Title: Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
Author: Erik Larson
Stars: 5 out o5
Erik Larson is the author of five best sellers including the Devil in the White City and The Garden of Beasts which collectively sold more than 6.5 million copies. His books have been published in 17 different countries (this taken from the back of his book) Dead Wake is a very interesting if somewhat long book. The writer goes into quite a bit of back ground about the lives of the people involved in the sinking of the Lusitania, a luxury ocean liner, on it's way from the United States to England in the year 1915. W W 1 was going on and England was losing to Germany, but in the United States life was going on as normal even with all the bad news from Europe. Pres Wison is in office and a side story in the book speaks of his courtship of a Miss Edith Galt. After the death of his 1st wife Pres. Wilson goes into deep mourning but still has a country to run and a public to answer to. He has a hard time trying to remain focus and for a while loses his his way. His romance with Miss Galt adds and interesting side to the story of the sinking of the great ship. I found the story most interesting in that the author goes into the back stories of the different passengers whom you think survived the sinking, but not always so. Not only were people lost but very valuable paintings by famous artists, and an original manuscript of "A Christmas Carol" by Lewis Carroll, irreplaceable treasures lost forever. The author gives you many things to think about, was the sinking because of carelessness of the British government war room or was it a purposely and precise "accident" to cause the Americans to finally make a commitment and come into the War? He also tells the story of Captain Turner, the Captain of the Lusitania, gives a brief back ground on him helping the reader to realize that he was very capable at his job and that the sinking could not be laid at his feet as the "Room 41" tried to do. Did it work? Did it not? Another interesting back story is about the captain of the U boat, Schwieger, and how successful he was at the amount of ton age he sunk up to and including the sinking of the great liner. His family is later interviewed and spoke of him feeling sick as he watch the passengers struggling in the 55 degree water, how he put the periscope back down so he didn't have to watch their last struggles. But his official record tells a different story. At the announcement of the sinking of the Lusitania all England and America were in shock, but in Germany there was cheering and great happiness making Schwieger a hero of the Fatherland. The loss of life was appalling, but at least this time it didn't have any thing to do with "classes". I give this book five stars out of five! A great book! The book is informative, interesting, very well written,
Thank you for the Review Eileen.
On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds”—the fastest liner then in service—and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack.
Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small—hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more—all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.
It is a story that many of us think we know but don’t, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour and suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope to President Woodrow Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love.
Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster whose intimate details and true meaning have long been obscured by history.
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