Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

Thursday, April 23, 2015
Erik Larson
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

As World War I entered its tenth month, transatlantic shipping was becoming a dangerous business. The German submarine fleet was doing its best to disrupt British naval traffic as well as any boats thought to be concealing troops and munitions bound for the war effort. Up to this point, civilian passenger ships and those from neutral countries were generally considered off limits, but Germany was determined to change the rules of the game. On May 1, 1915 the luxury liner Lusitania sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool with a record number of women and children aboard. It was considered the fastest ship on the seas and it was generally thought that it would be able to outrun any U-boat attack.

In Dead Wake, Erik Larson brings to life the story of the forces that lead to the ultimate demise of the Lusitania. The cast of characters ranges from captains of both the Lusitania and the German U-boat, to some of the colorful passengers, to President Woodrow Wilson as he tries to maintain American neutrality but is eventually led to declare war.  This was a very intriguing read about a subject that I remember as being touched on only briefly in history class as a trigger to U.S. involvement in the war. I highly recommend it. Check the catalog.

Sue A., Reference

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