the-less, I found Titanic¿s Last Secrets thoroughly enjoyable ¿ although I remain unconvinced of its assertions.
sallyawolf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is about the people who discovered the Titanic go back for a second look to find out why the Titanic really sunk Did you ever wonder why the titanic sink without more of a warning? I think that this book is a must read for all!This audio book was loaned to me by a friend
KHusser on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This historical nonfiction title is another in a series by author, Brad Matsen who chronicles the adventures of two scuba divers/treasure hunters, John Chatterton and Richie Kohler. The storyline is unique, in that the emphasis is on discovering why Titanic sank so quickly while being a brand new steel icon of the time.Intense writing portrays situations during present day and in the past in a historically accurate and detailed view. While multiple flashbacks set the quick tone, dialogue moves the the story along in present day, in which vast details are revealed about ship building to help understand and quicken the pace. The dangerous underwater setting and flashbacks to 1912 set the tone for a "nail-biting" discovery on both fronts with many of the original, historical figures who were on the fateful liner that night. Prominent characters, from the present day divers who make some startling discoveries about Titanic, to the actual seamen and ship builders during the Industrial Age, draw an accurate picture of the time they lived in and help make them "relatable" to any lover of history or adventure. The reader is draw into the story with this sympathetic yet accurate depiction of why the Titanic sunk in a little over hours on April 14, 1912.
InTheBookcase More than 1 year ago
The book covers 2 big points of interest: (1) Details concerning the building and architecture of Titanic, historical facts pertaining to the men in charge, such as Pirrie, Ismay, Smith and others. (2) The findings and revelations of John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, famous wreck divers. As many books as I've read about "The Unsinkable Ship", I still learned more from this book yet. The two divers usher forth their own discoveries about the wreck by drawing conclusions from historical accounts and measuring it against what they've personally seen at the site of the shipwreck. CONS: As a note to the discerning reader, there are a few instances of vulgar language used in the story. Had I not found this content in the book, I would have given it a 5-star rating.
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RebelGirl More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It gave a new twist on the ship's demise with scientific data.
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