#1 New York Times Bestseller
From the bestselling author and master of narrative nonfiction comes the enthralling story of the sinking of the Lusitania
On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, 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 surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds”—the fastest liner then in service—and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack.
Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small—hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more—all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.
It is a story that many of us think we know but don’t, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour and suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope to President Woodrow Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love.
Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster whose intimate details and true meaning have long been obscured by history.
American born author, Erik Larson, grew up on Long Island and developed an interest in journalistic writing after seeing the movie "All the President's Men". He earned a degree in Russian history from the University of Pennsylvania, graduating summa cum laudee, then a post graduate degree in journalism from Columbia University in 1978.
Larson has written eight books, with six of them having been included on the New York Times Bestseller list. The latest books are: The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family and Defiance During the Blitz; Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania; The Devil in the White City (which is being adapted for a mini series produced by Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio for hulu); In the Garden of Beasts (Optioned by Tom Hanks); and Isaac's Storm.
Larson lives in Manhattan with his wife, a neonatologist, who has written a book of her own titled, Almost Home. Her husband says it could "make a stone cry". They have three daughters in various professions and live in different locations. They also have the ashes of their beloved dog Molly on a shelf overlooking Central Park.