Lusitania: Saga and Myth

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Overview

An objective and enthralling account of the sinking of the Lusitania, which unravels many of the myths and, for the first time, explains the true significance of that terrible disaster.

The saga of the Lusitania is one of the most remarkable in the annals of maritime history. State-of-the-art when she went into service and the first express liner to be equipped with steam turbines, she outclassed all her rivals. She triumphantly restored British supremacy on the North Atlantic ...

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Lusitania: Saga and Myth

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Overview

An objective and enthralling account of the sinking of the Lusitania, which unravels many of the myths and, for the first time, explains the true significance of that terrible disaster.

The saga of the Lusitania is one of the most remarkable in the annals of maritime history. State-of-the-art when she went into service and the first express liner to be equipped with steam turbines, she outclassed all her rivals. She triumphantly restored British supremacy on the North Atlantic passenger routes and became an acknowledged commercial success; she was highly popular with her regular passengers. Her sinking in May 1915 by a German U-boat, with heavy loss of life, was at that time the most savage attack on civilians in the course of war, and was widely denounced in allied and neutral countries. From that day her loss has become encrusted with legends (including conspiracy theories), many of them created by German propaganda. In this new book David Ramsay has unraveled those myths and legends and tells a clear and compelling saga of terrible maritime disaster and clashes among three powerful nations. It is a story of potentates and presidents, ambassadors and ministers of state, bankers, shipping magnates, spies, and, not least, Captain William Turner, who had to defend himself against charges of incompetence and fight for his reputation. Based on detailed research, this new book almost certainly contains the most objective account of the history of the liner and the circumstances surrounding her sinking. The sinking of Lusitania, which took a mere eighteen minutes, led to a loss of life comparable with the Titanic disaster, and the ramifications were felt across Europe and America; this masterly telling of the story will intrigue the general reader as much as it does the historian and enthusiast.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Ramsay investigates the 101st and final voyage of the ocean liner Lusitania, torpedoed on May 7, 1915, by a German U-boat as it was crossing the North Atlantic from the U.S. to England. Of the nearly 2,000 people on board, only 764 survived. The incident eventually pushed the U.S. to enter WWI. Ramsay recounts the disaster itself from every perspective, probing international policy, WWI history and the background and design of the luxury liner itself. Drawing on witness accounts and survivor interviews, Ramsay also re-creates the experiences of different passengers and crew members. After the disaster, he shows, all sides used the ship's demise for war propaganda, and hearsay surrounding the incident gave rise to several conspiracy theories (the vessel was under faulty command; Churchill had prior knowledge of the attack and refused to prevent it; the ship was carrying munitions). Some may find Ramsay's detailed postmortem of every aspect of the disaster a little dry, while his account of families adrift in the sea may strike others as too melodramatic. Still, military and maritime history buffs should appreciate Ramsay's painstaking research, and his comparisons of the Lusitania incident to the more famous sinking of the Titanic offer a useful perspective, even if it does sometimes seem to be a shameless attempt to lure the Leo-loving set. Photos, illus. and maps. (May 2) Forecast: This title will be competing for shelf space this month with Walker's slightly more compelling Lusitania, by Diana Preston (Forecasts, Mar. 11). Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393346107
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/1/2002
  • Pages: 330
  • Sales rank: 716,637
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author

David Ramsay attended Trinity, Cambridge, where he became fascinated with twentieth-century history, particularly the two world wars and Winston Churchill. He lives in Indian Wells, California.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2002

    A much-needed account of well-trodden territory

    If ever a ship was taken to a Nation's heart it was the Lusitania. State-of-the-art when launched, the very first passenger liner to be equipped with steam turbines, the fastest Liner on the North Atlantic passenger routes, popular with passengers and a commercial success. In short, this ship had everything. All that changed in May 1915, however, when, she was torpedoed by a German U-boat. With the loss of the Titanic just 3 years earlier - and still very fresh in peoples minds, this was seen as one of the most diabolical and savage acts of WW1 and even helped bring America into the War. What followed, however, was propaganda the like of which has never been repeated. 'Rescues' were rigged for the camera and acted out using adults and children pretending to be dead and photographed prostrate across white lifeboats with 'LUSITANIA' on over-large letters written on the side. Even the German authorities added to this pile of misinformation by making equally false assertions claiming sabotage. Little wonder, this magnificent four-funnelled ship was to become the stuff of legend. This hardback book measures approx. 9½' x 6½' containing over 300 pages of vital information in which David Ramsay does an excellent job of unravelling the many myths and legends in order to give a clear account of a dreadful act of war. In so doing he provides the reader with the most objective account of the history of this magnificent ship and the result is a very good read. Remarkable advances in terms of Technical Diving have brought the Lusitania within reach of the Scuba Diver and, lying at a depth of almost 300 feet, she has already been visited by those at the leading edge of such underwater exploration. For those who plan to follow in these footsteps (or should that be fins?) this book contains all the background information required. NM

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