Genre: History

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Book Review: Trapped Under the Sea

May 13, 2014 Book Review, reviews 5

Book Review:  Trapped Under the SeaTrapped Under the Sea: One Engineering Marvel, Five Men, And a Disaster Ten Miles Into the Darkness by Neil Swedey
Published by Crown Publishing Group on February, 2014
Genres: History, Non-Fiction
Pages: 423
Source: complimentary review copy
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Looming deadlines. . .greedy corporations. . .frustrated taxpayers. . .and an ages old sewage system that had destroyed much of the Boston Harbor lead up to this well-researched and cautionary tale.  Five divers were sent 10 miles  to the end of an underwater tunnel with a half-baked oxygen system put together with duct tape. . .can you see where this is going?

And would you believe this is in 1999?  I know we’ve come a long way with our safety checks and systems; however, I didn’t realize that even as recent as the late 90’s people would still be treated so expendable just for the dollar.  As far as we have come as a society there are still some things that must be done by man.  And decisions must be made – by man.  And choices that are made {by man} can and will and did have deadly everlasting consequences.

Neil Swidey has done an incredible job of research on this tragedy and it shows in the humanness of his characters.  We learn the motivations of the divers and the men overseeing the project.  We learn how each player in this cast of tragedy, along with the families, have moved on after five divers went down and only three came up alive.

For a non-fiction historical novel this one reads like a fast-paced thriller.  The dialogue is real, heartbreaking, infuriating.  While the book is over 400 pages it does not drag nor get boring – even in the technical sections of sewage treatment, diving lingo and court battles.  Those parts are broken down into easy explanations that make you feel smarter when you’re done {go ahead, ask me anything about sewage treatment! Wait, just kidding.  Don’t!}.

I’m glad I read this historical account of five men who gave their lives to save the Boston Harbor, but I’m still so angry at the facts that led up to two divers deaths and the aftermath.  I cannot even imagine how those involved feel.  How could this have happened?  Why did it happen?  And thank you Neil Swidey for bringing these events to life so hopefully it doesn’t happen again.  Highly recommended!

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