Dead wake The last crossing of the Lusitania

Erik Larson, 1954-

Book - 2014

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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Subjects
Published
New York : Crown Publishers [2014]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
430 pages : maps ; 25 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN
9780307408860
0307408868
9780307408877
0307408876
Main Author
Erik Larson, 1954- (-)
  • Mining suspense
  • A word from the captain
  • "Bloody monkeys"
  • Jump rope and caviar
  • Dead wake
  • The black soul
  • The sea of secrets
  • Epilogue: personal effects.
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* The sinking of the British ocean liner Lusitania in 1915 is one of a trio (including the iceberg-wounded Titanic in 1912 and the Italian liner Andrea Doria, which collided with another liner on the high seas in 1956) of the most dramatic and most remembered maritime disasters of the twentieth century. With the narrative skills shown so effectively in his The Devil in the White City (2003), a lively account of Chicago's 1893 World's Fair, Larson reconstructs the last and fatal voyage of what was widely considered the most beautiful ship of the day, the giant four-stacker Lusitania. Reader engrossment is tightly sustained as we move back and forth between the Lusitania on its return from New York City to its home port of Liverpool under a black cloud of warnings that the imperial German government considered the waters around Britain to be a war zone, and the rapacious German submarine U-20, stalking the seas for prey like a lion on the Serengeti. Factual and personal to a high degree, the narrative reads like a grade-A thriller. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The popularity of Larson's previous books guarantees public-library demand for his latest. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Having racked up four national best sellers (e.g., In the Garden of Beasts) that together have sold more than 5.5 million copies, Larson looks to be on the verge of another blockbuster. His subject? The sinking of the Lusitania, which left New York for Liverpool in May 1915 even as Germany declared British waters to be a war zone. Larson describes the unfolding tragedy while providing, tellingly, the larger American context. Lots of centenary tie-ins; with a ten-city tour. [Page 62]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

When veteran captain William Thomas Turner accepted the pinnacle position within Cunard Steamship Company, commander of the RMS Lusitania, he never imagined the danger that lay ahead. Bestselling author Larson (In the Garden of Beasts; The Devil in the White City) traces the liner's final voyage by intertwining narratives of Turner with those of notable passengers such as Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat, trailblazing architect Theodate Pope, and suffragette Margaret Mackworth. Hardest to shake are descriptions of impulsive Captain Schwieger and his disheveled German crewmates torpedoing vessels, reveling in the shrill of explosions; and imposing British spymaster Blinker Hall stealthily monitoring Schwieger's U-20 as it discreetly, or so it thought, hunted targets. Rounding out the primary cast are a trio of political players: an ambitious Kaiser Wilhelm, a disciplined Winston Churchill, and an infatuated (and ergo distracted) Woodrow Wilson. Using archives on both sides of the Atlantic, Larson describes the Lusitania's ominous delayed departure and its distressing reduced speed. He vividly illustrates how these foreboding factors led to terror, tragedy, and ultimately the Great War. VERDICT Once again, Larson transforms a complex event into a thrilling human interest story. This suspenseful account will entice readers of military and maritime history along with lovers of popular history. [See Prepub Alert, 9/8/14.]—Stephanie Sendaula, Library Journal [Page 92]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

With a narrative as smooth as the titular passenger liner, Larson (In the Garden of Beasts) delivers a riveting account of one of the most tragic events of WWI. The fact a German U-boat sank the Lusitania off the coast of Ireland in May 1915 is undisputed, so Larson crafts the story as historical suspense by weaving information about the war and the development of submarine technology with an interesting cast of characters. He expertly builds tension up to the final encounter. An unanticipated sequence of events put the Lusitania in the path of Capt. Walther Schwieger's U-20, and he didn't hesitate to open fire. The Lusitania's captain, the capable and accomplished William Thomas Turner, did everything in his power to avert the catastrophe, but fate intervened, taking the lives of 1,195 passengers and crew members, including 123 Americans. Despite the stunning loss of life, President Woodrow Wilson held firm to American neutrality in the war, at least in 1915. Larson convincingly constructs his case for what happened and why, and by the end, we care about the individual passengers we've come to know—a blunt reminder that war is, at its most basic, a matter of life and death. Illus. Agent: David Black, David Black Literary Agency. (Mar.) [Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A chronicle of the sinking of the Lusitania discusses the factors that led to the tragedy and the contributions of such figures as Woodrow Wilson, bookseller Charles Lauriat, and architect Theodate Pope Riddle.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

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. Includes two maps.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Author Erik Larson has written several best-selling works of narrative nonfiction. In this accessible account for general readers, he offers a chronological narrative of the sinking of the luxury ocean liner the Lusitania in May 1915. Alternating between German and British civilian, military, and government perspectives, the author uses techniques of suspense and romance, while drawing on primary sources. Throughout the book, anything in quotes comes from real-life sources such as memoirs, letters, telegrams, or other historical documents. Annotation ©2015 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)

Review by Publisher Summary 4

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the bestselling author and master of narrative nonfiction comes the enthralling story of the sinking of the Lusitania“Both terrifying and enthralling.”—Entertainment Weekly“Thrilling, dramatic and powerful.”—NPR“Thoroughly engrossing.”—George R.R. MartinOn May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, 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 surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds”—the fastest liner then in service—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. 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 and suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope to President Woodrow 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 whose intimate details and true meaning have long been obscured by history.Finalist for the Washington State Book Award • One of the Best Books of the Year: The Washington Post, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Miami Herald, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, LibraryReads, Indigo