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Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
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Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania


#1 New York Times Bestseller

From the bestselling author and master of narrative nonfiction comes the enthralling story of the sinking of the Lusitania

On 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.

Title:Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:430 pages

    Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania Reviews

  • Jill
    Jan 18, 2015

    When a new Erik Larson arrives, I drop everything and read it. In my book, he’s one of the few authors who can make history positively come alive. And his opening note held forth a big promise: “I...

  • Jeffrey Keeten
    Nov 19, 2015

    ”He saw the body of the torpedo moving well ahead of the wake, through water he described as being ‘a beautiful green.’ The torpedo ‘was covered with a silvery phosphorescence, you might term ...

  • Will Byrnes
    May 24, 2015

    Dead Wake is named a 2015 notable non fiction book by the Washington Post The track lingered on the surface like a long pale scar. In maritime vernacular, the trail of fading disturbance, whether fr...

  • Diane S ?
    Oct 27, 2014

    Larson writes wonderful narrative non fiction, and in this book he has surpassed his own self. The amount of research that went into this book is staggering. It doesn't just cover the bombing of the L...

  • Matt
    Apr 07, 2015

    When I came across a radio interview with Erik Larson, talking about his new Lusitania book, Dead Wake, I knew I had to have it. I was excited. Like, I’m going to buy this on my phone as soon as I p...

  • Kemper
    Dec 01, 2015

    This reminded me a lot of the movie Titantic not just because it’s about a disaster at sea, but also it would have been a lot shorter and better without the romantic subplot. Only in this case it wa...

  • Dem
    Mar 17, 2015

    "The Devil is in the detail" and Erik Larson's Dead wake : The last crossing of the Lusitania is certainly packed full of detail but details that for me made this book such a worthwhile read. Living...

  • Mona
    Mar 23, 2015

    Excellent Retelling of the Sinking of the LusitaniaI don't read a lot of nonfiction.But Erik Larson's books read like novels.He's an excellent writer. He choses historical events that contain a compel...

  • Elyse
    Dec 08, 2014

    Wow....This is an all-embracing historical heartbreak story....a tragedy that could have been avoided. The seas were a war zone ..Right from the start, we learn that their were delays leaving New York...

  • Stephanie
    Apr 06, 2015

    4 stars. Great book on the sinking of the Lusitania which brings people and events alive! I am going to keep this short, as over 6,600 others have reviewed this fabulous work on GR!OverviewMay 7, 1915...