disclaimer: I received the following book for free from Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest opinions. All opinions remain my own.
"Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania"
by Erik Larson
So we all know of the tragedy of the Titanic, but did you ever hear of the Lusitania? If the name sounds familiar then you probably remember hearing that it was a ship that had been torpedoed during World War I. But did you know that it too was a passenger ship, one that was fully loaded with men, women, and children all on their way to England? Well that is what Erik Larson sets out to tell us about in this book.
Passengers knew of the danger of submarines before even setting out for the journey but many believed that a ship as big as the Lusitania would have nothing to fear. Besides, they believed that once they reached the more dangerous waters that they would be being escorted with military ships from England to protect them. Little did they know that there would be no such escort and that fate would bring them to the right place at the wrong time that fateful May day.
The English had acquired code books of the German's and had organized a group of specialists to work on deciphering them in a room called "Room 40". The specialists had deciphered multiple messages regarding submarine activity in the general area that the Lusitania was headed but yet no escort was sent. They had actually been deciphering messages from the submarine that would in a weeks time be the one who would sink the Lusitania with just one torpedo, the submarine known as U-20.
Captain Turner had a couple delays at the beginning of his voyage that could have affected the outcome, along with some fog which if it had stayed for just a half hour longer may also have saved so many lives.
Learn about the folks who perished and those who were saved, find out how just one submarine torpedo took down this mighty ship, how will President Wilson respond to the disaster. Find out all of this and more in "Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania"
Mommy in PA: This was one of those reviews where I could have just typed and typed until my fingers fell off. So much information, but in a very enjoyable format. I never knew history could be so fun.
You can tell that Mr. Larson spent a lot of time researching personal artifacts, letters, books, etc. to get the feeling that you really know these passengers. His way of writing really puts you on that deck with those folks the very second they see the torpedo coming through the water. You can feel the fear they had while they are trying to decide whether to attempt to get on a life boat or wait it out to see if she will stay afloat. You even feel their sadness when the survivors are searching for their loved ones in the make-shift morgues.
I was amazed by the fact that there were so many who didn't know how to even put on their life vests properly (what a terrible way to die), it was also shocking that there were so many people who were never claimed by their loved ones. And the haunting part about others that were never found.
It's sad to know that we learned so much about the Titanic disaster but so little about the Lusitania. So many lives lost and in the case of the Lusitania there were ways it could have been avoided.
This is the type of book that makes you want to go out and do some more research yourself. He cites so many wonderful sources that he used to get his information, it is totally amazing the amount of research he did and all the places he had to go to do so.
There is just so much information in this book that I have no idea what to touch on next so I will just leave the reading to you, you will not be disappointed.