Wednesday, March 31, 2021

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

I finally finished my most recent read.  Craving a change from World War II novels, I opted for a book about World War I.  When searching for a good read on the topic, the same nonfiction novel kept popping up as a recommendation.  That book was Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania (link) by Erik Larson.  Intrigued to learn more about the tragedy, I purchased the audiobook.

The novel is titled Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson.
The book is read by Scott Brick.
The unabridged version is 14 hours and 4 minutes long.

best novels about world war 1 or the lusitania

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Book Review:  Dead Wake by Erik Larson

When starting this novel, I knew that it would be an educational, historically accurate, unbiased account of the sinking of the Lusitania.  What I didn't expect was the text book like information that the book used to tell the story of the infamous event.  After the first 6 hours of the book, I found myself begging the boat to sink already.  Joking, obviously.  But, it was painful to listen to.  More than the first half the book was used to give the reader a very in depth background on submarines, naval warfare, "room 40", the background of the wealthy passengers aboard, and the love life of President Woodrow Wilson.  It was great information for someone researching the topic, but made it difficult to listen to for long stretches.

The Lusitania was THE boat of the time.  It was a British ocean liner that boasted being the biggest, fastest ship around.  Because of it's reputation, many people chose to sail on the vessel despite the high risk of the seas.  Passengers ignored the fact that they would be sailing through a war zone based on the false safety of the ship's size and speed and a false promise given by the British government to protect the boat.  When a German submarine sunk the Lusitania with ONE torpedo, people, not two, it killed over 1,000 people and sunk in about 20 minutes.  This tragic event left countless passengers dead, including several children ranging from newborn age to toddlers to teenagers.

When hearing about the tragic lives lost during the sinking, you want to blame someone.  This book educates the reader on how the blame is shared.  It's part the fault of the glory hogged, submarine captain.  It's part the fault of the German government allowing passenger liners filled with CHILDREN to be sunk and celebrated afterwards.  It's also part the fault of the British government.  After hearing the facts, one can't help but suspect the British government of wanting the ship to be sunk to encourage the United States to enter the war.  To increase suspicion, the British blamed the Captain of the boat who was also a victim and WENT DOWN WITH THE SHIP heroically for the sinking.  They took the poor guy to court and put him through months of hell trying to put all blame on him like he shot the torpedo and wanted to murder 1200 innocent people!

Once I got through the first painfully boring half the novel, Dead Wake became a very interesting read.  It brought me to tears when hearing about separated families and dead children.  It made me angry when they laid out the facts of the British government's involvement in the affair.  It gave me goosebumps when hearing first hand accounts after the sinking of the ship.  It also provided closure following some stories through to the end of the survivor's lives.

If you're looking for a juicy read, I would not recommend Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson.  Although, if you're looking for facts and enjoy naval warfare, this is the book for you.

If you're looking for more information on Dead Wake by Erik Larson --> Then click this link.

Do you like nonfiction, factual novels?


  1. Next you should find a book about Lybov Orlova, that would certainly give you some thrills LOL

    1. I did a quick search and basically learned that it's a ghost ship filled with cannibals! LOL Maybe I will find a book about it, I'm intrigued. haha

    2. No, not cannibals, Geezuz, just cannibal rats LOL and possibly plague swiftly approaching the shores of Ireland LOL

    3. LMAO, You made me spit out my coffee. lol lol Minor oversight..

  2. Well, that book sounds DREADFUL! LOL, why do you torture yourself??? You need to pick up something light like an Elin Hildebrand book! I just finished her latest and learned all about a nice Caribbean island......ahhh, so relaxing!

    1. lol, maybe I should. I'm currently sucked into a read. It's a memoir and I can't stop thinking about it.

  3. Subject is good. Also it is educational! I would like to watch its movie in the cinema after the reading. My answer is YES i like to read this kind of books. Because they are all FACT. Thank you for sharing. Happy day,

  4. Yeah, this does not sound like my kind of read. I probably would have stopped well before the 6 hour mark. You certainly have a lot more patience than I do!

  5. Yep. I would have put that down(or turned it off) long before the end by the sounds of it.


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