Robert Kurson grew up in the Chicago suburbs. He earned a bachelorâ€™s degree in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin, then a law degree from Harvard Law School. He practiced real estate law, but quit to pursue a writing career. To make ends meet, he worked full time as a drapery and window blinds installer, then as a Wal-Mart options trader at the Chicago Board Options Exchange. He was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times as a data entry clerk, a position which led to a full-time features writing job. In 2000, Esquire published â€œMy Favorite Teacher,â€ his first magazine story, which became a finalist for a National Magazine Award. He moved from the Sun-Times to Chicago magazine, then to Esquire, where he is a contributing editor. His stories have appeared in Rolling Stone, The New York Times Magazine, and other publications. He lives in the Chicago suburbs.
Photograph Â© Beth Kelly
A real-life thriller told with dramatic intensity and pace, a tale of an obsession, of courage, deep-sea dangers and death. Itâ€™s the story of two men and their six year quest to find a German u-boat wreck off the coast of America (New Jersey). A sea/adventure yarn which is somehow made more exciting because itâ€™s true.
Fifty years ago, Christmas 1968, Man first orbited the Moon. This book tells the inside story of that epic journey. In early 1968, the Apollo programme was on shaky footing. President Kennedy's end-of-decade deadline to put a man on the Moon was in jeopardy, and the Soviets were threatening to pull ahead in the space race. By August 1968, with its back against the wall, NASA decided to scrap its usual methodical approach and shoot for the heavens. With just four months to prepare, the agency would send the first men in history to the Moon. Focusing on three heroic astronauts and their families, this vivid, gripping narrative shows anew the epic danger and singular bravery it took for Man to leave Earth for the first time - and to arrive at a new world.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER *; The riveting inside story of three heroic astronauts who took on the challenge of mankind's historic first mission to the Moon, from thebestselling author of Shadow Divers.';Robert Kurson tells the tale of Apollo 8 with novelistic detail and immediacy.'Andy Weir, #1 New York Timesbestselling author of The Martianand ArtemisBy August 1968, the American space program was in danger of failing in its two most important objectives: to land a man on the Moon by President Kennedy's end-of-decade deadline, and to triumph over the Soviets in space. With its back against the wall, NASA made an almost unimaginable leap: It would scrap its usual methodical approach and risk everything on a sudden launch, sending the first men in history to the Moonin just four months. And it would all happen at Christmas. In a year of historic violence and discordthe Tet Offensive, the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy, the riots at the Democratic National Convention in Chicagothe Apollo 8 mission would be the boldest, riskiest test of America's greatness under pressure. In this gripping insider account, Robert Kurson puts the focus on the three astronauts and their families: the commander, Frank Borman, a conflicted man on his final mission; idealistic Jim Lovell, who'd dreamed since boyhood of riding a rocket to the Moon; and Bill Anders, a young nuclear engineer and hotshot fighter pilot making his first space flight. Drawn from hundreds of hours of one-on-one interviews with the astronauts, their loved ones, NASA personnel, and myriad experts, and filled with vivid and unforgettable detail, Rocket Men is the definitive account of one of America's finest hours. In this real-life thriller, Kurson reveals the epic dangers involved, and the singular bravery it took, for mankind to leave Earth for the first timeand arrive at a new world.Praise for Rocket Men ';In 1968 we sent men to the Moon. They didn't leave boot prints, but it was the first time humans ever left Earth for another destination. That mission was Apollo 8. AndRocket Men,under Robert Kurson's compelling narrative, is that under-told story.'Neil deGrasse Tyson';Rocket Menis a riveting introduction to the[Apollo 8] flight. . . . Kurson details the mission in crisp, suspenseful scenes. . . . [A] gripping book.'The New York Times Book Review
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER *; NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY CHICAGO TRIBUNE *;A thrilling adventure ofdangeranddeep-sea diving, historic mystery and suspense, by the author of Shadow Divers Finding and identifying a pirate ship is the hardest thing to do under the sea. But two menJohn Chatterton and John Matteraare willing to risk everything to find the Golden Fleece, the ship of the infamous pirate Joseph Bannister. At large during the Golden Age of Piracy in the seventeenth century, Bannister should have been immortalized in the lore of the seahis exploits more notorious than Blackbeard's, more daring than Kidd's. But his story, and his ship, have been lost to time.If Chatterton and Mattera succeed, they will make historyit will be just the second time ever that a pirate ship has been discovered and positively identified. Soon, however, they realize that cutting-edge technology and a willingness to lose everything aren't enough to track down Bannister's ship. They must travel the globe in search of historic documents and accounts of the great pirate's exploits, face down dangerous rivals, battle the tides of nations and governments and experts. But it's only when they learn to think and act like pirateslike Bannisterthat they become able to go where no pirate hunters have gone before. Fast-paced and filled with suspense, fascinating characters, history, and adventure, Pirate Hunters is an unputdownable story that goes deep to discover truths and souls long believed lost.Praise for Pirate Hunters';You won't want to put [it] down.'Los Angeles Times ';An exceptional adventure . . . Highly recommended to readers who delight in adventure, suspense, and the thrill of discovering history at their fingertips.'Library Journal (starred review) ';A terrific read . . . The book gallops along at a blistering pace, shifting us deftly between the seventeenth century and the present day.'Diver ';Nonfiction with the trademarks of a novel: the plots and subplots, the tension and suspense . . . [Kurson has] found gold.'The Dallas Morning News ';Rollicking . . . a fascinating [story] about the world of pirates, piracy, and priceless treasures.'The Boston Globe ';[Kurson's] narration is just as engrossing as the subject.'The Christian Science Monitor ';A wild ride [and an] extraordinary adventure . . . Kurson's own enthusiasm, combined with his copious research and an eye for detail, makes for one of the most mind-blowing pirate stories of recent memory, one that even the staunchest landlubber will have a hard time putting down.'Publishers Weekly (starred review)';The two contemporary pirate-ship seekers of Mr. Kurson's narrative are as daring, intrepid, tough and talented as Blood and Sparrowand Bannister. . . . As depicted by the author, they are real-life Hemingway heroes.'The Wall Street Journal ';[Kurson] takes his knowledge of the underwater world and applies it to the ';Golden Age of Piracy' . . . thrillingly detailing the highs and lows of chasing not just gold and silver but also history.'Booklist';A great thriller full of tough guys and long odds . . . and: It's all true.'Lee ChildFrom the Hardcover edition.
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 brought startling news: a revolutionary stem cell transplant surgery could restore Mays vision. The procedure was filled with risks, some of them deadly, others beyond Mays wildest dreams. There were countless reasons for May to refuse vision. He could think of only a single reason to go forward. Whatever his decision, he knew it would change his life.Beautifully written and thrillingly told, CRASHING THROUGH is a journey of suspense, daring, romance, and insight into the mysteries of vision and the brain. Robert Kurson gives us a fascinating account of one mans choice to explore what it means to seeand to truly live.
New York Times BestsellerIn the tradition of Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air and Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm comes a true tale of riveting adventure in which two weekend scuba divers risk everything to solve a great historical mysteryand 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 hallucinatory effects, navigating through wreckage as perilous as a minefield, they pushed themselves to their limits and beyond, brushing against death more than once in the rusting hulks of sunken ships. But in the fall of 1991, not even these courageous divers were prepared for what they found 230 feet below the surface, in the frigid Atlantic waters sixty miles off the coast of New Jersey: a World War II German U-boat, its ruined interior a macabre wasteland of twisted metal, tangled wires, and human bonesall buried under decades of accumulated sediment. No identifying marks were visible on the submarine or the few artifacts brought to the surface. No historian, expert, or government had a clue as to which U-boat the men had found. In fact, the official records all agreed that there simply could not be a sunken U-boat and crew at that location. Over the next six years, an elite team of divers embarked on a quest to solve the mystery. Some of them 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 with the drowned U-boat sailorsformer 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. Author Robert Kurson's account of this quest is at once thrilling and emotionally complex, and it is written with a vivid sense of what divers actually experience when they meet the dangers of the ocean's underworld. The story of Shadow Divers often seems too amazing to be true, but it all happened, two hundred thirty feet down, in the deep blue sea.