Dead Wake is the story of the last voyage and sinking of the British cruise ship the Lusitania. A German submarine sank the ship off the coast of Ireland in May of 1915, less than 1 day from reaching Liverpool.

Larson collects accounts from official investigations and survivor  accounts to provide an in-depth narrative of the tragedy, stretching from before the voyage began in New York through the aftermath. The book examines not only the isolated events of the the ship’s sinking, but also examines such things as the pressure’s on Woodrow Wilson to enter World War I, withholding of information about U-boat activity in the area of the sinking on the part of British intelligence with the possible intent of drawing the U.S. into the war in response to loss of American lives in the sinking, and international attitudes toward the taking of civilian lives in wartime.

Dead Wake was a satisfying historical account of a tragic event. It reminded me of several older books in the same vein by Walter Lord: A Night to Remember (Titanic), The Longest Day (D-Day), and Day of Infamy (Pearl Harbor).

Advertisements