Dead Wake

By Erik Larson,

Book cover of Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

Book description

On May 1, 1915, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were anxious. Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone, and for…

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Why read it?

4 authors picked Dead Wake as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

It’s a true story that reads like a mystery, thriller, and yet was an actual historical event.

There were so many little things that could have gone differently that would have changed the ultimate outcome for the Lusitania. It’s like a metaphor for life – small differences can result in huge outcomes…sometimes wonderful, sometimes terrible.

I loved it because of the intrigue, the rich character descriptions, and how it reminded me of Greek tragedies with the “hubris” of many of those involved in the ship’s ultimate fate. I was immersed in a fascinating history lesson, story, and character study all…

Dead Wake is fact that reads like fiction. Not often do I choose a book already knowing how it ends. His artistic rendering of the world in 1915 is alone worth the read. He introduces us to the passengers of the SS Lusitania, who they are, why they are on the ship, and he makes us care.

Larson limns Captains Turner of the Lusitania, and Schweiger of the U-20, the Imperial German submarine. The author carefully choreographs the final voyage of the doomed ship. The sinking is not the end of the story. 

The last third of…

Dead Wake is a history lesson disguised as a thoroughly engrossing story. Larson skillfully tells the tragic tale of the British ocean liner and the German U-boat that torpedoed her. He paints a vivid picture of the 1915 era and the maritime tragedy that helped push the United States into World War One. I was struck by the many similarities between the sinking of the Lusitania and the 1994 B-52 crash at Fairchild, particularly the multiple warnings that went unheeded and the missteps that preceded the tragedy.  

From Andy's list on man-made disaster and tragedy.

Currently Away: How Two Disenchanted People Traveled the Great Loop for Nine Months and Returned to the Start, Energized and Optimistic

By Bruce Tate,

Book cover of Currently Away: How Two Disenchanted People Traveled the Great Loop for Nine Months and Returned to the Start, Energized and Optimistic

Bruce Tate

New book alert!

What is my book about?

The plan was insane. The trap seemed to snap shut on Bruce and Maggie Tate, an isolation forced on them by the pandemic and America's growing political factionalism. Something had to change.

Maggie's surprising answer: buy a boat, learn to pilot it, and embark on the Great Loop. With no experience, and knowing little about seafaring, diesel motors, or navigation, Maggie, Bruce, and the family dog decided to take on the six-thousand-mile journey down inland rivers, around the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, and across the Great Lakes. They would have to navigate canals, rivers, seas, and locks. But along the way, they made new lifelong friends and were forever changed.

For nine months, Bruce and Maggie navigated shallow rivers, bottomless lakes, joy, and loss. Against all odds, they conquered the Great Loop, and along the way, found common cause across political divides with new friends while blowing the walls off their world.

Currently Away: How Two Disenchanted People Traveled the Great Loop for Nine Months and Returned to the Start, Energized and Optimistic

By Bruce Tate,


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Step on board the fateful Lusitania on its last voyage to Europe from New York City in May of 1915. Set sail with the confident Captain William Thomas Turner, rare book collector Charles Lauriat, actress Rita Jolivet, the affluent Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, and many others from all walks of life. You will also board Walther Schweiger’s U-20 and discover the harsh conditions of living on a submarine. I found Larson’s non-fiction book to be a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at a horrific event often only known by name in history.

From Laci's list on to relive history.

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