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Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

av Erik Larson

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MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
3,4322372,670 (4.17)284
The #1 New York Times best-selling author of In the Garden of Beasts presents a 100th-anniversary chronicle of the sinking of the Lusitania that discusses the factors that led to the tragedy and the contributions of such figures as President Wilson, bookseller Charles Lauriat and architect Theodate Pope Riddle.… (mer)
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» Se även 284 omnämnanden

engelska (234)  spanska (1)  franska (1)  Alla språk (236)
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historical, detailed, personal
  Renaissancereader | Nov 24, 2020 |
The RMS Lusitania was torpedoed by a German U-boat on May 7, 1915 just off the coast of Ireland. The ship sank in less than 20 minutes, killing nearly 1,200 people. Many decried the attack on a passenger ship. But German military leaders said the attack was justified because the ship was carrying munitions for use by the British military. It would be decades before it was proven that Germany was correct....the passenger ship was indeed carrying munitions for use in World War I.

Dead Wake not only tells the story of the sinking and great loss of life, but also about the politics, military decisions and mistakes that led to the ship sailing without escort in a war zone. It also talks about the Lusitania, its history, crew and passengers, and facts about the German Navy, U-Boats and early submarine warfare. Because it opened responding ships up to attack by U-boat, orders had gone out that no vessel was to approach and render aid to any ship that had been damaged by a torpedo. Warnings about imminent submarine attacks against all vessels in the war zone had been issued by Germany prior to the attack. Why then did so many passengers, including many children, board the ship, sailing directly into danger? And why were munitions loaded onto a passenger liner, putting thousands of people at risk? This book gives so many interesting facts about the world situation at the time, shipping and war zone issues and the actual event. Erik Larson presents the whole story in an interesting and informative way. This is non-fiction and not a narrative account, but it kept my attention the entire time. Very interesting and well written!!

I think so many people were willing to board the ship, despite repeated warnings from Germany, because it was assumed a passenger vessel would not be targeted. And, it's also human nature to believe that disasters are things that happen to other people. Until the sinking of the Lusitania, the dangers of the war zone were almost a joke with passengers laughing about the possibility and buying life jackets in New York department stores before setting sail. The fact that the shipping line was willing to carry munitions on a passenger vessel further shows that the danger wasn't being taken seriously. With U-Boats actively attacking merchant ships and military vessels with success, it is astounding to me that the Lusitania was allowed to sail that course into the war zone with no escort, no orders to divert to a safer route or to sail in a zig zag pattern. The whole conglomeration of decisions made by passengers, crew, the shipping line and military brought about this disaster. Germany came right out and said WE ARE GOING TO SINK THIS SHIP...DONT GET ON IT -- and thousands still bought tickets and sailed from New York. Foolish. But even more foolish is the fact that it sailed with munitions in the hold without any escort to protect it. Bad, bad, bad decisions!

The sinking of the Lusitania and the deaths of 128 Americans who were on board did not bring the United States into the war immediately. The US didn't join in the World War until 1916. But, the cry of "Remember the Lusitania'' was used as war propaganda and a rallying cry for US troops. I wonder how it might have changed things if the public had known that the hold of the ship contained war munitions that a neutral passenger vessel was not allowed to carry during wartime? The munitions aboard the ship made it a valid target for U-Boats. Larson offers some insight into why this was done, and some pretty nefarious reasons why the ship was not supplied with a military escort or ordered to sail in a zig zag pattern to help it evade an attack. It could be that the 1,200 people that drowned in the sea that day were collateral damage and a part of a hidden agenda to pull the United States into the conflict in Europe.

I listened to the audiobook version of the book (Penguin Random House Audio Publishing). The audiobook runs just over 13 hours and is narrated by Scott Brick. He reads at a nice even pace and is easily understandable. I have hearing loss but had no problem hearing and understanding him.

I learned a lot of interesting facts that were new to me, such as the fact that Captain Von Trapp (of Sound of Music fame) had been a U-boat captain in WWI. At one point, he ordered the torpedoing of a vessel, causing the deaths of more than 600 people. That incident is the reason why he chose to escape rather than be called up to serve again in WWII.

Great book! Anyone interested in maritime or WWI era history will definitely enjoy this book! ( )
  JuliW | Nov 22, 2020 |
Good book, but it did not grip me and pull me into the story in the same way many of Larson's other books have done. In many of those books, like "Devil in the White City", "Thunderstruck", or "In the Garden of the Beasts", half the fun for me is in seeing the larger history we are all familiar with through the specific experience of real people we otherwise likely wouldn't have heard of.

Here there isn't a single "story within the story" in that same way. Larson does a great job telling the larger story, including the amazing breadth of detail about the things going on around the sinking of the Lusitania that you expect from him. But the story of Woodrow Wilson falling in love (which seems to be meant to give the reader that same "in" as in his other books) mostly felt like a distraction from the larger story to me.

Still and all, a fascinating story well told. ( )
  stevrbee | Nov 7, 2020 |
I had previously read The Devil in the White City and very much enjoyed it. I like the narrative history approach where I can learn something about a time and place as well as certain events while also enjoying a good story. Erik Larson delivered on that experience for me once, so I was interested in giving him another chance. I put it off for a while, though, thinking like many that I would be reading a story I already knew. But Dead Wake proved me wrong. There were important details, decisions and risks of which I was not aware that left me with a much richer understanding of the event.

I do think Larson had a much different challenge in telling this story than he did with The Devil in the White City. With "The Devil" he could focus on relatively few characters and still tell the whole story. Also, he had some large back stories that he could switch between as he slowly brought the threads together in end. With Dead Wake Larson only had a few major players to follow closely, primarily William Turner, the captain of the Lusitania, and Walther Schweiger, the captain of the German U-boat but then had to account for over 2,000 passengers and crew. There were some other characters that Larson chose to follow, but they were mostly there to add depth to the story. There were certain points where Larson has to try to provide broad insight into the passengers and their experiences aboard the Lusitania. He does this admirably well, given the challenge, but I was left at times feeling like I had just caught a glimpse of someone as they were rounding a corner, never to be seen again.

In the end, though, I learned quite a bit in reading Dead Wake and enjoyed doing so. Just what I was looking for. ( )
  afkendrick | Oct 24, 2020 |
I enjoyed reading this book by Erik Larson. It was very slow at times but Larson is so detailed and careful that he actually knows what half the passengers packed in their staterooms, and tells you details like that. Once the torpedo was finally fired it picked up and I finished in quickly. ( )
  klnbennett | Oct 7, 2020 |
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If creating “an experience” is Larson’s primary goal, then “Dead Wake” largely succeeds. There are brisk cameos by Churchill and Woodrow Wilson, desperate flurries of wireless messages and telegrams, quick flashes to London and Berlin. These passages have a crackling, propulsive energy that most other books about the Lusitania — often written for disaster buffs or steampunk aficionados — sorely lack.
tillagd av amarie | ändraThe New York Times, Hampton Sides (betaljsajt) (Mar 5, 2015)
 

» Lägg till fler författare (15 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Larson, ErikFörfattareprimär författarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Brick, ScottBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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The Captains are to remember that, whilst they are expected to use every diligence to secure a speedy voyage, they must run no risk which by any possibility might result in accident to their ships. They will ever bear in mind that the safety of the lives and property entrusted to their care is the ruling principle which should govern them in the navigation of their ships, and no supposed gain in expedition, or saving of time on the voyage, is to be purchased at the risk of accident.

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On 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.
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The #1 New York Times best-selling author of In the Garden of Beasts presents a 100th-anniversary chronicle of the sinking of the Lusitania that discusses the factors that led to the tragedy and the contributions of such figures as President Wilson, bookseller Charles Lauriat and architect Theodate Pope Riddle.

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