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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

From the #1 New York Times 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 …

Dead Wake

by Erik Larson

Overall Book Review:

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania is best-selling author Erik Larson’s latest masterpiece.Larson breathes new life into this retelling of the English ocean liner’s fateful journey across the Atlantic in 1915. Larson’s storytelling is detail-oriented, easy-to-follow, and extremely intriguing. As a master of detail, Larson includes interesting factual tidbits (the color of the ship’s curtains, for instance) that don’t slow the book’s flow. The novel’s chapters vary in setting, from the infamous German U-20 to the grand Lusitania, as well as scenes from the secretive British Intelligence Room 40 and the White House in Washington. While the sinking of the ship is the book’s electrifying climax, Larson shines in his explanation of what happened after the disaster. Dead Wake also outlines what it took to eventually bring America into World War I. This is a fantastic read for anyone–history buff or not!

Review of Advance Reader Copy

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Crown Publishers

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  5 religious exclamations, 7 mild obscenities, 1 derogatory name.

Violence/Gore:  Germany threatens to sink other country’s ships; frequent secondhand reports of violence involving World War I battles and espionage, as well as naval accidents and ships being sunk by submarines; brief scenes of violence involving battle and the use of poisonous gas; numerous non-detailed scenes of violent death when the Lusitania and other boats are torpedoed; a few brief scenes of gory battle or descriptions of the deceased that involve blood and gore. 

Sex/Nudity:  A few implied or reported incidents of sexual activity. 

Mature Subject Matter:

War and other war crimes, terrorism, mental health and depression, death of friends and family members, mention of suicide.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Individuals often drink and smoke. 

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

My mother was the one who sparked my love of books. Long before school instruction, she sat me down and taught me to read. My childhood was filled with trips to the library and bookmobile to find great books. My first loves were The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Pippi Longstocking series by Astrid Lingren. Now as a mom and speech pathologist, I am constantly looking for good, clean books to use at home and in therapy. I enjoy reading many different genres, but my favorites are usually historical fiction. I married my best friend, the “boy next door”, and we have a beautiful little girl who we often find sprawled out on the floor, flipping through picture books. Together our family likes to swim, run and play tennis. Besides reading, I also love to bake, garden and travel.