Reader reviews and comments on Lusitania, plus links to write your own review.

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Triumph, Tragedy, and the End of the Edwardian Age

by Greg King, Penny Wilson

Lusitania by Greg King, Penny Wilson X
Lusitania by Greg King, Penny Wilson
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2015, 400 pages
    Apr 2016, 416 pages

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There are currently 22 reader reviews for Lusitania
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Janice T. (Ruckersville, VA)

I love this book.
My past experience of reading similar books left me giving up before I had finished. But I stayed to the very end. I found the book very interesting. The authors give you a good understanding of this era and the people who either died or lived through this horrendous event. You really become immersed in it. I highly recommend the book.
Patricia T. (Fallbrook, CA)

We all know about the Lusitania, at least we thought we knew. Exactly what you know probably depends on how old you are and where you were educated. This book fills in all the gaps, it is packed with historical facts, but is very readable, not dense like so many textbooks. Full of human interest, and very even handed, all sides of the story are told. Who knew that the crew of the U boat kept a pair of dachshunds on board, and that they slept with the men snuggled in their hammocks? Aw. Who was to blame for the sinking and loss of life? Who was at fault? Nearly everybody involved, in some way. All the questions are fully explored, investigated and turned inside out, but are still not answered to this day. A must for WWII history buffs, and recommended for young readers. They all know the story of the Titanic, but that pales beside the story of the Lusitania. Here they get the realities of war, intrigue, deceit, the awful loss of innocent lives.
Annette S. (Duluth, GA)

LUSITANIA: Triumph, Tragedy, and the End of the Edwardian Age
Were the Lusitania and her passengers exposed/sacrificed to danger in order to involve America in World War I? This question and others such as: Did the Cunard Line, British Admiralty, and Captain William Turner deliberately place the Lusitania in danger are dealt with in King & Wilson's very informative book. Also, included are the interesting background stories of many of the passengers and their reasons for being aboard a ship that would be sailing through a declared war zone in which several ships had recently been destroyed by U-boats.

It is one hundred years since the Lusitania was sunk and many questions of personal and governmental responsibility are still being debated. Was Captain Turner a careless commander who guided a great ship to its doom or did the British government including Winston Churchill take action that insured this disaster for the purpose of entangling the United States in a web of war?

King and Wilson's extensive research help readers arrive at their own conclusions.
Judy K. (Conroe, TX)

Well Done!
I don't read much non-fiction. I love getting lost in a "story". Fortunately for me (and for any other readers) Lusitania tells a story, a riveting, transfixing story. Greg King and Penny Wilson did their homework. This book is so well-researched, I can't imagine anything was overlooked. I felt like I was on the ship myself. I had vague memories of the Lusitania from my high school history class, but all I remembered sunk. I knew it was torpedoed by a German U-boat, but that was the extent of it. These authors laid out the entire story from beginning to sad ending and did it in a compelling way. It read like one of my beloved novels instead of a factual presentation of an historical event. If you've ever been on a cruise yourself or remember the Costa Concordia, this book will strike a chord with you. I've never been in a book club, but I think this book would spark a spirited discussion. Good read!
Dorothy. Bismarck,N.D.

I had not heard much about the Lusitania, other then it had been hit by a torpedo and sunk by the Germans, during World War One. In reading this book I was able to gain a much clearer understanding about the people that sailed on the Lusitania even after there was information printed in the newspaper from the Germans. The book was well written and the Cast of Characters were easy to follow, since there was a list in the front of the book. I do read some books twice, so this will be one that I will read again.
Katherine P. (Post Mills, VT)

A Maritime Tragedy of Elegance on the Sea
Almost everyone in the world knows the story of the tragic collision of the Titanic and an iceberg in the North Atlantic. This is the story of an equally elegant ship populated by equally affluent and influential people sailing in unbelievable opulence in the opposite direction during a period when most of the Western world was at war. Here, then, is the Lusitania, the fastest ship on the seas, sailing under the guise of American neutrality from New York to Liverpool, through the Irish Sea and the war zone in which lurked German U-Boats.

On May 7, 1914 the commander of U-20 ordered the release of the torpedo that would send Lusitania to the bottom of the ocean within 15 minutes! That event, however, just a little over a hundred years ago, comes at the midpoint of this engrossing little book.

The authors begin the tale by setting the scene for us financially: a good motor car that would cost $1000 then, would in today's dollars cost $23,000. They provide a cast of characters, whose names and personalities are very familiar to the reader by the time the first explosion that rocked them and their late lunch, with portholes open to allow the lovely Spring breeze to enter the elegant rooms under an almost cloudless blue, sun drenched sky eleven miles off the shores of Ireland.

The writing's tone draws the reader into the early days of leisurely sailing with multiple changes of clothing, promenades and reading and lounging in deck chairs, writing letters, eating fabulous meals with strangers who become temporary friends, and following the social admonitions of Emily Post throughout. Yet, for some, there is some apprehension --the possibility of attack and the apparent lack of safety measures causing concern.

When the torpedo does come the reader, just as the passengers, experiences the shock, but disbelief that the ship will sink, through the fear, and panic and frantic reactions. We are carried overboard to be pulled down in the ship's suction only to bounce up. floating under an impossibly beautiful sky in freezing water. Eventually, some are saved and the authors take us ashore with them to the little town of Queensland and the beach where those who died wash up.

We are carried through the political manipulation of the story and then in an epilogue, we revisit the survivors to find what their lives became after the tragedy. It is such a well written book that the story seems as current as any in this morning's newspapers. The men and women and children--the passengers--the Captain and his officers on the Lusitania and even the Commander of the U-Boat are three-dimensional and real.

Anyone who enjoys the stories of the Edwardian Age and all its apparent splendor, who is fascinated by the social and technological changes of the early 20th century and who is interested in great human tragedies will find this book extremely rewarding and a fast read. It is, however, a book whose story lingers and brings home once more the fact that all the money in the world cannot protect mere mortals from overwhelming events and that some of the poorest of the poor can manage to survive them.
Jane A. (Lakeport, CA)

A 'must' for history buffs
The tragedy of the Titanic has long fascinated people around the world. What many don't realize is that 3 years later an equally tragic nautical disaster befell the Lusitania, pride of the Cunard line. While naiveté played a large part in the Titanic story, hubris played an equally contributory part in the fate of the Lusitania. Authors King and Wilson have done a wonderful job of introducing the reader to the circumstances and the individuals involved in this drama, then following the fateful cruise to its tragic end. The narrative is riveting and well-paced throughout, and the analysis of the tragedy is thorough and thought-provoking. In short, I couldn't put it down until I had read it all.
Marjorie H. (Woodstock, GA)

Disaster Again
The book "Lusitania" by Greg Wilson and Penny Wilson is one of the most enjoyable historical books I've read in a while. A lot has been written about the Titanic, but little about the luxury liner torpedoed as WWI was building up. This book is an education. Vividly written with beautiful descriptions of the opulence of the age, I enjoyed every page. I was amazed by the information regarding the captain and his disregard for orders, as well as the laxity of the crew. And again, the situation with the life boats. Was nothing learned from Titanic? The characters - so real - on the cusp of a new era were very interesting.
I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in history and culture of the times. So much can be learned.
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