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Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

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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 & 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—& 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, & 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 & the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small—hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, & more—all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.


"Larson is a journalist who writes non-fiction books that read like novels, real page-turners. This one is no exception. I had known a lot about the Titanic but little about the Lusitania. This filled in those gaps... this one is pretty damned good. Thoroughly engrossing."—George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones

Named a best book of the year by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Miami Herald, Goodreads, Library Journal, Kirkus, Indigo, and more