Dead Wake by Erik Larson

Dead Wake

Reviewed by Pat Plamann (Library Staff)

It’s hard to imagine a world where war had its “gentlemanly” rules such as passenger ships being safe from attack in enemy waters, but the Lusitania sailed the seas of that world. However, WWI was the start of that rule changing, and the unthinkable was about to occur.

In Dead Wake, Mr. Larson leads us through life aboard this luxury ocean liner leaving New York, and the lives of many of its passengers, both confident and content despite the fact that they are headed to London, where Germany has declared the seas around Britain a war zone.

The tension builds, as Larson writes not only of the passengers aboard the Lusitania, the crew and its Captain Turner, but also the conditions aboard U-20, the German submarine. We all know what happens, but Larson unfolds the details most of us never knew. Was it one torpedo or two? Had you ever heard of Room 40 and its secrets? Was this sinking avoidable? It’s a great read, and you will find yourself glued to this one!

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