Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Robert Kurson  

Pen Name: None

Genre:

Born: in Chicago, Illinois

Sites:

E-Mail:


Illinois Connection

Kurson grew up in the Chicago suburbs and still resides there today.

Biographical and Professional Information

Robert Kurson is best known for his 2004 bestselling book, Shadow Divers, the true story of two Americans who discover a World War II German U-boat sunk 60 miles off the coast of New Jersey. Kurson earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin, then a law degree from Harvard Law School. He began his career as an attorney practicing real estate law. Kurson's professional writing career began at the Chicago Sun-Times, where he started as a sports agate clerk and soon gained a full-time features writing job. In 2000, Esquire published "My Favorite Teacher," 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 won a National Magazine Award and was a contributing editor for years. His stories have appeared in Rolling Stone, The New York Times Magazine, and other publications.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

The Official Three Stooges Encyclopedia: The Ultimate Knucklehead's Guide to Stoogedom--From Amalgamated Association of Morons to Ziller, Zeller, and Zoller
ISBN: 0809229307

Contemporary Books. 1998

Some 1,400 entries identify people, places, jokes, and routines immortalized by the Three Stooges. Included are film synopses for 190 short films and six full-length feature films

140 b&w photos

biographies of each Stooge as well as notes on key supporting players

and a few sidebars featuring such Stooge tidbits as the secret to their classic sound effects and every insult Moe ever hurled at his partners. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

The Official Three Stooges Cookbook
ISBN: 0809229293

Contemporary Books. 1998

Synthesizing all that is delightful and delicious in Three Stooges films, this cookbook contains 75 zany recipes inspired by the Stooges plus quotes and 60 original photos.

Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II
ISBN: 0375508589

Random House. 2004

In 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 mystery–and 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 bones–all 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 sailors–former 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.

Crashing Through: The Extraordinary True Story of the Man Who Dared to See
ISBN: 0812973682

Random House Trade Paperbacks. 2008

Mike May spent his life crashing through. Blinded at age three, he 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 May’s vision. It would allow him to drive, to read, to see his children’s faces. But the procedure was filled with gambles, some of them deadly, others beyond May’s wildest dreams. 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 man’s choice to explore what it means to see–and to truly live.

Praise for the National Bestseller Crashing Through:

“An incredible human story [told] in gripping fashion . . . a great read.”
–Chicago Sun-Times

“Inspiring.”
–USA Today

“[An] astonishing story . . . memorably told . . . May is remarkable. . . . Don’t be surprised if your own vision mists over now and then.”
–Chicago Tribune

“[A] moving account [of] an extraordinary character.”
–People

“Terrific . . . [a] genuinely fascinating account of the nature of human vision.”
–The Washington Post

“Kurson is a man with natural curiosity and one who can feel the excitement life has to offer. One of his great gifts is he makes you feel it, too.”
–The Kansas City Star

“Propulsive . . . a gripping adventure story.”
–Entertainment Weekly

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship
ISBN: 1400063361

Random House. 2015

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY CHICAGO TRIBUNE •

A thrilling adventure of

danger

and

deep-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 men—John Chatterton and John Mattera—are 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 sea—his 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 history—it 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 pirates—like Bannister—that 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 Sparrow—and 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 Child


Awards

-- Shadow Divers:The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Lost Mysteries of World War II

New York Times Bestseller

Book of the Year, American Booksellers Association, 2005Crashing Through: The Extraordinary True Story of the Man Who Dared to See

New York Times BestsellerPirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship

2016 ILLINOIS READS Book