Book Review of Trapped Under The Sea
I received this eBook in lieu of an honest review from Blogging for Books.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I’m doing research for a book dealing with the sea. So I thought I might find this interesting. Neil Swidey was obviously very devoted to this project and the people involved. His respect and passion were obvious throughout the story.
The description at the Goodreads page reads:
The harrowing story of five men who were sent into a dark, airless tunnel hundreds of feet under Massachusetts Bay to do a nearly impossible job-with deadly results . In the 1990s, Boston built a sophisticated waste treatment plant on Deer Island that was poised to show the country how to deal with environmental catastrophe. The city had been dumping barely treated sewage into its harbor, coating the seafloor with a layer of “black mayonnaise.” Fisheries collapsed, wildlife fled, and locals referred to floating tampon applicators as “beach whistles.” But before the plant could start operating, a team of divers had to make a perilous journey to the end of a 10-mile tunnel-devoid of light and air-to complete the construction. Five went in; two never came out. Drawing on hundreds of interviews and thousands of documents, award-winning reporter Neil Swidey re-creates the tragedy and its aftermath in an action-packed narrative. The climax comes when the hard-partying DJ Gillis and his friend Billy Juse trade jobs at a pivotal moment in the mission, sentencing one diver to death and the other to a trauma-induced heroin addiction that eventually lands him in prison. Trapped Under the Sea reminds us that behind every bridge, highway, dam, and tunnel-behind the infrastructure that makes modern life possible-lies unsung bravery and extraordinary sacrifice.
The challenge Swidey faced was in describing a very difficult procedure that no one had ever tried before. I’m not sure how else Swidey could have written it, but I found the first half of the book very tedious as we waded through the painfully intricate details of the tunnel project.
Clearly a certain amount of knowledge is required to understand all that’s described here. I sometimes felt left behind by the narrative. Honestly, I’m not sure I would have kept reading if it weren’t for the anticipated review.
Thankfully, in the second half the muddy details cleared and the plodding story picked up significantly. The legal side of the ordeal was interesting and the end with Swidey’s own story was the best part of the book.
So with all of that said, I just wanted to present an honest assessment so the reader can make their own decision.