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Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the…

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania (edition 2016)

by Erik Larson (Author)

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3,4042342,689 (4.16)283
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)
Title:Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
Authors:Erik Larson (Author)
Info:Broadway Books (2016), Edition: Reprint, 480 pages
Collections:Your library

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


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Showing 1-5 of 231 (next | show all)
I had previously read The Devil in the White City and very much enjoyed it. I like the narrative history approach where I can learn something about a time and place as well as certain events while also enjoying a good story. Erik Larson delivered on that experience for me once, so I was interested in giving him another chance. I put it off for a while, though, thinking like many that I would be reading a story I already knew. But Dead Wake proved me wrong. There were important details, decisions and risks of which I was not aware that left me with a much richer understanding of the event.

I do think Larson had a much different challenge in telling this story than he did with The Devil in the White City. With "The Devil" he could focus on relatively few characters and still tell the whole story. Also, he had some large back stories that he could switch between as he slowly brought the threads together in end. With Dead Wake Larson only had a few major players to follow closely, primarily William Turner, the captain of the Lusitania, and Walther Schweiger, the captain of the German U-boat but then had to account for over 2,000 passengers and crew. There were some other characters that Larson chose to follow, but they were mostly there to add depth to the story. There were certain points where Larson has to try to provide broad insight into the passengers and their experiences aboard the Lusitania. He does this admirably well, given the challenge, but I was left at times feeling like I had just caught a glimpse of someone as they were rounding a corner, never to be seen again.

In the end, though, I learned quite a bit in reading Dead Wake and enjoyed doing so. Just what I was looking for. ( )
  afkendrick | Oct 24, 2020 |
I enjoyed reading this book by Erik Larson. It was very slow at times but Larson is so detailed and careful that he actually knows what half the passengers packed in their staterooms, and tells you details like that. Once the torpedo was finally fired it picked up and I finished in quickly. ( )
  klnbennett | Oct 7, 2020 |
Larson digs into the remarkable story of the sinking of the Lusitania. It was during WWI and the German government had issued warnings that they would be patrolling an area by the British Isles and they would attack any ships bearing the British crest. At the time, submarines were not thought to be a big threat. Many did not understand their capabilities in war time.

The tale written here explores the design and construction of the ship itself (design decisions that hastened its demise), the life of the experienced captain, the forces pushing it forward into dangerous waters. It is a detailed history that is fascinating to read. ( )
  slojudy | Sep 8, 2020 |
Erik Larson can make history come alive. He really tells this story well. I will read all of his books.

I was amazed at the wealth of knowledge I gained about this horrible and interesting period of history. The lives and stories of the passengers and crew give us a full accounting of this event.

WWI was the last of the great wars fought by Europe's aristocracy. For hundreds of years the Kings and Queens of Europe had sent the peasants to the battle field for empire expansion. WWI was no different. Germany's decision to attack civilian ships could draw America into the war but they did it anyway. The sinking of the Lusitania was a major straw in breaking the camels back. ( )
  ikeman100 | Sep 6, 2020 |
Probably if you have any interest in history you have heard the name Lusitania mentioned. You might also relate the name to a critical event around WWI. Before delving deeply into history as a kid you might say I thought the sinking of the Lusitania was the reason America entered WWI. Well this misconception and several others are cleared up in this very interesting and well researched and written book. Like all Erik Larson's books, this one brings to life events of which we might be casually aware and brings the to life in our minds. The stories are relevant, human and pertinent. What use to be old stodgy 'something to do with history' becomes a story we can understand populated by people that Erik Larson allows us to glimpse during their fateful voyage.

By far what I found most interesting about this story is the lack of involvement of the Royal Navy in a situation, basically in their home waters, where it was known that submarines were lurking waiting to attack any ship unfortunate enough to sail through the narrow St George channel. Some how a feeling ran in and out throughout the book was that the British and Royal Navy were more interested in hiding their ability to decode the German navy's codes and were willing to let one of the greatest ocean liners, of its day, sail into harms way even while the Royal Navy had sufficient vessels in the area with which to escort the Lusitania. Whether this is correct or not is hard to say but the sinking did start to push the United States towards a footing which ultimately lead to their entering the war against the Axis Powers.

Often I have to be in the right mood to read and hence enjoy certain genre and this one is one of those that I put off until I was in the mood. Why I mention this, is a discussion I had with a casual acquaintance about good books we had recently read. My acquaintance has just finished it and simply raved about it, being candid they were not a history buff but were given the book as a gift, and strongly recommended it since they knew I enjoyed history. I had this book sitting on the 'to read' shelves for sometime and kept thinking I need to read this soon. The discussion pushed me in the right direction and I am very glad I followed their advise. Do believe if someone enjoys good intelligent literature they should put this on their 'to read' list. ( )
  can44okie | Aug 28, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 231 (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)

» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Larson, ErikAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brick, ScottNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.

Germany's High Sea Fleet in the World War, 1919
For Chris, Kristen, Lauren, and Erin
(and Molly and Ralphie, absent, but not forgotten)
First words
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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.

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