FROM THE BOOK JACKET: The previously classified story of the eccentric researchers who invented cutting-edge underwater science to lead the Allies to D-Day victory

In August 1942, more than 7,000 Allied troops rushed the beaches of Normandy, France, in an all but-forgotten landing. Only a small fraction survived unscathed. It was two summers before D-Day, and the Allies realized that they were in dire need of underwater intelligence if they wanted to stand a chance of launching another beach invasion and of winning the war.

Led by the controversial biologists J. B. S. Haldane and Dr. Helen Spurway, an ingenious team of ragtag scientists worked out of homemade labs during the London Blitz. Beneath a rain of bombs, they pioneered thrilling advances in underwater reconnaissance through tests done on themselves in painful and potentially fatal experiments. Their discoveries led to the safe use of miniature submarines and breathing apparatuses, which ultimately let the Allies take the beaches of Normandy.

Blast injury specialist Dr. Rachel Lance unpacks the harrowing narratives of these experiments while bringing to life the men and women whose brilliance and self-sacrifice shaped the outcome of the war, including their personal relationships with one another and the ways they faced skepticism and danger in their quest to enable Allied troops to breathe underwater.

The riveting science leading up to D-Day has been classified for generations, but Chamber Divers finally brings these scientists' stories--and their heroism--to light.

Rachel Lance profile imageABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rachel Lance is a biomedical engineer and blast-injury specialist who works as a scientific researcher on military diving projects at Duke University. Before returning to graduate school to earn her PhD, Dr. Lance spent several years as an engineer for the United States Navy, working to build specialized underwater equipment for use by navy divers, SEALs, and Marine Force Recon personnel. She is also the author of In the Waves, and her writing has appeared in Time, Wired, Scientific American, and more. A native of suburban Detroit, Dr. Lance lives in Durham, North Carolina.


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