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Dead Wake

The enthralling story of the sinking of the Lusitania by #1 New York Times ...
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details about submarine life

Created: 03/27/16

Replies: 5

Posted Mar. 27, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Lea Ann

Join Date: 04/20/11

Posts: 99

details about submarine life

First of all, let me say that I've read every book that Erik Larson has written and so enjoyed each of them. In Dead Wake one of the fascinating things I learned were the many details about the workings of a submarine and the lives of the men (and now women) who serve on them. I found these details engrossing and myself shuddering as I read the conditions under which the crews lived and served. Great research and I'm so glad Larson shared those details with his readers.

Posted Mar. 28, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert

Join Date: 04/25/11

Posts: 33

RE: details about submarine life

Larson's writing about submarine life is excellent. I felt he captured the experience of the earlier subs so well, especially illustrating that it was not a life of leisure. It was dangerous and often not an exact science, resulting in the loss of life and unsuccessful tours of duty. The details he gives are informative and give some insight in to what the captains may have been thinking.

Posted Mar. 28, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert

Join Date: 01/14/15

Posts: 64

RE: details about submarine life

I wish that Larson had gone further into Schweiger's head like he did into H.H. Holmes's in The Devil in the White City. Larson is such a master at telling historical nonfiction in novelistic style. I imagine getting into the head of a close-quartered submarine captain would bring to the surface so many aspects of submarine life -- the claustrophobia, the tactics, the relationships, etc. I wonder if it could have made an even more stark contrast to the spacious, relatively carefree lifestyle aboard a ship such as Lusitania.

Posted Mar. 31, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert

Join Date: 07/16/14

Posts: 337

RE: details about submarine life

I'm claustrophobic and have been on a submarine that is on land in Portsmouth, NH....a more modern one than U-20.I cannot imagine life on that sub. Also, one of my classmate's brother was on the Thresher when she went down. Between those two experiences the passages in Dead Wake describing life on U-20 almost made me physically ill. Submariners are definitely special people.

Posted Apr. 06, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert

Join Date: 04/18/12

Posts: 73

RE: details about submarine life

The structure in this book is in some ways similar to the one Larson used in The Devil in the White City, and as in that book, I found that one part sticks with me more than the other. In my case, the part about the Lusitania and its passengers is the part that will stick with me. It's not that Larson didn't do a good job of describing what a horrible experience it must have been to be on a submarine from that era. It's just that I felt some of that was superfluous to the actual subject of the book.

Posted Apr. 16, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert

Join Date: 05/09/12

Posts: 37

RE: details about submarine life

I had the pleasure of working for many years with a retired US Naval officer who spent his career on submarines, mostly during the Cold War. While there were many things he still could not, and never will be, able to share, he had fabulous stories about the living and working conditions on submarines. Certainly not the place for me. I found the German submarine history in this book very interesting. Certainly, the ships changed and developed greatly from WWI to the 1990s. The current ships must be truly amazing and very powerful.


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