Thursday, June 9, 2016

DEAD WAKE - a book review

When I started this blog I tried to review a book or two a month, I called it Thriller Thursday. Remember that? Go on, click on the label, you'll see.

Well guess what? It's Thursday! Only now I'm doing something different in that I wanted to let you know about a non-fiction book I just read. In truth, it might just be the best non-fiction book I've ever read. Seriously.

It's called: DEAD WAKE, The Last Crossing Of The Lusitania, by Erik Larson. Here's a cute girl holding my copy:

The Lusitania is one of those things we learn about in history, and vaguely connect it to America's entrance into WW1. But what makes this book so incredible is that Larson tells the story from ground-level, from the perspectives of those involved. Sure, world events are wrapped around those tales but for goodness sake, we even see things from the view of the submarine that sank the ship! Not to mention the Lusitania's captain and numerous passengers and crew.

Anyway, here's the Amazon summary:

"On May 1st, 1915 the Lusitania set sail on its final voyage. That it was sunk by a German U-boat will be news to few—and Larson’s challenge is to craft a historical narrative leading up to the thrilling, if known, conclusion, building anticipation in his readers along the way. To his credit, he makes the task look easy. Focusing on the politics of WWI, on nautical craftsmanship and strategy, and on key players in the eventual attack and sinking of the “fast, comfortable, and beloved” Lusitania, Larson once again illustrates his gift for seducing us with history and giving it a human face. Dead Wake puts readers right aboard the famous Cunard liner and keeps them turning the pages until the book’s final, breathless encounter."

And look, you can go a million places to read reviews of it. I'm posting my own few words because I was so blown away by the book. Only twice in the past few years have I read an entire book in one weekend, and in fact DEAD WAKE took me slightly more than a day.

Not only is it immaculately researched but it reads like an adventure novel. Which, in fact, does it a disservice because it's also emotionally compelling. When I finished reading about the sinking itself, the lives lost and the descriptions of those in the water, the portrayal of that horrible twenty or so minutes, I had to put the book down and walk away.

Only for about ten minutes though, the story is so powerful I had to get back to it.

So if you're looking for an amazing non-fiction read, heck even if you're not, get this book. You won't regret it. Bloody marvelous.


  1. You gave me a bit of a shock there. My last name is Wake. I was looking at my blog list and two of my blogs were on the top followed by yours. Sounds like a fascinating book. Must put it on my TBR list.

  2. I loved this book. Larson's are always history with a human face, but this was exception even for him.


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