It is time for another Law Office Book Review for the Monthly Newsletter! I simply could not put down "Dead Wake," by Erik Larson, "The Last Crossing of the Lusitania," and so I thought I would share with you my quick book review.
As Erik Larson points out in his introduction, "it is a story that many of us think we know but don't" about the sinking of the Lusitania just prior to the US entry into World War I. It is a thrilling tale of switching between the hunter (German U-Boat 20), and the Hunted (Lusitania) all the while painting a portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era.
What I like about this book is that you get to see the historical context of the sinking told through the eyes of actual crew members, and passengers, including the Lusitania's ship Captain Turner, and the U-Boat Captain Schwieger who brought her down just 11 miles off the Coast of Ireland. Even Woodrow Wilson is a character but it is Non-fiction book, and Larson bases all character activities through real world documents such as letters and other historical evidence.
I like how Erik Larson performs his research in his books, and I respect the time it takes for him to put a book together for the reader's enjoyment. In this book, it reads much like a thriller novel as the tension builds and builds toward the end. It is certainly not a plot-spoiler to know that at the end of the book, the Lusitania sinks, as the book is so much more than just that one aspect.
As a lawyer, I particularly enjoyed the part on how the Admiralty of Great Britain tried to put the blame on the Luistania's Captian Turner as to why the ship was sunk - by alledgedly not following "War Time Safety Protocols." However, Captain Turner, as Erik Larson paints his character based on the historical evidence, is a very reliable ship Captain, who does get exonnerated from any wrong doing in the legal proceedings after the sinking occurs. Keep in mind, Captain Turner stayed at his post while the ship sank from underneath him, and he did end up surviving. Eerily the Lusitania sank just 11 miles off the Coast of Ireland, in completely smooth water (like glass), and lies at the bottom of the ocean only 305 feet from the surface. Sadly, almost 1200 people were killed, including 128 Americans.
So, if you are looking for an early Fall book to add to your reading list, I recommend this one. You will not be dissapointed. Also, if you have read it, please share your thoughts with me. I am always looking out for good historical non-fiction books, so if you have any to recommend, please let me know. With that said, keep on "leading with your reading," and have a great day, Attorney Mark