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Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the…

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

by Erik Larson (Author), Scott Brick (Narrator), Random House Audio (Publisher)

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2,5611952,347 (4.17)234
Title:Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
Authors:Erik Larson (Author)
Other authors:Scott Brick (Narrator), Random House Audio (Publisher)
Info:Random House Audio (2015)
Collections:Your library
Tags:history, non-fiction, Lusitania, WW1, Uboats, Germany

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Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson


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Showing 1-5 of 196 (next | show all)
Another of the nonfiction memoirs that reads like fiction. ( )
  DanDiercks | Jun 21, 2018 |
This book was quite simply phenomenal.

[a: Erik Larson|5869|Erik Larson|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1304371037p2/5869.jpg] is an incredible writer. I've read a couple of books by him before and found them engaging, quick paced, (though the latter-half of [b: Thunderstruck|40067|Thunderstruck|Erik Larson|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1435981040s/40067.jpg|1757108] is far superior to the former) and startlingly informative. [b: Dead Wake|22551730|Dead Wake The Last Crossing of the Lusitania|Erik Larson|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1408923747s/22551730.jpg|42009388] was no different, but with the added addition of being on a topic I knew a small bit about before - or at least thought I did.

Larson writes that the sinking of the Lusitania is a largely forgotten event in the American psyche. Children are taught of it in the form of one or two paragraphs, if that, in a history book. It marks the entrance of America into WWI due to the death of civilians... and that is it. No more, no less. [b: Dead Wake|22551730|Dead Wake The Last Crossing of the Lusitania|Erik Larson|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1408923747s/22551730.jpg|42009388] proves the above facts largely wrong, America didn't enter WWI until two years after the sinking, and puts to question nearly everything else about the events surrounding it. Yes, it was sunk by a German U-Boat. Did we know of the threat beforehand? Was it allowed to be destroyed? These are just two of the questions the book raises, and largely answers, though ultimately the truth is somewhat lost to history.

The book weaves the history of the ship and the U-Boat that sank it from the perspectives of captains and passengers. It's a bit of a mystery, learning who lived and who died over the course of the book and by the end of it I found myself tearing up with some who were lost. This isn't just a great book, nor just a fascinating one. This is truly an important book that can bring home just how real history was, how deeply it affected the lives of those who lived it, and how truly harrowing war-time experience.

Everyone should read this book. ( )
  Lepophagus | Jun 14, 2018 |
Another masterful tale by Erik Larson. As with his other works, Larson does a wonderful job of setting the stage for what became an event of historic importance. Larson's research into the event, and the people involved - from the crew and passengers on the Lusitania, to the captain of the German u-boat U-20 - helped to make for a compelling and insightful read. The amount of detail that Larson provides allows you to immerse yourself in the world of 1915 and the sailing of the massive liner, and the tragic events that resulted in her last crossing. ( )
  GeoffHabiger | Jun 13, 2018 |
We listened to this on the drive from Arkansas to Michigan yesterday. It's a fascinating book, although I did not care for the way that Larson wrote it. Larson's propensity for foreshadowing lent the whole drive a slightly foreboding air; I kept imagining the reader saying something like "Little did they know just how fateful that lunch at Long John Silver's would prove to be" or "But it would not be the last time they saw the blue car with five Tea Party bumper stickers." (The reader's tendency to pronounce everything, even the description of a small boy's playtime attire, as if it signified something Very Serious did not help in this regard.) It's also somewhat repetitive, to the point that "Wanamaker's life belt" may well become a family catchphrase. But it held our attention for the whole drive, and at one point I became absolutely furious at the British Admiralty for their actions and inactions a century ago. (By the end, I was angrier at the British Admiralty than I was at the Germans who torpedoed the ship.) And isn't fury at the British Admiralty the truest indicator of a great roadtrip book? ( )
  GaylaBassham | May 27, 2018 |
Sometimes I find myself wondering about historical what-ifs. Like, what if Adolf Hitler's art career had taken off and he'd never gotten involved in politics? What if Joseph Stalin had gotten in a bar brawl as a young man and been killed? What if Lee Harvey Oswald had gotten a bad stomach flu the day that JFK visited Dallas and spent the whole day in the bathroom? Our history, our whole world would have been a very different place. But different is not necessarily the same as better, and you never know if that alternate history would have ended up even worse somehow (although it's hard to imagine so in some cases).

Since it came so close to not happening at all, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand is one of the most tempting what-ifs of all. Do we look back on World War I now and see Europe as a powder keg ready to blow, with the assassination as just the spark that happened to ignite it? Sure. But maybe there never would have been a spark at all. Maybe there would have been a diplomatic solution to the problem. Maybe not, and maybe it very well could have been something else that pushed it all over the edge. But we live in this world, where World War I did happen, and in the course of that war, the Lusitania was torpedoed and sunk.

I didn't know anything about the ship (or honestly, much about the war or the players) before I started reading this book. My history major husband was able to fill in some of the blanks for me, but most of what I now know about the time period and the Lusitania and the circumstances that led to it being torpedoed and sank came from Erik Larson's Dead Wake. The information is well-researched and well-presented. Larson takes multiple threads: the ship, its captain and crew, some of the passengers, the u-boat that sunk it and its captain, President Woodrow Wilson trying to keep America out of the war, British naval intelligence, and draws them together, weaving the story slowly and surely towards the sinking. You know it's coming, but Larson masterfully creates tension with his narrative and the torpedoing feels like a shock.

Oftentimes historical non-fiction (especially when it's about military events) feels academic, but Dead Wake reads like a story that just happens to be real. I was glad to get the opportunity to read more about World War I in a way that was engaging and compelling...it's piqued my interest in the time period, and isn't that what good writing should do? Make you want to learn and read even more? I know I'll be looking to acquire copies of the rest of Larson's work (I already have a few, but I want them all!) so I can enjoy his wonderful storytelling. This is a true non-fiction novel and honestly a joy to read. ( )
  500books | May 22, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 196 (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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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
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)

The #1 New York Times best-selling author of In the Garden of Beasts presents a 100th-anniversary chronicle of the sinking of the Lusitania that discusses the factors that led to the tragedy and the contributions of such figures as President Wilson, bookseller Charles Lauriat and architect Theodate Pope Riddle.… (more)

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