The sinking of the Lusitania is one of those events that has long fascinated me, so I couldn’t resist venturing outside of my normal fiction reading when I saw bestselling author Eric Larson’s new narrative non-fiction book, Dead Wake. Larson is known for not just doing thorough research but for finding interesting stories buried within the dry facts of history. Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania is no exception to that. Larson really brings to life the suspenseful events surrounding the promise of this luxury cruise ship and its tragic fate on May 1, 1915 while sailing from New York to England. He even includes a bit of romance along the way.
I’m not going to include a synopsis like I normally would because I’m trying to write this with a renovation crew swarming around me and because I think World War I history speaks for itself. Let’s just say that I felt like I was traveling along with the Lusitania’s passengers on that fateful trip, which was fascinating and quite a bit unsettling. The passengers and crew came to life for me on the pages of Dead Wake – and not just the Lusitania’s inhabitants but also the German U-boat captain and crew as well as members of British Intelligence. And let’s not forget the role Mother Nature played.
Being able to look at what was happening from all sides in the hotly contested wartime North Atlantic waters with the power of hindsight was unsettling because decisions made that seemed perfectly logical at the time soon carried far greater weight. I could see some of the puzzle pieces begin to slowly fall into place and felt so helpless to intervene. Maybe that’s why I read so little non-fiction, because I always want to rush in to save the day like some fictional superwoman. Note to self: Must really do a reality check to try to get over that odd quirk.
Bottom Line: I genuinely liked the people in this book, historical figures and everyday folks like you and me. I felt Dead Wake was incredibly well researched yet it read like a great piece of fiction. I found myself wishing it was fiction instead of something that was so tragically real. It also contained good lessons on the ramifications of seemingly small decisions at every level; personal, governmental, and corporate. If it helps to know this, Dead Wake is a New York Times #1 bestseller so I’m not the only one who has been captivated by it. If it sounds like something you’d like, be sure to enter our giveaway and tell friends who might like this kind of book. I think you’ll find it’s every bit as captivating as any historical fiction you’ve read!
Can’t wait to read it?
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Eric Larson was published on March 10, 2015, so it’s available from your favorite online bookseller below (or in the right column for iBooks).
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One lucky reader will win an ARC (advance readers copy) of Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson!
1) The deadline for entries is Saturday night, 5/30/2015, at 11:59pm EDST. No entries after that date/time will be eligible.
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