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Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania (edition 2015)

by Erik Larson (Author)

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2,2321772,882 (4.17)205
Member:RobinBrz
Title:Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
Authors:Erik Larson (Author)
Info:Crown (2015), Edition: 1St Edition, 448 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
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Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

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Showing 1-5 of 178 (next | show all)
A perpetual topic and a historically significant Centennial Anniversary mark a broad target audience for Mr. Lar$on$ latest work. Good pick Erik.

Erik is like a conductor. His historical actors his notes. He picks the right moment to insert a certain person or event. His pace and timing are great.

We all know the story. There was a boat named The Lusitania and sometime around WWI the Germans sank it. Some Americans died but the USA did not immediately enter the war. That was the extent of my knowledge of the Lusitania.
That and the false flag theory that the Brits and or the USA 'allowed' the Lusitania to sink to have sufficient reason to war. Well the conspiracy gets covered too.. and it is hard to deny given the course of events.

Erik carefully embarks the reader upon the fateful voyage. We get to meet interesting people some of whom we know are destined to perish in a few hundred pages.
We learn some of the interesting ways our ancestors traveled the seas and passed the time. It is a nice comfy ride at times. Then Erik reminds us of the U-boats and the tension builds.

A part that stuck with me was that politicians stayed historically true to their colors. Liars to the last. Churchill was a typical 'blame game' politician. Please forget all your WWII glory hype about the man as I believe little is known about Churchill pre-WWII in the USA. This was one of many new perspectives he allows you to view for yourself.

Dead Wake is an easy read with a natural story arc and progression. Erik has shed some fresh light on a well known but seldom discussed moment in history. I for one will be talking about it with my newfound trove of anecdotes. Well done sir.

*I received free copy for review* ( )
  LongTrang117 | Oct 6, 2017 |
If you are looking for a good non-fiction book and like history, this is for you. This book reads and listens like a novel, which made it easier for me to read/listen to. This was a very interesting read because it was about something that was not taught in school. I personally have heard all there is to hear about the Titanic, but we don't ever hear about the Lusitania, which sunk during a crossing from the U.S. to Liverpool by a German U-boat or submarine. This book was interesting in the way it gave details. It focused more on the viewpoint of various travelers, the captain, and the U-boat captain instead of just giving facts, making you more invested in finishing the book to learn the outcome of those individuals. You felt like you were experiencing the trip and sinking right along with them. If you want a non-fiction book that pulls you in and doesn't let go till the end, this is the book for you.


Heather B. / Marathon County Public Library
Find this book in our library catalog.

( )
  mcpl.wausau | Sep 25, 2017 |
Larson is the master storyteller and can take one event that lasted 18 minutes and spread it out over 450 pages and still make it spell binding. Larson writes narrative non-fiction. The amount of research that went into this book was staggering. [Dead Wake] seems as if it's a suspense thriller. When reading [Dead Wake] one is never sure what the next chapter will bring: Wilson and Edith Galt's romance in DC, the intelligence operatives who worked in Britain's highly secret Room 40, the very wealthy passengers aboard The Lusitania, or Captain Schweiger of the U Boat 20.

Winston Churchill on Germans attacking the Lusitania and leaving civilians and crew “to perish in open boats or drown amid the waves was in the eyes of all seafaring peoples a grisly act, which hitherto had never been practised except by pirates”.

Larson even takes up the many sides of the historical debate: Was the Lusitania made a sitting duck for the Germans to take down so that the U.S. would enter the war? You will have to read the book to find out!

I highly recommend [Dead Wake]. 450 pages 5 stars ( )
  tess_schoolmarm | Jun 24, 2017 |
Erik Larson is a master of narrative history. In "The Devil in the White City", he wove together the account of the Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago with the tale of H.H. Holmes, America's first known serial killer, to create a vivid portrait of America at the dawn of a new age in industry and technology. Now, in "Dead Wake: the Last Crossing of the Lusitania", he tells the stories of the ill-fated passenger liner and its passengers and crew, the German U-boat that sank it, and the men on shore in the British Admiralty whose decisions help seal the fate of the ship and those aboard her. He examines the factors that helped contribute to the sinking and, although this is history and we readers start with the knowledge that the Lusitania is doomed, Larson's narrative skill is such that the book often reads like a suspense novel.

Larson reveals the existence of Room 40, a closely guarded secret unit of British intelligence in the Admiralty that early in the Great War broke the German naval codes. The British were listening to, and deciphering, all the wireless telegraphy between German coastal stations on the North Sea and their U-boats at sea. The submarines were in the habit of daily reporting of their positions to naval headquarters as long as they were within wireless range of Germany. Thus, British intelligence knew that U-20, commanded by Kapitanleutnant Walther Schwieger, had emerged into the North Sea bound for the British Isles on May 1, 1915, the same day that the Lusitania, of the Cunard line, captained by William Thomas Turner, left New York bound for Liverpool. The Admiralty, under the leadership of Winston Churchill, chose not to keep Captain Turner informed of its tracking of the U-20, and it didn't provide the Lusitania with a warship escort as the liner approached the Irish coast, although a vague warning was sent to Turner of the presence of submarines in the area.

At 2:10 on the afternoon of May 7, 1915, the U-20 sent a torpedo into the side of the Lusitania. The ship sank in less than 20 minutes, within sight of the Irish coast. Almost 1200 of the passengers and crew died, including 123 Americans. Larson explores the aftermath, noting that Churchill had hoped that such an incident would bring the Americans into the war on the side of the Allies- but that it would be another two years before President Woodrow Wilson would finally decide to take the nation to war, chiefly because Germany had re-embarked on a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare, after having backed off for a time after the sinking of the Lusitania.

Larson follows many threads in this study of the Lusitania, including the involvement of passengers in the women's suffrage movement in America and Britain, the hazards of life on an U-boat, and Woodrow Wilson's struggle to cope with the death of his first wife while also dealing with diplomatic crises. With "Dead Wake", we are reminded that human beings, as individuals and in families, were involved in the tragedy of the Lusitania, and that the sinking of the passenger liner in turn helped shape the course of the global tragedy that was the Great War. ( )
  ChuckNorton | Jun 12, 2017 |
All I knew about the Lusitania was that it was torpedoed and in one way or another caused the US to join World War I. But there's a lot more to it. Like other Larson books, this combines multiple stories: the Lusitania itself, the U-Boat that sunk her, the beginnings of British Intelligence, and President Woodrow Wilson's love life, of all things. But it meshes quite well. What really got to me, more than anything else, was how narrowly it all happened. If any number of tiny things had changed at all, the boat would not have gone down, so many lives would not have been lost. All in all a fascinating look at this event and its circumstances, full of rich personal details and anecdotes from the passengers and crew. ( )
  melydia | Jun 2, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 178 (next | show all)
If creating “an experience” is Larson’s primary goal, then “Dead Wake” largely succeeds. There are brisk cameos by Churchill and Woodrow Wilson, desperate flurries of wireless messages and telegrams, quick flashes to London and Berlin. These passages have a crackling, propulsive energy that most other books about the Lusitania — often written for disaster buffs or steampunk aficionados — sorely lack.
added by amarie | editThe New York Times, Hampton Sides (pay site) (Mar 5, 2015)
 
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Epigraph
The Captains are to remember that, whilst they are expected to use every diligence to secure a speedy voyage, they must run no risk which by any possibility might result in accident to their ships. They will ever bear in mind that the safety of the lives and property entrusted to their care is the ruling principle which should govern them in the navigation of their ships, and no supposed gain in expedition, or saving of time on the voyage, is to be purchased at the risk of accident. -"Rules to Be Observed in the Company's Service," The Cunard Steam-Ship Company Limited, March 1913
The first consideration is the safety of the U-boat. -Adm. Reinhard Scheer, Germany's High Sea Fleet in the World War, 1919
Dedication
For Chris, Kristen, Lauren, and Erin
(and Molly and Ralphie, absent, but not forgotten)
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On the night of May 6, 1915, as his ship approached the coast of Ireland, Capt. William Thomas Turner left the bridge and made his way to the first-class lounge, where passengers were taking part in a concert and talent show, a customary feature of Cunard crossings.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307408868, Hardcover)

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author and master of narrative nonfiction comes the enthralling story of the sinking of the Lusitania, published to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the disaster
 
On May 1, 1915, 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 anxious. Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone, and for months, its U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era's great transatlantic "Greyhounds" 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. He knew, moreover, that his ship--the fastest then in service--could outrun any threat.

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, mystery, and real-life suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope Riddle to President 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 that helped place America on the road to war.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:20 -0400)

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