Dead Wake

Dead Wake

The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

Book - 2015
Average Rating:
Rate this:
The #1 New York Times best-selling author of In the Garden of Beasts presents a 100th-anniversary chronicle of the sinking of the Lusitania that discusses the factors that led to the tragedy and the contributions of such figures as President Wilson, bookseller Charles Lauriat and architect Theodate Pope Riddle.
Publisher: New York : Crown Publishers, [2015]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780307408860
Call Number: 940.4514 L3295d
Characteristics: 430 pages : illustration, map ; 25 cm
Alternative Title: Last crossing of the Lusitania


From Library Staff

Join us to discuss this book on January 13 at 7 pm

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Dec 06, 2019

I didn't know much of anything about the Lusitania so reading this book was enlightening. An extremely well researched book that includes the psyche of the world as it enters WWI and how the Lusitania was basically allowed to be torpedoed. It included Pres Wilson, the Ship's Captain and the Admiralty of UK plus assorted passengers from the ship. The detail is amazing on each of theses entities. History comes alive while reading this book!

Oct 24, 2019

"Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania" by Erik Larson is an historical account of the sinking of the most prominent ocean liner of its time. Everyone knows that a German submarine fired a torpedo and brought the U.S. into the First World War. However, it did not. The ship sank. The U.S. stayed neutral for two more years. I found this the most surprising fact. The sinking was an outrage. It became the pre-imminent outrage. Just not the outrage that precipitated the U.S. into joining the Allies. A surprising fact, for me.

Oct 10, 2019

I loved this book, Larson's writing style is brilliant. I read it in 2 days. 5 stars

Aimee M Trudel
Sep 17, 2019

Jan Reynolds' recommendation

Aug 14, 2019

The details, from U-boot technicalities to passenger anecdotes, arrested my attention throughout, and would be mundane or tedious if delivered by other writers.
I was awestruck by the movie Titanic, which is now dwarfed by my experiencing (through reading) the last crossing of the Lusitania, in addition, I was let in the secret chamber of nations' leaders and war intelligence, and guided to oversee the international power play during the war.
The chapters are ordered in the form of two (boat) targets converging, added in narratives of US headquarter alternating with UK, thus created a highly suspenseful effect, also made me follow many survivors/victims journey with zest.
More than a simple exhilaration, that I care less about the historical coverage being absolute true and complete.

I knew very little about this historical event. The beginning of the book is slow but the need for the technical background becomes apparent as the story progresses. As others have mentioned, I am not sure why President's Wilson's love life took so much space in this book. Nevertheless this is a compelling read and provides the amateur historian with some shocking details underpinning the developments in WWI.

Aug 15, 2018

It gives you a "game board" style lay out, and then adds the political angle of the time between all the players of WWI. It also introduces you to Room 40. What is room 40? Can't tell you. read it and find out.

ArapahoeApril Jul 18, 2018

Erik Larson is a true storyteller. He manages to make a non-fiction book read as if it were unbelievable and it were a piece of fiction. You'll learn so much about WWII, U-boats and the Lusitania and it won't even feel like learning. This was a very fascinating read with a great narrative structure.

Jun 20, 2018

March 29 2015
Erik Larson knows how to transform history into a compelling story. Thanks to his extensive research and inclusion of first-hand accounts, personal letters and diaries, the reader is transported back in time and boards the Lusitania for its last tragic trans-Atlantic crossing. NC

May 03, 2018

This book was slow at first, read like a textbook at the beginning. However sticking with the novel was well worth it! Once mid way through you become invested in the people’s lives on the ship, as well as amazed at the small value of those lives to the war generals and politicians during WWI.

View All Comments


Add a Summary
Feb 17, 2016

A riveting account of how the Luisitania was sunk by the Nazis, what happened to the crew and the passengers, and how this event forced the U.S. into WWI.

Apr 20, 2015

A compelling read. Larson is a master of relating history in an engrossing fashion. Surprising to learn how various circumstances and events, deliberate and by chance, converged in one moment that resulted in this epic disaster.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at SFPL

To Top