Dead Wake: The Last Crossing Of The Lusitania by Erik LarsonDead Wake: The Last Crossing Of The Lusitania by Erik Larsonsticker-burst

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing Of The Lusitania

byErik Larson

Hardcover | March 10, 2015

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#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.

Heather's Review

Scholars may argue whether history is driven by sweeping trends or individual events, but the truth of it never matters to the living, breathing people who find themselves caught up in tragedy and war, events future generations will memorialize and debate. For the 1,959 passengers and crew aboard the ocean liner Lusitania, May 7 1915...

see all heather's picks
Erik Larson is the author of five national bestsellers, including The Devil in the White City and In the Garden of Beasts, which have collectively sold more than 6.5 million copies. His books have been published in seventeen countries.
Title:Dead Wake: The Last Crossing Of The LusitaniaFormat:HardcoverDimensions:448 pages, 9.62 × 6.4 × 1.4 inPublished:March 10, 2015Publisher:Crown/ArchetypeLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307408868

ISBN - 13:9780307408860

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Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not my favourite Larson book, but still an important story I know what to expect with Eric Larson, since this is the third of his books I've read. It's not my favourite, (I prefer In The Garden of Beasts, and The Devil in the White City) but still tells an important story largely unknown about the "hunter" and the "hunted" in the sinking of the Lisituiana.
Date published: 2018-01-15
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Good for what it actually is Which is non-fiction for people who don't have the patience/intellect/... to read books without a narrative.
Date published: 2017-12-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from decent this was a decent read - not my favorite, but still pretty good
Date published: 2017-09-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great! His writing is so good you sometimes forget you are reading a non fiction book. Very engaging and detailed
Date published: 2017-04-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very good Excellent retelling of this tragedy.
Date published: 2017-04-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good book A good reminder that this sinking took place over a year before the US entered the war!
Date published: 2017-01-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Historical Fiction done Right Not usually a fan of WW1 history (or any books relating to war) but this was a very well told story that was engaging from the first page. Larson was able to bring the characters to life - the passengers on the doomed ship. I really enjoyed it. I would have liked to have seen a few photos (such as the boat interior/exterior) and maybe a diagram of a U-Boat would have been useful too. But overall a great read!
Date published: 2016-02-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from My first Larson book Probably the easiest way to say what I thought of this book is to say that since I've read two more of Larson's books. I think I still like this one the best. The sinking of the Lusitania had a big impact on world events, moreso than the other two books that I've read of his (Devil in the White City and Midnight in the Garden of Beasts) and I think that provides a better scope for his work than those other books. WWI gets forgotten, but the machinations that went on during it, including the use of submarine warfare have had effects that we are still feeling today. This book which provides a look into what all went into the sinking of the Lusitania provides some much needed color to a small part of a huge conflict that was very easily read.
Date published: 2015-10-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely fantastic! My favourite Larson book so far! This is easily the best book I've read so far this year. And it comes as no surprise because I've always enjoyed Erik Larson's work. I've read most of his previously published nonfiction books in the past and Dead Wake is my very favourite of the lot. This book shocked me, angered me, devastated me and kept me absolutely riveted from start to finish. I managed to read the entire thing in just a couple of days and that's very unusual for me when it comes to reading nonfiction books (I tend to read nonfiction slower than I do regular fiction because there tends to be a lot more information to take in when reading about historical events). Dead Wake tells the story of British passenger liner Lusitania and its sinking at the hands of a German submarine during the first world war. Larson has a unique ability to make nonfiction read like fiction and no matter his subject, his narrative is always really engrossing and fast-paced. In anyone else's hands, this could have ended up a very dry and lackluster book but Larson injects so much life into his tale and really makes the reader form emotional bonds to each and every real life person he mentions. The thing that makes the story of the Lusitania's sinking so devastatingly horrific is the fact that the cruise ship was carrying innocent passengers who had absolutely nothing to do with the conflict being fought in Europe and Russia. Nearly 1,200 innocent people (a great deal of them children) lost their lives when the Lusitania was torpedoed off the coast of Ireland in May 1915. At a certain point towards the end of the book, I felt so physically ill and was practically on the verge of weeping that I had to put the book down for half an hour to compose myself. Once I had gathered my wits, I picked it up again and finished the book within twenty minutes. What a powerful and moving story this was! I am SO glad I finally picked this book up - I really shouldn't have waited so long. I think it goes without saying that I can't wait for Larson's next nonfiction release!
Date published: 2015-08-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best book about lusitania. What Walter Lord did for Titanic now Larson does for Lusitania. Couldn't put it down and sad to finish it.
Date published: 2015-08-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Classic Erik Larson. Such a great writer. Meticulous and suspenseful. Can't wait for his next book!
Date published: 2015-05-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Captivating and meticulously researched Scholars may argue whether history is driven by sweeping trends or individual events, but the truth of it never matters to the living, breathing people who find themselves caught up in tragedy and war, events future generations will memorialize and debate. For the 1,959 passengers and crew aboard the ocean liner Lusitania, May 7 1915 was just another day before a torpedo was spotted speeding towards the ship, ending more than half their lives and turning all of them – from the Captain to the young sailors to the children playing among the deck chairs – into figures for the history books. Erik Larson, author of The Devil in the White City and In the Garden of Beasts, has a genius for diving into corners of the past and telling lost stories as if he were right there, listening to every conversation, understanding the hopes and failings of people who have been gone for decades. In Dead Wake he takes us back one hundred years to the beginning of the First World War, moving from the carnage of the trenches in France to the confines of a submarine beneath the North Sea to the halls of power in London, Washington, and Berlin, and finally to the ordinary people preparing for the week-long voyage from New York to Liverpool on the fastest passenger ship of the day. Personal letters, ship’s logs, and official reports let us into the minds of the gruff, stoic captain of the Lusitania, the relentless, remorseless captain of the German submarine U-20, a heartbroken and later love-struck President Woodrow Wilson, and the driven, determined head of Britain’s navy, Winston Churchill. Most of all Larson’s meticulous research gives the passengers of the Lusitania back their humanity – in the pages of Dead Wake they are no longer statistics, but once again living people. Was the sinking of the Lusitania a major reason the United States entered the war? Perhaps. Were the British intentionally careless in their defense of the ship, hoping to draw the Americans into the conflict? We may never know. But I do know that after reading Dead Wake you will never forget the lives of Theodate Pope of Connecticut, architect and feminist, ahead of her time; Charles Lauriat Jr. the bookseller from Boston; or Dwight Harris of New York, traveling to finally put a ring on the finger of his fiancé. These are their stories, Dead Wake is for them.
Date published: 2015-04-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read Larson writes a great book, and this is no exception. He makes it personal by telling us the stories of survivors and victims. There are still questions about the tragedy but you are left in a better position to ask the questions. I will re-read this title.
Date published: 2015-03-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A must-read for history buffs and literary fiction lovers alike This is a lengthy, detailed, in-depth narrative exploration of historic events. As such, the pacing (at least at first glance) seems a little odd - it takes 140 pages for the Lusitania to leave port, and 250 pages for it to begin sinking. The story is almost Dickensian in the way Larson spends so many pages talking about minor characters and their stories, but that's part of its appeal. It's those passengers, crew, politicians, and more who bring the Lusitania to life, who humanize the tragedy, and who make us care about a ship that sank 100 years ago. If you thought you knew the story of the Lusitania - sunk by a German U-boat, propelling the US into WWII - then prepare to be surprised. There were so many circumstances and events on both sides of the Atlantic that set the stage for such a tragedy that it's sometimes hard to believe. If this were a fictional novel, few would ever buy into the sequence of coincidences, and even fewer would ever believe that officials could be so obtuse and callous in their decisions. If there's such a thing as destiny, then the Lusitania was certainly destined to sink. It's a story that casts an uncomfortable shadow on people like President Wilson and Winston Churchill, and an equally uncomfortable sort of light on the German U-boat commanders. It humanizes everyone, makes you regret the weaknesses and distractions of the 'good' guys, and makes you sympathize (at least a little) with some of the 'bad' guys. Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania is a story that vindicates Captain William Thomas Turner, a man who was excessively demonized and portrayed as an incompetent coward in order to isolate officials from blame, and to protect state secrets. It all comes back to those callous decisions. Had they released just one piece of precious information, given Turner just one single line of advice or warning, nearly 1200 lives would unquestionably been saved. It's not just a matter of "what if?" but more a matter of "if only." It's also a story that casts some doubt on history's portrayal of Captain Walther Schwieger as a cold-blooded murder, letting us experience the tragedy from his unique perspective at the periscope. Larson is unquestionably fair in his portrayal of the German U-boat captain, putting blame squarely on his shoulders, but also allowing some cracks to show in his stoic exterior - especially as he watches the silent catastrophe from beneath the water, and then chooses to silently turn for home, rather than fire a second shot. While it's a long time coming, the actual sinking of the Lusitania is as chilling for the circumstances as for the behavior of the passengers. Larson shows us faces of unimaginable calm in the face of impending danger, with casual conversations and lazy movements contrasted against the speed with which the ship listed and sank. There's so much 'prim and proper' going on that it'd comical, were we not already aware of their fates. At the same time, he puts us right into the heart of chaos and confusion, with heartbreaking scenes of horror and tragedy - such as when a passenger forces a lifeboat to be prematurely launched, crushing the passenger and drowning those on board. It's an experience even darker than that of the Titanic sinking, with passengers worried not just about the cold and the water, but also terrified that the U-boat might still be within range to begin shooting survivors. Utterly fascinating, and more than a little sickening to realize how much could (and should) have been done to save so many lives Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania is a must-read for history buffs and literary fiction lovers alike. They say truth is stranger than fiction, and the sad tale of this great ocean liner proves that once again.
Date published: 2015-03-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Emotional punches at the end. Jesus wept. From history class and the subtitle, we all know how this story ends, yet Erik Larson pulls from history's wreckage all the drama and suspense of the final weeks of the Lusitania. The switching perspectives between hunter submarine and the luxury liner shorten, and quicken pace, as the fateful moment approaches. And then the emotional punches of the disaster: children lost, families torn apart, the broken captains, and the grisly task of honouring the recovered dead. All stories and images that will haunt you long after the last page.
Date published: 2014-11-08

Read from the Book

A WORD FROM THE CAPTAINOn the night of May 6, 1915, as his ship approached the coast of Ireland, Capt. William Thomas Turner left the bridge and made his way to the first-class lounge, where passengers were taking part in a concert and talent show, a customary feature of Cunard crossings. The room was large and warm, paneled in mahogany and carpeted in green and yellow, with two fourteen-foot-tall fireplaces in the front and rear walls. Ordinarily Turner avoided events of this kind aboard ship, because he disliked the social obligations of captaincy, but tonight was no ordinary night, and he had news to convey.There was already a good deal of tension in the room, despite the singing and piano playing and clumsy magic tricks, and this became more pronounced when Turner stepped forward at intermission. His presence had the perverse effect of affirming everything the passengers had been fearing since their departure from New York, in the way that a priest’s arrival tends to undermine the cheery smile of a nurse.It was Turner’s intention, however, to provide reassurance. His looks helped. With the physique of a bank safe, he was the embodiment of quiet strength. He had blue eyes and a kind and gentle smile, and his graying hair—he was fifty-eight years old—-conveyed wisdom and experience, as did the mere fact of his being a Cunard captain. In accord with Cunard’s practice of rotating -captains from ship to ship, this was his third stint as the Lusitania’s master, his first in wartime.Turner now told his audience that the next day, Friday, May 7, the ship would enter waters off the southern coast of Ireland that were part of a “zone of war” designated by Germany. This in itself was anything but news. On the morning of the ship’s departure from New York, a notice had appeared on the shipping pages of New York’s newspapers. Placed by the German Embassy in Washington, it reminded readers of the existence of the war zone and cautioned that “vessels flying the flag of Great Britain, or of any of her allies, are liable to destruction” and that travelers sailing on such ships “do so at their own risk.” Though the warning did not name a particular vessel, it was widely interpreted as being aimed at Turner’s ship, the Lusitania, and indeed in at least one prominent newspaper, the New York World, it was positioned adjacent to Cunard’s own advertisement for the ship. Ever since, about all the passengers had been doing was “thinking, dreaming, sleeping, and eating submarines,” according to Oliver Bernard, a theater-set designer traveling in first class.Turner now revealed to the audience that earlier in the evening the ship had received a warning by wireless of fresh submarine activity off the Irish coast. He assured the audience there was no need for alarm.Coming from another man, this might have sounded like a baseless palliative, but Turner believed it. He was skeptical of the threat posed by German submarines, especially when it came to his ship, one of the great transatlantic “greyhounds,” so named for the speeds they could achieve. His superiors at Cunard shared his skepticism. The company’s New York manager issued an official response to the German warning. “The truth is that the Lusitania is the safest boat on the sea. She is too fast for any submarine. No German war vessel can get her or near her.” Turner’s personal experience affirmed this: on two previous occasions, while captain of a different ship, he had encountered what he believed were submarines and had successfully eluded them by ordering full speed ahead.He said nothing about these incidents to his audience. Now he offered a different sort of reassurance: upon entering the war zone the next day, the ship would be securely in the care of the Royal Navy.He bade the audience good night and returned to the bridge. The talent show continued. A few passengers slept fully clothed in the dining room, for fear of being trapped below decks in their cabins if an attack were to occur. One especially anxious traveler, a Greek carpet merchant, put on a life jacket and climbed into a lifeboat to spend the night. Another passenger, a New York businessman named Isaac Lehmann, took a certain comfort from the revolver that he carried with him always and that would, all too soon, bring him a measure of fame, and infamy.With all but a few lights extinguished and all shades pulled and curtains drawn, the great liner slid forward through the sea, at times in fog, at times under a lacework of stars. But even in darkness, in moonlight and mist, the ship stood out. At one o’clock in the morning, Friday, May 7, the officers of a New York–bound vessel spotted the Lusitania and recognized it immediately as it passed some two miles off. “You could see the shape of the four funnels,” said the captain, Thomas M. Taylor; “she was the only ship with four funnels.”Unmistakable and invulnerable, a floating village in steel, the Lusitania glided by in the night as a giant black shadow cast upon the sea.

Bookclub Guide

1. In his Note to Readers, Erik Larson writes that before researching Dead Wake, he thought he knew “everything there was to know” about the sinking of the Lusitania, but soon realized “how wrong [he] was.” What did you know about the Lusitania before reading the book? Did any of Larson’s revelations surprise you? 2. After reading Dead Wake, what was your impression of Captain Turner? Was he cautious enough? How did you react to the Admiralty’s attempts to place the blame for the Lusitania’s sinking squarely on his shoulders?3. Erik Larson deftly weaves accounts of glamorous first-class passengers such as Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt with compelling images of middle-class families and of the ship’s crew. Whose personal story resonated the most with you?4. Charles Lauriat went to extraordinary measures to protect his Thackeray drawings and his rare edition of A Christmas Carol, but eventually both were lost. In Lauriat’s position, which possessions would you have tried to save? Why does Larson write in such great detail about the objects people brought aboard the Lusitania?5. Edith Galt Wilson would come to play a significant role in the White House after Woodrow Wilson suffered a massive stroke in 1919. What made her a good match for Wilson? What other aspects of Wilson’s personal life did you find intriguing?6. Why was Wilson so insistent on maintaining neutrality even as German U-boat attacks claimed American lives? Was his reluctance to go to war justified?7. How did you respond to the many what-ifs that Larson raises about U.S. involvement in the Great War? Would Wilson have abandoned his isolationist stance without the Lusitania tragedy? Could Germany and Mexico have succeeded in conquering the American Southwest? 8. By attacking civilian ships, were Captain Schwieger and his U-20 crew committing acts of terrorism? Does it matter that Germany ran advertisements declaring the waters around Great Britain to be a war zone? 9. How did Captain Schwieger’s leadership style compare with that of Captain Turner? Did you feel sympathy for Schwieger and his crew?10. Though the British Navy was tracking U-20’s location, it didn’t alert the Lusitania, nor did it provide a military escort. Why not? Do you consider Churchill and Room 40 partly to blame for the sinking? How should countries balance the integrity of their intelligence operations with their duty to protect civilians?11. Some have argued that Churchill deliberately chose not to protect the Lusitania in hopes that the sinking of such a prominent ship would draw the United States into the war. After reading Larson’s account, what do you think of this theory? 12. While Germany’s advertisement scared away some would-be Lusitania passengers, most placed their faith in the British Navy to protect the ship, and some laughed off the risk altogether. In their position, would you have cancelled your ticket?13. What lessons does the sinking of the Lusitania have for us in the twenty-first century?

Editorial Reviews

Finalist for the Washington State Book Award — History/General Non-fictionA Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of 2015A St. Louis Post-Dispatch Best Book of 2015A Miami Herald Favorite Book of 2015BookTrib's Best Narrative Nonfiction Book of 2015#1 History & Biography Book in the 2015 Goodreads Choice AwardsA LibraryReads Top Ten Book of 2015 A Library Journal Top Ten Book of 2015 A Kirkus Best Book of 2015 An Indigo Best Book of 2015 "Larson is one of the modern masters of popular narrative nonfiction...a resourceful reporter and a subtle stylist who understands the tricky art of Edward Scissorhands-ing narrative strands into a pleasing story...An entertaining book about a great subject, and it will do much to make this seismic event resonate for new generations of readers."—The New York Times Book Review"Larson is an old hand at treating nonfiction like high drama...He knows how to pick details that have maximum soapy potential and then churn them down until they foam [and] has an eye for haunting, unexploited detail."—The New York Times"In his gripping new examination of the last days of what was then the fastest cruise ship in the world, Larson brings the past stingingly alive...He draws upon telegrams, war logs, love letters, and survivor depositions to provide the intriguing details, things I didn't know I wanted to know...Thrilling, dramatic and powerful."—NPR"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"This enthralling and richly detailed account demonstrates that there was far more going on beneath the surface than is generally known...Larson's account [of the Lusitania's sinking] is the most lucid and suspenseful yet written, and he finds genuine emotional power in the unlucky confluences of forces, 'large and achingly small,' that set the stage for the ship's agonizing final moments."—The Washington Post"Utterly engrossing...Expertly ratcheting up the tension...Larson puts us on board with these people; it's page-turning history, breathing with life." —The Seattle Times"Larson has a gift for transforming historical re-creations into popular recreations, and Dead Wake is no exception...[He] provides first-rate suspense, a remarkable achievement given that we already know how this is going to turn out...The tension, in the reader's easy chair, is unbearable..."—The Boston Globe"Both terrifying and enthralling. As the two vessels stumble upon each other, the story almost takes on the narrative pulse of Jaws—the sinking was impossible and inevitable at the same time. At no point do you root for the shark, but Larson's incredible detail pulls you under and never lets you go."—Entertainment Weekly"Erik Larson [has] made a career out of turning history into best sellers that read as urgently as thrillers...A meticulous master of non-fiction suspense."—USA Today"[Larson] vividly captures the disaster and the ship's microcosm, in which the second class seems more appealing than the first."—The New Yorker"[Larson is] a superb storyteller and a relentless research hound..."—Lev Grossman, TIME“[Larson] proves his mettle again as a weaver of tales of naïveté, calumny and intrigue. He engagingly sketches life aboard the liner and amply describes the powers’ political situations… The panorama Mr. Larson surveys is impressive, as is the breadth of his research and the length of his bibliography. He can’t miss engaging readers with the curious cast of characters, this ship of fools, and his accounting of the sinking itself and the survivors’ ordeals are the stuff of nightmares.” —Washington Times"Readers looking for a swift, emotionally engaging account of one of history's great sea disasters will find Dead Wake grimly exhilarating. Larson is an exceptionally skilled storyteller, and his tick-tock narrative, which cuts between the Lusitania, U-20 and the political powers behind them, is pitch-perfect."—The Richmond Times-Dispatch "Larson so brilliantly elucidates [the Lusitania's fate] in Dead Wake, his detailed forensic and utterly engrossing account of the Lusitania's last voyage...Yes, we know how the story of the Lusitania ends, but there's still plenty of white-knuckle tension. In Dead Wake, he delivers such a marvelously thorough investigation of the ship's last week that it practically begs Hollywood blockbuster treatment."—The Toronto Globe & Mail"Larson's nimble, exquisitely researched tale puts you dead center...Larson deftly pulls off the near-magical feat of taking a foregone conclusion and conjuring a tale that's suspenseful, moving and altogether riveting."—Dallas Morning News"With each revelation from Britain and America, with each tense, claustrophobic scene aboard U-20, the German sub that torpedoed the ship, with each vignette from the Lusitania, Larson's well-paced narrative ratchets the suspense. His eye for the ironic detail keen, his sense of this time period perceptive, Larson spins a sweeping tale that gives the Lusitania its due attention. His book may well send Leonardo DiCaprio chasing its film rights."—San Francisco Chronicle"An expertly crafted tale of individual and corporate hubris, governmental intrigue and cover-up, highlighting a stunning series of conincidences and miscalculations that ultimately placed the Lusitania in the direct path of the catastrophic strike...[Larson's] pacing is impeccable."—The Miami Herald"[Larson] has a gift for finding the small, personal details that bring history to life...His depiction of the sinking of the ship, and the horrific 18 minutes between the time it was hit and the time it disappeared, is masterly, moving between strange, touching details."—Columbus Dispatch"In the hands of a lesser craftsman, the fascinating story of the last crossing of the Lusitania might risk being bogged down by dull character portraits, painstaking technical analyses of submarine tactics or the minutiae of WWI-era global politics. Not so with Erik Larson...Larson wrestles these disparate narratives into a unified, coherent story and so creates a riveting account of the Lusitania's ending and the beginnings of the U.S.'s involvement in the war."—Pittsburgh Post Gazette"In your mind, the sinking of the luxury liner Lusitania may be filed in a cubbyhole...After reading Erik Larson's impressive reconstruction of the Lusitania's demise, you're going to need a much bigger cubbyhole...Larson's book is a work of carefully sourced nonfiction, not a novelization, but it has a narrative sweep and miniseries pacing that make it highly entertaining as well as informative."—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel"Larson breathes life into narrative history like few writers working today."—Minneapolis Star Tribune"Now the tragic footnote to a global conflagration, the history of the [Lusitania's] final voyage... is worthy of the pathos and narrative artistry Erik Larson brings to Dead Wake...Reader's of Larson's previous nonfiction page turners...will not be disappointed. He's an excellent scene setter and diligent researcher who tells the story with finesse and suspense."—Newsday"The story of the Lusitania's sinking by a German U-boat has been told before, but Larson's version features new details and the gripping immediacy he's famous for."—People"We can't wait for the James Cameron version of Erik Larson's Dead Wake."—New York Magazine"Larson...long ago mastered the art of finding overlooked and faded curiosities and converting them into page-turning popular histories. Here, again, he manages the same trick."—Christian Science Monitor"Fans of Erik Larson's narrative nonfiction have trusted that whatever tale he chooses to tell, they'll find it compelling. Dead Wake proves them right...History at its harrowing best." —New York Daily News"A quickly paced, imminently readable exploration of an old story you may only half-know."—Arkansas Democratic Gazette "We all know how the story ends, but Larson still makes you want to turn the pages, and turn them quickly. What makes the story, is that Larson takes a few main characters--the Lusitania's Captain William Thomas Turner, President Woodrow Wilson, U-boat Captain Walther Schweiger, Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat, architect Theodate Pope, and a few minor ones--and weaves them together towards the inevitable and tragic conclusion. Larson has done his research. The number of details and anecdotes that he has managed to cobble together are fascinating in themselves."—Foreign Policy"Larson turns this familiar tale into a finely written elegy on the contingency of war."—Maclean's Magazine“Larson is a master storyteller and quickens the pace as target and attackers hurtle toward their inevitable, deadly rendezvous. The suspense builds because readers care about his fully-formed characters, and it’s not always clear who will live and who will die.”—Salon"Because Larson has such a sense of story, when he gets to the tragedy itself, the book hums along in vivid form. You feel, viscerally, what it's like to be on a sinking ship, and the weight of life lost that day. The fact that this is coming through a page-turner history book, where all the figures and details reveal an impeccable eye and thorough research, is just one of the odd pleasures of Larson's writing."—Flavorwire“[Larson] thrillingly chronicles the liner’s last voyage... He draws upon a wealth of sources for his subject – telegrams, wireless messages, survivor depositions, secret intelligence ledgers, a submarine captain’s war log, love letters, admiralty and university archives, even morgue photos of Lusitania victims… Filled with revealing political, military and social information, Larson’s engrossing Dead Wake is, at its heart, a benediction for the 1,198 souls lost at sea.”—Tampa Bay Times"Larson, an authority on nonfiction accounts, expounds on our primary education, putting faces to the disaster and crafting an intimate portrait in Dead Wake. A lover of history will get so close to the story...that it is hard not to feel as if you are on board with new friends..."—Fort Worth Star-Telegram"In a well-paced narrative, Larson reveals the forces large and small, natural and man-made, coincidental and intentional, that propelled the Lusitania to its fatal rendezvous...Larson's description of the moments and hours that followed the torpedo's explosive impact is riveting...Dead Wake stands on its own as a gripping recounting of an episode that still has the power to haunt a reader 100 years later."—Buffalo News"Larson, who was once described as "an historian with a novelist's soul," has written a book which combines the absorbing tenor of fiction with the realities of history."—The Toronto Sun"[Larson] shows that narrative history can let us have it both ways: great drama wedded to rigorous knowledge. The German torpedoing of the great ship 100 years ago was almost as deadly as the Titanic sinking, and far more world-changing. Larson makes it feel as immediate and contingent as the present day."—NY Mag's"The bestselling author of The Devil in the White City and Thunderstruck puts his mastery of penning parallel narratives on display as he tells the tale of the sinking of the Lusitania by a German submarine, building an ever-growing sense of dread as the two vessels draw closer to their lethal meeting...He goes well beyond what's taught in history classes to offer insights into British intelligence and the dealings that kept the ship from having the military escort so many passengers expected to protect it...By piecing together how politics, economics, technology, and even the weather combined to produce an event that seemed both unlikely and inevitable, he offers a fresh look at a world-shaking disaster."—The Onion A/V Club"An intriguing, entirely engrossing investigation into a legendary disaster."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review"Factual and personal to a high degree, the narrative reads like a grade-A thriller."—Booklist, starred review"[Larson] has always shown a brilliant ability to unearth the telling details of a story and has the narrative chops to bring a historical moment vividly alive. But in his new book, Larson simply outdoes himself...What is most compelling about Dead Wake is that, through astonishing research, Larson gives us a strong sense of the individuals—passengers and crew—aboard the Lusitania, heightening our sense of anxiety as we realize that some of the people we have come to know will go down with the ship. A story full of ironies and 'what-ifs,' Dead Wake is a tour de force of narrative history."—BookPage, Top Pick"With a narrative as smooth as the titular passenger liner, Larson delivers a riveting account of one of the most tragic events of WWI...A blunt reminder that war is, at its most basic, a matter of life and death."—Publishers Weekly"Once again, Larson transforms a complex event into a thrilling human interest story. This suspenseful account will entice readers of military and maritime history along with lovers of popular history."—Library Journal"Critically acclaimed 'master of narrative nonfiction' Erik Larson has produced a thrilling account of the principals and the times surrounding this tumultuous event in world history...After an intimate look at the passengers, and soon-to-be victims, who board in New York despite the warning of 'unrestricted warfare' from the German embassy, Larson turns up the pace with shorter and shorter chapters alternating between the hunted and the hunter until the actual shot. All in all a significant story. Well told."—Florida Times-Union"...the tension mounts page by page and the reading of Dead Wake becomes a very cinematic experience." —Summit Daily