Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, by Erik Larson

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5 out of 5 stars, History, Non-Fiction

I read a lot of Clive Cussler, and similar thrillers that often involve disasters at sea, and reading this book, a non-fiction account of a real disaster that was at least as dramatic and terrible as what goes on in a Clive Cussler adventure, I felt like I was reading a fiction thriller, not a history book. I have read about the Lusitania many times in history classes in school, and knew a lot of the facts going into reading this book, but they were just dry facts, and while I understood the historical context of this historic disaster, I really didn’t have a sense of the sinking of the Lusitania as a real event with real people.

However, in Larson’s book the people of the Lusitania are real, and as interesting and relate-able as characters in a well-paced novel. This is history writing as it ought to be, storytelling that, while well-researched and backed by good source materials, is focused on relating the events of the past to people in the present, telling us our collective stories so that the people and events of our collective past survive into future generations, not just as dry and forgettable facts on a textbook page but as the experiences of people just like us who we can understand, remember, and learn from.

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About Ravenmount

Independent science nerd/writer/music blogger/arts enthusiast/theorist currently in Colorado.
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2 Responses to Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, by Erik Larson

  1. I really want to read this book. It sounds great and definitely informative! I also have Larson’s other book which I hope to read soon:)

    • Ravenmount says:

      It’s definitely well worth reading. Erik Larson has a couple other books I want to read, especially after reading this one- The Devil in the White City(Chicago World’s Fair); In the Garden or Beasts(Germany in WW2); Isaac’s Storm(the historic hurricane disaster of 1900 in Galveston); Thunderstruck(true-crime, a murder in Edwardian London). I’m not sure which one I’ll hunt down to read next, but they’re all on my to-read list.

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