Named one of Amazon’s BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
(Top 100 combined fiction and nonfiction list)
A Booklist EDITORS’ CHOICE BOOK of 2014
Amazon’s Top 20 NONFICTION BOOKS of 2014 (History too)
A No. 1 Boston Globe BESTSELLER
A New England Indie BESTSELLER
One of iTunes/iBooks’ BEST BOOKS of the month
An Amazon Canada Top 20 NONFICTION of 2014 pick
A Publishers Weekly TOP TEN pick (science)

Starred reviews:
★ Publishers Weekly ★ Booklist  Library Journal 

Jeopardy! Clue_Trapped Under the Sea_5.16.16Trapped featured as a clue in a 2016 episode of Jeopardy!

Listen to Neil’s interview on the NPR/PRI show “Living on Earth,” part of coverage of 2015 World Oceans Day. Interview

“When researching and writing the book, [Swidey] said, ‘I never stopped feeling the tightening in my chest.'” Austin American-Statesman (Coverage of Texas Book Festival), Full article

19th Texas Book Festival in Austin19th Texas Book Festival in AustinThe “Descent into the Depths” talk at the 2014 Texas Book Festival, which took place in the Texas House Chamber, featured authors Neil Swidey and Hector Tobar. (Photos by Bob Daemmrich)

“While corporate boardrooms are the usual point of entry for dramas involving big money and technological hubris, Swidey, a journalist and author, works instead from the bottom up in his impressively reported account…His is a skillful examination into the basic fragility of such huge infrastructural projects and a lesson in how worker fatalities result not so much from single catastrophic mistakes as from ‘a series of small, bad decisions made by many individuals.’ ” New York Times Book Review (Jessica Loudis), Full review

“A harrowing account of one of the largest engineering projects in U.S. history and of the hubris and ignorance that led to tragedy…[and] a cautionary tale, which Mr. Swidey writes with splendid heart.”
Wall Street Journal (Nancy Rommelmann), Full review

“Intense… A Perfect Storm of public works: the great, awful narrative about the building of a ten-mile tunnel that ends in a very dark place beneath the Atlantic. Maybe not for claustrophobes; definitely for everyone else.”
New York

“Through his meticulous reporting, Swidey sheds light on how the largest monuments to our collective genius are also the most likely to be seriously flawed. Audacious, brilliant, imaginative construction projects are really, really hard to build — and ultimately they’re built not by the dreamers who conceived them, but by the sandhogs and divers sent deep into the earth, trusting that the people above them have done their job to perfection. Swidey shows us that their trust is not always well placed.”
Esquire (Chris Jones), Full review

“A harrowing account of how commercial divers risk their lives to improve ours. After reading Neil Swidey’s engrossing Trapped Under the Sea, you will never look at a bridge or a tunnel the same way again…Captivating.”
—Men’s Journal (Greg Emmanuel), Full review

Listen to Neil’s interview on NPR station WBUR.

Listen to Neil’s interview on WGBH Boston.

Read Neil Swidey’s piece for the Harvard Business Review exploring the surprising research about why accidents tend to happen late on jobs.

Watch Neil in conversation with Amy C. Edmondson, Harvard Business School Novartis professor, about Trapped Under the Sea and the lessons it covers in leadership and organizational behavior.

“This book…transcends narrow geography in many ways: as exemplary investigative reporting, as superb narrative writing, as a cautionary tale of capitalistic greed, as a case study of how government agencies can protect or harm, and as a rare glimpse into the scary world of underwater dive crews.”
Dallas Morning News (Steve Weinberg), Full review

“Perhaps Swidey’s greatest accomplishment is how through it all — the bravery, the bungling, and the loss — he manages to attain a level of suspense akin to that accomplished by Sebastian Junger in The Perfect Storm…[A] masterfully crafted saga.”
Boston Globe (Martin W. Sandler), Full review

“Based on hundreds of interviews and every available document, Swidey’s narrative paints a disturbing portrait of big-ticket construction projects, and how safety can be so easily discarded in the pursuit of deadlines and profit…Though a complex and technical tale, Swidey’s book is, at its core, a story about people: the people who risked their lives. The people who loved them. And the people who should have seen the disaster to come.”
Maclean’s (Michael Friscolanti), Full review

Watch Neil on WCVB, talking about the cleanup of Boston Harbor.

“Riveting, tragic true story…Fascinating.”
Parade, Review/excerpt

“A gripping (and true) tale … told in a you-are-there narrative style that recalls Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air.”
Civil Engineering

“Unforgettable … Seems destined to become a nonfiction classic.” Engineering News-Record, Full review

“Reads like a thriller.”
Sacramento Bee

“Captivating… Swidey brands the disaster with a human face by introducing the men to the reader and extracting lessons learned through a careful examination that he passes along in a narrative nonfiction piece that would no doubt make his glorious predecessors in the investigative magazine genre of the early 20th century proud.”
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Review/story

“Neil Swidey’s Trapped Under the Sea combines rich characters with a thrilling and tragic story that offers something for readers of all stripes…At once tragic and ironic, insightful and enraging.”
The Blaze, coverage

A story of infrastructure told on a human scale and a trenchant reminder that the modern metropolis comes with high risks and savage costs.”
Kirkus Reviews

Neil Swidey’s detail-rich account of this unlikely disaster is a stirring tribute to the men, how they lived, and how they died.”
Mother Jones

“Gripping…This virtuoso performance combines insights into massive engineering projects, corporate litigation, environmental science, and cutthroat free-market behavior with vivid personal stories.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred review

Publishers Weekly’s Top Ten Science Books of 2014
Publishers Weekly, Full list

“With the pacing and feel of a special-ops adventure and the insight of a public-policy investigation, Swidey details the lives of the divers, leading up to their fateful mission, the horrors of the ordeal, and its aftermath as the survivors coped with trauma and guilt.”
Booklist, Starred review

Trapped Under the Sea is extraordinary. It bears comparison with The Perfect Storm in its brilliant evocation of everyday, working class men thrust into a harrowing, at times heroic confrontation with death and disaster.”
Dennis Lehane, author of Live by Night and Shutter Island

“Thrilling and beautifully told, Trapped Under the Sea delivers us into a dangerous and mysterious world, a place that speaks to our darkest fears and where heroes work, as Swidey so masterfully shows us, just beneath the surface of our everyday lives.”
Robert Kurson, author of Shadow Divers

“Enlightening…Provides immense detail about the challenges, solutions, politics, management, legalities, and personnel involved in a huge, expensive, necessary project that transformed Boston Harbor from an open sewer into a recreational area…yet never loses sight of the people involved.”
Library Journal, starred review

“This book will take you on a journey into a fascinating but little-known world—it’s the anatomy of a tragedy, a dramatic tale with a cast of vividly drawn characters, superbly written and researched.”
Jonathan Harr, author of A Civil Action and The Lost Painting

Trapped Under the Sea is a heartbreaking tale of real-life bravery, real-life bungling, and real-life tragedy. Neil Swidey is a terrific storyteller.”
Elizabeth Kolbert, author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe and The Sixth Extinction

“A fascinating, sympathetic, and suspenseful look at a doomed, high-risk engineering job, the working class men who dared to undertake it, and its ripple effect on the survivors. Claustrophobic and compelling.”
Chuck Hogan, author of Devils in Exile and The Town

“A marvel of masterful reporting and suspenseful writing. Neil Swidey has delivered a gripping, action-filled account of the human costs deep inside a feat of modern engineering. He has a remarkable knack for bringing to life indelible characters and making readers hold our breath as these brave men enter the claustrophobic world of their undersea lives.”
Mitchell Zuckoff, author of Frozen in Time and Lost in Shangri-La

“Beach reading, boardroom style…Reads like a novel…Swidey explores how individuals and organizations calculate risk, the ways that time and financial pressure influence decision making, and how the combination of ego and ignorance can lead to disaster. Ultimately, it’s a story of extraordinary bravery, professional pride, and the commitment of team members to one another.” —Strategy + Business magazine Full review

“Editor’s pick of the month…tells the compelling tale of the harrowing and deadly task, against the backdrop of bravery, corporate greed, political infighting and construction incompetence. A great book.” —Undercurrent magazine (“The Consumer Reports of Diving”) Review

“A masterfully reported, grippingly written, and moving case study of how the emotional way we assess risk can lead to deadly mistakes. Nearly everyone in this sad story, driven by their own unique motivations, misjudged a deadly danger that was staring them in the face, and the results were tragic. There are lessons here, for all of us.”
David Ropeik, author of Risk!

Trapped Under the Sea offers vital insights into how organizations work—or fail to work—and how very smart people can make very bad decisions. Neil Swidey’s riveting account of the Deer Island disaster should be essential reading for anyone in a position of leadership. I couldn’t put it down.”
Amy C. Edmondson, Harvard Business School Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management , and author of Teaming

Read the Harvard Business Review interview with Neil about “disaster lit.”