Dead Wake by Erik Larson

The last crossing of the Lusitania gets a vivid, dramatic telling in this superb volume. This was my first go with Mr. Larson, but I found his writing matched the superlative blurbs I’ve seen for his other books. My knowledge was limited on the Lusitania, so learning and exciting reading met together here.

The book never drags and is filled with tension throughout as you know what is coming. We meet several of the passengers, see the dynamics of personality of Captain Turner, and back office workings of the Cunard ship company. You get to know them to the point that their fate during the actual sinking is high drama. The scene of the dead wake itself, the torpedoe coming across the water and being seen by many, is well done too.

 We learn of Room 40 and what the Admiralty, including Churchill, knew about the U-boats. They could not tip their hand and risk losing the Germans knowing about the codes that they had broken. Then, from German records of the captain of U-20, we watch the story unfold from their perspective. We learn too of complications because of war that added to the horror of the event that could have possibly been avoided. 

In a few paragraphs here and there President Wilson’s story is brought into the story. You will be convinced his budding romance had a great effect on what he did during these critical events.

Though this volume can hold its own with a great novel, I truly believe it passes the test of being well researched as well. Though Mr. Larson made some good conclusions, he seemed to strive make you and I able to make our own. The book succeeded on every level (except the attractive book needed pictures) and I highly recommend it as 5-star plus!

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.    


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