What readers think of Dead Wake, plus links to write your own review.

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Discuss |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Dead Wake

The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

by Erik Larson

Dead Wake by Erik Larson X
Dead Wake by Erik Larson
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Mar 2015, 448 pages

    Mar 2016, 480 pages


  • Rate this book

Buy This Book


Page 1 of 1
There are currently 5 reader reviews for Dead Wake
Order Reviews by:

Write your own review!


Erik Larson takes you on board the Lusitania.You learn about the ship, its passengers, and the last crossing of this Great ship.
You will not be able to put it down. You become part of this great liner.

Erik Larson Does It Again!
Just as in all his books, Erik Larson does his research and spins a tale of non-fiction as engrossing and interesting as any novel. His main character in this one is the elegant, stream-lined, grayhound of the seas, HMS Lusitania. She is a tragic figure, populated with the rich and influential, traveling to England for varied reasons from reunion with family to making business deals likely to make them richer and more influential. There are also the more modest passengers, enjoying a bit of opulence as they travel to Europe. brHere, too,is the Captain--Turner, who has worked his way through the ranks of the Cunard company to command this fastest ocean liner. All of these people are entering an area around Ireland that Germany has declared a war zone. Indeed, the German government has taken out an ad in the New York papers warning that any ship in the zone, neutral or otherwise, is fair game for her U-Boats, patrolling the area.

Nevertheless, the ship heads out of New York Harbor, planning on running up a US flag on its mast when in the war zone and docking safely in Liverpool, most likely escorted by British naval vessels for protection.

Larson takes us through the New York preparations of the ship, through the boarding of passengers, to the embarkation and across the Atlantic. We meet several of the passengers and learn of their sea water baths, their lavish dining, the quiet strolls along the decks, the laughter of children, and evening entertainments. As we travel with her, he also takes us to the claustrophobic atmosphere of a German U-boat, captained by a leader every bit as experienced and capable as Captain Turner, Walther Schwieger. Here we learn of the dangers and tribulations of life on a torpedo laden dweller of the deep, blind to its surrounding when submerged and open to detection when it is not.

The closer the two ships come to each other, the greater the tension that builds until Turner shifts the angle of the Lusitania along the Irish coast and Schwieger lines up the torpedo he will loose into her bow. As it finds its mark under the disbelieving gaze of several of its passengers, U-20 after one last glance at the devastation, makes its way to the open sea and the Lusitania begins its journey to the bottom of the ocean, where it will come to rest within 15-20 minutes.

And during those final minutes, Larson again takes us among her passengers until at last, the living are rescued and the dead are laid to rest.

I would suggest if you wish to know more about some of these people that you read another book--Lusitania by Greg King and Penny Wilson. Between the two books, the full story of the ship and her human mates arises from the mists of over 100 years.

Greyhound Of The Seas
As you read Erik Larson's new book, "Dead Wake" you are transformed into the "golden era" of transatlantic voyaging.the Seas" for its speed and form, you accompany the crew and "elite" passengers as they leave New York on Saturday, May 1st, 1915 and travel on the luxury liner bound for Liverpool, England.

Traveling on "The Lusitania" dubbed "The Greyhound of the Seas" for its speed and form, you accompany the crew and "elite" passengers as they leave New York on Saturday, May 1st, 1915 and travel on the luxury liner bound for Liverpool, England.

The day to day interwoven lives of the passengers and the historical background of the era made the book a very interesting read.

Though we know the outcome of this ill-fated passage, through thoughtful prose and exquisite language, we are riveted to our seats as the first torpedo burst from the submarine and reaches its final destination, the hull of The Lusitania.

I can't give enough praise to Mr. Larson for this awe inspiring book and intend to read his other historical novels as soon as I can.
Power Reviewer

DEAD WAKE by Eric Larson
DEAD WAKE, the beautifully detailed history of the events leading up to and after the sinking of the Lusitania, is written in Larson’s style of presenting well-known facts and events in the manner of a well plotted mystery. Using both famous and obscure persons, Larson fleshes out the event that ultimately leads to the United States entering World War II. He contrasts the tension generated by the ship speeding to disaster with the courtship of the widowed and lonely President Wilson and the discord between Winston Churchill and Jacky Fisher in the British Admiralty. The action moves between the Lusitania, the U-20, President Wilson, and the Admiralty.
Book groups will find the history intriguing and lead to a good discussion of the merits of attacking “innocent” targets during war. Participants will also enjoy a discussion of the courtship between the President and Edith Galt, a “distracted” President during a time of international tension, the safety measures taken on board ship, and the actions (or inaction) of various passengers and ship crew.
A map of the entire area traversed by the U-20 and the Lusitania would be helpful in following the routes. I was frustrated by failing to find points mentioned (and important) noted on the end paper map. A listing of the persons encountered in the book with a brief description would be helpful in identifying the many passengers on the Lusitania when they are re-encountered in widely separated parts of the book. For real history buffs, the end notes are generous and detailed.
5 of 5 stars

Dead Wake
Erik Larson has written another very special book about one of our National disasters. A very valuable book for history buffs and could be used for book talks and additional info from our history. A must for high school libraries and should be on reading lists.
  • Page
  • 1

Join and Save 20%!

Become a member and
discover exceptional books.

Find out more

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: I'm the Girl
    I'm the Girl
    by Courtney Summers
    YA author Courtney Summers doesn't believe in shielding her teenage readers from the world's darkest...
  • Book Jacket: They're Going to Love You
    They're Going to Love You
    by Meg Howrey
    Teenage Carlisle lives with her mother in Ohio, but their relationship has never felt particularly ...
  • Book Jacket: The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    by Isaac Blum
    That irreplaceable feeling of everyone knowing your name. The yearning to be anonymous. Parents ...
  • Book Jacket: Now Is Not the Time to Panic
    Now Is Not the Time to Panic
    by Kevin Wilson
    The edge is a shantytown filled with gold seekers. We are fugitives, and the law is skinny with ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The Bell in the Lake
by Lars Mytting
The engrossing epic novel - a #1 bestseller in Norway - of a young woman whose fate plays out against her village's mystical church bells.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Family Izquierdo
    by Rubén Degollado

    A masterful debut that weaves together the lives of three generations of a Mexican American family bound by love, and a curse.


Solve this clue:

W N, W Not

and be entered to win..

Who Said...

We have to abandon the idea that schooling is something restricted to youth...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.