Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania (Signed Book)

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania (Signed Book)

by Erik Larson

Hardcover(Signed Edition)

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Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania (Signed Book) by Erik Larson

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author and master of narrative nonfiction comes the enthralling story of the sinking of the Lusitania, published to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the disaster
On May 1, 1915, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were anxious. Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone, and for months, its U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era's great transatlantic "Greyhounds" and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. He knew, moreover, that his ship—the fastest then in service—could outrun any threat.

Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger's U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small—hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more—all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.

It is a story that many of us think we know but don't, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour, mystery, and real-life suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope Riddle to President Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love. Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster that helped place America on the road to war.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780804188418
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/27/2015
Edition description: Signed Edition
Pages: 448
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Erik Larson is the author of four national bestsellers: In the Garden of Beasts, Thunderstruck, The Devil in the White City, and Isaac's Storm, which have collectively sold more than 5.5 million copies. His books have been published in fourteen countries.


Seattle, Washington

Date of Birth:

January 1, 1954

Place of Birth:

Brooklyn, New York


B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 1976; M.S., Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, 1978

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Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 192 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The amount of research Erik Lawson did for this book is obvious in the details . If you like fast paced and edge of your seat non-fiction , this is a must read . Even his footnotes are interesting . I learned more about "The Great War" before the U.S.A. entry than I did in high school . I would recommend this book to anyone , only one small part about an autopsy might be too graphic for younger readers
PJtheEMT4 More than 1 year ago
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania  by Erik Larson is a poignant dramatized story of the sinking of the Lusitania of WW1.  This vivid drama gives not only the historical details of this pivotal event, but the emotional behind the scenes  drama that you will not read in history books.  I was so engrossed in the tory, especially the powerful account of the ship's demise.  Following the stories of multiple  voices gives the reader a unique omnipotent view of the overall picture.  This is especially moving during the account of the ship's sinking.  Going beyond a simple news paper-esque account, the author, Erik Larsen shares the intimate thoughts and emotions of the passengers as they face death.  A young boy with measles is separated from his pregnant mother in the commotion and panic as the ship is sinking.  His last horrific memory of the event is the haunting image of his mother giving birth in the cold see.  The traumatic image haunts him all the remaining days of his life.  Though the words are few, and the image is recounted in a single sentence, the emotional significance is beyond what the modern reader can imagine.  Another young mother traveling alone with her children finds herself torn between saving her infant daughter is the ship's daycare room or her toddler son sleeping alone in the bunk of her cabin. In a panic, she hands her daughter off to a stranger; next time she sees the stranger, he is scrambling onto a lifeboat- alone! The reader can only imagine the mother's grief and pain in those last moments before the ship goes under.  I found myself gripping the book tightly, hanging onto each word, reliving the horrors of those passengers and their last moments.  AT times I was reminded by the cinematic version of the Titanic- the scramble to get to lifeboats and lifejackets, the panic and the separation of families and parents from their children. Larsen is a talented writer that handles the facts as well as drama in this world changing event.  The sinking of the Lusitania- a bit of history that may occupy only a few lines to a few paragraphs in a history book, is retold moment by moment in extraordinary detail, in this 359 page book.  A number of references are included in the end as well as an index for those students and historians that may wish to use this book as a source in a research paper.  This is a must have for any WW1 or history enthusiast. As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Crown publishers for the purpose of writing this review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A truly stunning book!! Erik Larson masterfully braids together the stories of the passengers and crew of the Lusitania, the U boat captain, the British Admiralty, and  U.S. President Wilson in this fascinating book.  This is one of those books that I did not want to put down and zipped through it in record time because it is so well written.  It kept my interest from beginning to end.   I recommend this book highly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Larson is the master of having you experience historical events through the eyes and voices of those who lived through them. In Dead Wake, he rapidly switches from the stories of the passengers on the Lusitania, to that of the captain of the ship, to that of the U-boat captain who sank the ship. Little details help remind the reader that all the participants were real people each with their own individual quirks. As the book progresses, tension mounts (even though one already knows the ultimate outcome). A great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow! One of those can't stop reading, totally neglect your husband and kids until you finish kinda book. Loved every page.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As he has in previous books, Mr. Larson deepens our understanding of an historical event that we may have thought we understood. In this case, he places the sinking of the Lusitania in context, showing both the liner's occupants and the U-Boat's crew, the events that led to the sinking, and the results. (No, the U.S. did NOT enter WWI either solely because of the sinking or immediately thereafter.) This is not historical fiction, but history - and very compelling.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Going way beyond the facts of history, Erik Larson enriches this book with personal stories that make you feel as if you are there. This is a fast-moving presentation of the historic event through the eyes of the people who experienced it -- including the U-Boat Captain that launched the torpedo. Couldn't put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Larson hits it out of the park. I read this book on a cruise, which made it even more meaningful. Larson is a master at the genre narrative nonfiction. Highly recommended.
Bozemandick More than 1 year ago
Erik Larson is a master story teller. Truth is stranger than fiction, and Dead Wake proves that adage again. Behind the actual story with its unbelievable fatal human errors is a subtle theme of aristocratic arrogance--an "unsinkable ship" sailing into troubled waters, protected by nothing more than huge egos. Knowing the outcome just heightens the suspense till the tragedy becomes all too real. It's hard to put it down, and we wish it had just ended differently.
plumguy More than 1 year ago
The story flows smoothly and deliberately; just like both subject vessels the Lusitania and U-20. The U-boat needs to compensate for the loss of three thousand pounds of mass after launching a torpedo.   Little details such as this float throughout the story like flotsam and jetsam. A great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The level of detail that the author is able to put together from obviously relentless research is completely amazing. I've loved everything since Devil in the White City and believe that he gets better with every publication
SneedUrn More than 1 year ago
Having loved Erik Larson's previous books (ISAAC'S STORM, THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY, THUNDERSTRUCK, IN THE GARDEN OF BEASTS) I was really looking forward to his recounting of the Lusitania disaster. There are many things to admire-his description of newsreel footage of the final departure is mesmerizing, the way some of the passengers are depicted both alive and dead and life onboard a German U-boat is given to us in a remarkably vivid way, but I never felt that sense of discovery that Larson gave us with his previous books. This felt like we were getting a retell of a story that has been told before with some new information here and there but no feeling afterwards of revelations. Of course, it may be difficult to top books like WHITE CITY or THUNDERSTRUCK, which recounted stories in connection with major events that I had never thought possible, but Larson's writing still pulls you in and this book is never dull-far from it. I just hope with his next book he chooses a subject that I never had heard of or one that I wish would be written about.
TreborMA More than 1 year ago
Erik Larson's "Dead Wake" is another in a long list of really excellent historical books that tell a story as well as document facts. The detail and personal insight expressed by Mr. Larson bring this somewhat misunderstood event into a new understanding. The accuracy based on obvious extensive research, for me, made this book an extremely quick read- it was really tough to put down. As in all the other Erik Larson books I have read, "Dead Wake" takes a long-passed incident and refreshes it with the intensity of a recent news event. The result is a very personal and sad recounting of both the predator and prey involved in one of history's most sinister acts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just finished this book and I'm glad I read it! So much of what I learned in high school history class.just wasn't right. How can this be, something is written and then no one checks the facts? I wish this author could write all high school history books because then kids would LOVE it! I'm now very excited to read some of Erik's other books. Thanks for making history engaging and exciting to read!
vikingkim More than 1 year ago
I've read another book on the Lusitania, seen documentaries, and I have met the owner (there is an owner) of the Lusitania wreckage, so I felt I had a pretty good background going in to Dead Wake. I really enjoyed it, and did learn new things! I got the Nook edition, and wonder where all the pictures are? Erik Larson's descriptions are wonderfully vivid, but no pictures to accompany them? Is this just the case in the Nook edition? I found the film he described of the Lusitania leaving NY on You Tube, so that was really exciting. I only give four stars instead of 5 due to lack of photos. They would have really added to my experience.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story. Reminds me of Walter Lord's "A Night To Remember" about Titanic sinking. All it lacks is some photos, of the ship, passengers, crew, etc. Maybe also diagrams of the ship so you can picture where things are happening. Biggest disappointment is the author's signature in the signed edition. His signature is horrible, just a loop and a line across the page. Impossible to tell even what letters they are. Why can't people make their signatures even halfway legible? B&N shouldn't bother having authors sign if this is what they do. That was a big reason I ordered the book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While at times the detail seemed a bit technical for me, I found this book to be a solid, engaging look at a tumultuous time in history.
rifleman280 More than 1 year ago
absolutely one of the best books I ever read about accounts that would lead America into world war one Eric Larson combines personal accounts of passengers along with personal accounts of the commanders of the Lusitania and the commander of U 20 the sub that sank the great ship survivors accounts make this a must read for history books if I could give this a 5+ rating I would great great great is all I can say
glauver 10 months ago
It is incredible to think that, when I was born in 1954, it was less than 40 years since the sinking of the Lusitania. Now in 2018 it is over a century since the torpedoing of the famous cruise ship. Erik Larson has written a gripping account of the tragedy. Like a film director, he cuts back and forth between the ship itself, the German U boat hunting for British merchant shipping, the English code breakers, and the recently widowed Woodrow Wilson, who is juggling a new romance and attempting to avoid WW1 at the same time. Even though I knew what was coming, Larson kept me reading. I found this book to be better organized than The Devil in the White City, the only other book of his I have previously read. I give Dead Wake somewhere between 4 and 5 stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
you know it's good when you find yourself rooting for the ship even though you already know what happened to it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my 3rd book by Mr Larson and he just intertwines multiple view points on the same historic moment with such coolness and flawlessly, I have purchased a couple more books he has authored.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yet again this writer has taken a story that could be boring and brought it to life. Such a great book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An interesting historical perspective
Anonymous More than 1 year ago