Dead Wake

On May 7, 1915, the Lusitania sank in the waters off of the coast of Ireland after having been torpedoed by a German U-boat.  It took all of eighteen minutes for the Lusitania to sink.  There were 1,959 passengers and crew aboard the Lusitania, but only 764 of those passengers and crew survived.  There were 1,195 passengers and crew that perished, but the bodies of more than half of those that perished were never found.  Out of all of the casualties, 123 were Americans.  World War I had just begun, although the United States had not yet entered the war.

With such more already known about the sinking of the Lusitania, how does an author still manage to create a factually accurate and compelling narrative of the sinking of the Lusitania?  Erik Larson has done it by meticulously researching every available fact about the sinking of the Lusitania, dispelling myths, and telling us more about the passengers and crew of the Lusitania, the captain and crew of the U-boat that torpedoed the Lusitania, and the world military and political leaders in power at the time.  The result is a literary transport back into time, and onto the shipboard deck of the Lusitania.

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