It’s funny how you think you know something about history, but you find you really don’t. Erik Larson’s book Dead Wake brings to life the harrowing tale of the Lusitania, and its effect on America and World War I. This author is the master of narrative nonfiction, and his writing will keep you turning pages. May 1, 1915, the Lusitania, the crown jewel of the Cunard Line, set sail from New York to Liverpool with close to 2000 people aboard, including a record number of women and children. Passengers were at ease despite the increased German U-boat attacks in the North Atlantic. America had stayed out of the World War after ten months with no inclination to join.
Cover blurb – 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.
We meet the real life passengers aboard ship and care about their lives. We meet the captain, William Thomas Turner, a knowledgeable seamen. And the U-boat captain Walther Schwieger, an aggressive fighter with no qualms about changing the game of war. Who would aim and shoot a torpedo at a boat carrying civilians? Why was the Lusitania not traveling at its highest rate of speed through dangerous war zone waters? What information was sent and how was the data interpreted?
Dead Wake is a thriller, only it’s a true story. We see President Woodrow Wilson, a man in mourning, at the helm of a nation. And we see the convergence of disaster as U-20 glides underwater to blast the Lusitania. You will hold your breath and gasp at the frigid Atlantic temperature as you fight for your life reliving the anguish and fascinating story in Dead Wake.