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Dead Wake
The enthralling story of the sinking of the Lusitania by #1 New York Times...
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What did you know about the Lusitania before reading the book? Did any of Larson's revelations surprise you?

Created: 03/20/16

Replies: 17

Posted Mar. 20, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1358

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What did you know about the Lusitania before reading the book? Did any of Larson's revelations surprise you?

In his Note to Readers, Erik Larson writes that before researching Dead Wake, he thought he knew "everything there was to know" about the sinking of the Lusitania, but soon realized "how wrong [he] was." What did you know about the Lusitania before reading the book? Did any of Larson's revelations surprise you?


Posted Mar. 20, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
meredithk

Join Date: 06/10/13

Posts: 27

RE: What did you know about the Lusitania before reading the book? Did any of Larson's revelations surprise you?

I am ashamed to say that I knew next to nothing about the attack and sinking of The Lusitania. I did briefly hear about it from history books but wasn't interested in it enough to read more about it.

I found the book fascinating especially the political atmosphere of the period. The isolationist mentality of this country and the inability of President Wilson to understand the complexities of the German governments actions.


Posted Mar. 21, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurief

Join Date: 09/08/12

Posts: 25

RE: What did you know about the Lusitania before reading the book? Did any of Larson's revelations surprise you?

I knew very little of the impact of the Room 40 involvement and the British politics behind the decisions that impacted the eventual conclusion. Also, it was enlightening to learn about the UBoat's captain and his motivations as he crept around the British Isles.


Posted Mar. 21, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Maggie

Join Date: 01/01/16

Posts: 92

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RE: What did you know about the Lusitania before reading the book? Did any of Larson's revelations surprise you?

I knew nothing about the Lusitania so this was a real eye opener for me. So shocked that this ship with so many innocent people was not protected like they imagined they would be.


Posted Mar. 22, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Silly Lotus

Join Date: 10/07/15

Posts: 11

RE: What did you know about the Lusitania before reading the book? Did any of Larson's revelations surprise you?

I knew very little as well. Erik Larson has introduced me to many historical events that I knew very little about and i have loved them all. I think this book is a lot stronger than the last. Perhaps because the people on the boat were very real and personable.


Posted Mar. 22, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rosienick

Join Date: 03/20/16

Posts: 14

RE: What did you know about the Lusitania before reading the book? Did any of Larson's revelations surprise you?

I knew only that the Lusitania was a boat!! I learned so much from reading Dead Wake. I didn't realize that the ship was a British ship, and that it was more than just a passenger ship. It did have munitions on it. I was also really surprised that it was sunk with only one torpedo...and in only about twenty minutes...and so close to the shore of Ireland and to its final destination.


Posted Mar. 24, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
juliep

Join Date: 04/07/12

Posts: 70

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RE: What did you know about the Lusitania before reading the book? Did any of Larson's revelations surprise you?

I knew very little about the Lusitania - not much has been written about this period of time, as opposed to the 1940s and WWII. I was fascinated with all aspects of this story - our entry into WWI, the info on submarines, the personal stories of those on board, Wilson's personal life, and the existence of Room 40. All of it was fascinating. I asked several friends and family members, and most of them had never heard of the Lusitania! So I'm trying to spread the word about this wonderful book.


Posted Mar. 25, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
virginiap

Join Date: 03/01/12

Posts: 12

RE: What did you know about the Lusitania before reading the book? Did any of Larson's revelations surprise you?

I knew next to nothing about the sinking of the Lusitania. Sad to say history classes in high school and college did not spend much time on this event and so we are fortunate to have a book of the caliber of Dead Wake. I learned a great deal about the German and British tactics as well as Wilson's lack of desire to get into a war.


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

Join Date: 04/18/12

Posts: 35

RE: What did you know about the Lusitania before reading the book? Did any of Larson's revelations surprise you?

I didn't know much about the Lusitania beyond the fact that it was a boat that was sunk in WWI. I didn't know anything about Room 40, so that was very interesting to read about. It was also very interesting to read about the U-boat, including how fast and how far they could go, neither of which was as great as I would have thought. I didn't know how they could recharge the battery. And I didn't realize how much luck played into their success in sinking ships.


Posted Mar. 27, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Daniel68

Join Date: 03/21/16

Posts: 1

RE: What did you know about the Lusitania before reading the book? Did any of Larson's revelations surprise you?

I knew very little. Not finished reading but love detail


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

Join Date: 04/25/11

Posts: 25

RE: What did you know about the Lusitania before reading the book? Did any of Larson's revelations surprise you?

The only background I had about the sinking of the Lusitania was what I learned in Social Studies class in school. Larson really helped to humanize this tragic event.


Posted Mar. 30, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Sooz

Join Date: 07/29/14

Posts: 40

RE: What did you know about the Lusitania before reading the book? Did any of Larson's revelations surprise you?

As the only thing I knew about the Lusitania is that, like the Titanic, it was sunk and many lives were lost meant that Larson's book was a complete revelation to me. His detailed account and obvious extensive research into the event and the lives of so many of the persons affected made for a fascinating story and I will look forward to reading his other books.


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

Join Date: 05/11/11

Posts: 20

RE: What did you know about the Lusitania before reading the book? Did any of Larson's revelations surprise you?

I knew very little about the Lusitania prior to reading this book. I found it interesting that none of the passengers seemed concerns about the mild warnings that they received of impending danger. I also enjoyed seeing this very romantic, human side of President Wilson.


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

Join Date: 07/16/14

Posts: 71

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RE: What did you know about the Lusitania before reading the book? Did any of Larson's revelations surprise you?

Since my parents were born in 1903 and 1901, I heard much about the early history of the 20th Century from them, much of which, like the sinking of the Lusitania and the Japanese intern camps of WW II, were not taught me in school. They both held the belief that the ship was allowed to be sunk so that the US would enter the War. As for Room 40, I had no idea. Nor had I any knowledge of the conditions on and operation of the German U-boats of this period. Prior to reading Larsen's book, I had read Lusitania by Greg King and Penny Wilson, also received from Book Browse. If you have interest in the lives of the passengers both before and after the tragedy, that book is wonderful.


Posted Apr. 01, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
booksnob

Join Date: 11/12/11

Posts: 31

RE: What did you know about the Lusitania before reading the book? Did any of Larson's revelations surprise you?

I'm a world history teacher and I knew quite a bit about the sinking of the Lusitania. What I learned was the story of U-boat 20 and the rule/law from the Admiralty about war ships not being able to help survivors of torpedoed ships. I also liked learning the finer details about the passengers on board and getting to know them as people. It truly was a great tragedy that didn't need to happen. If only...


Posted Apr. 02, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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mojogirl

Join Date: 02/20/16

Posts: 5

RE: What did you know about the Lusitania before reading the book? Did any of Larson's revelations surprise you?

I realize that I didn't know much of anything about the Lusitania before reading this. I was captivated with all the info re: U-boats and war rules and how boats became carriers for munitions. The existence of Room 40 blew me away. Larson has such an attention to detail, it's a history lesson come to life. I love his other books and this one did not disappoint! The way he introduces the passengers, one by one, I just got swept away by their histories and watching the voyage unfold, *knowing* how it's going to end was heartbreaking to witness. So many never had a chance. It really got to me. I finished this book a few days ago and I still can't stop thinking about it.


Posted Apr. 04, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ylhoff

Join Date: 10/23/12

Posts: 56

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RE: What did you know about the Lusitania before reading the book? Did any of Larson's revelations surprise you?

I knew nothing about the Lusitania other than that it drew the US into the war. Larson's descriptions of the luminaries on board, as well as some of the cargo were very telling - although I felt the more he went into depth on particular characters, the more unlikely they were to survive - it did not make for comfortable reading. The descriptions of the U-Boat fleet and the captains of such boats reminded me very much of the types of incidents we are seeing today on the world's oceans. There are laws, but once out of earshot, the law is whatever the captain says it is.

It is odd to me how people who have been warned in one way or another that it is not a good idea to "board the ship" often ignore the waving flag and move forward ... then they are surprised when it all falls apart. There were so many people (both passengers and military) who didn't stop long enough to really look at the information they had, didn't stop to question anything, and people died because of it.


Posted Apr. 08, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
sherria

Join Date: 04/16/13

Posts: 16

RE: What did you know about the Lusitania before reading the book? Did any of Larson's revelations surprise you?

I knew next to nothing, so was eager to learn. I did not realize the extent of the politics behind that fateful day and so it was fascinating to read. Probably the most disheartening part was that Britain was so eager to have America join the war that a small group was willing to sacrifice the people, crew and passengers, of the Lusitania to get their point across to Wilson.


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