Top positive review
A nice experience of reading
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on May 15, 2017
The book is about:
The book Dead wake is a historically based novel- like non-fiction that relates to the sink of Lusitania, one of the major reasons why did America get involved in the world one. Unlike the textbook or the objective documents that represent the official recording of this event. This book gradually brings the whole events out from all the small perspectives of people who got involved or lost their lives in it. The author’s big motivation for writing this book is to let people experience the whole events from the basic stories. Normally the information we received from those world war 1 documents is simple and unemotional. Without the name of dead people, there are not strong feelings through reading the death numbers. Without the background information, there is no explanation to why the boat was sunk by torpedoes. The author of this book drew the world of readers back to the last century, the happiness, desires, hopelessness from people are all seems close enough to touch. Even though the book itself focused mostly on the Boat and the submarine U-20 which sunk it, the characterization of other passengers on Lusitania is attractive and interesting. The movement of different organization and famous people such as American president Wilson were all caught by Erik Larson.
More than a normal non-fiction, Dead Wake shows its strength on imitating the humanity and atmospheres. The whole book is having a comparably easy and comfortable rhythm at the first chapter. Rather than just talking about the big historical event itself, Erik Larson fills in more small details and personal life parts into the skeleton of the book, to make it more vivid. On the other hand, the people on lusitania are not all the characters he focuses on. For example, the one who received the order to sank the boat with torpedoes, Captain Schwieger of the submarine U-20 is actually a pretty hard-working and nice captain in his normal life. ‘Yet among his peers and crew Schwieger was known for this kindness and good humor and for maintaining a cheerful atmosphere aboard his submarine.’ However, the war is cruel and cold-bloody, the perspective of enemies helped me understand the conception of the war better. Overall, this book is pretty nice book that can bring the readers into the experiences of the events happened in the past. Also, for one who is learning the First World War, this book gave me more new knowledge and brought me a historical event that I did not even hear before. The relationship between this book and the First world war build me a bridge on the way of studying this part of the history.
Relationship to the world war 1
Before America participated in the first world war, German started to attack any boats that had the British relationships near the British sea areas. They posted the news on the newspaper and this truly caused a lot of people to change their ideas. However, the passengers on lusitania didn’t see the risk they taking, because the boat they are taking was having the greatest speed in the whole world thanks to its newest technology. All the people believed that there weren’t any submarines able to catch the boat due to its unbelievable speed at that time. Unfortunately, the extrema of fog happened on the open sea of the Ireland. This accidentally triggered the following tragedy. The meeting of U-20 submarine and lusitania was not predicted by room 40, an organization which mainly focused the interception of telegrams from German in that period this time. This time, the speed of lusitania did not function as much as they thought. The boat is stucked in the fog, without the eyesight for speeding up. The U-20 caught the boat and gave the first torpedo under the order of captain Schwieger. The boat was hugely impacted and shook. People were running around and spreading out the scare. Then, not until most of them reached the bridge of the boat, the second the torpedo was launched without any hesitation. This one ensure the sink of the boat and caused nine tenth of the passengers on the boat fell into the deep water with the boat. Among the 1200 passengers who died in this event, there were nearly a hundred Americans. Only 300 corpse of were found after the boat was sunk by the U-20. This, undoubtedly, stimulate the anger of Americans. All the citizens want to give Germany punishment for their evil behaves. By the fact of other events, America was involved into this war finally.
The reflections after reading the books
Although I am reading a book of historical event, the feeling I received from the book is not limited on just a historical event. It is something deeper and was truly impacting my emotions. After reading the 300 pages in the book, most passengers became true people who used to live somewhere in the world vividly. I would love to talk with them if I was there. However, 1200 lives were end only because of two torpedoes. One of the greatest boat at that time was sunk. The declaration of Germany proved that they need an enemy who could teach them an unforgettable lesson. And that was what America did. I was usually imagining that what kind of fear was spreading at the last moment before the boat sunk. The mixture of 1200 people’s emotion before their death must be filled by darkness and blood. Many people on the boat was trying to look for someone they knew on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. The captain of the boat was not concerning of the disaster at all. No one could predict the existence of both fog and German submarine until they met. ‘Turner had no concern about the German warning. Shortly before departure, he was standing on the ship’s promenade deck, talking with Alfred Vanderbilt and Charles Frohman, when one of the ship-news man --- apparently not Jack Lawrence --- approached and asked Vanderbilt if he thought he’d be as lucky this time as he had been in deciding not to sail on the Titanic. Vanderbilt smiled but said nothing.’ The people on the whole boat could not noticed the event. How many people died without noticing their situation? This is my biggest question after reading the book.
Lusitania was definitely a boat that can let the people inside feel the atmosphere of happiness. ‘“Ships do have personalities,” wrote Jack Lawrence, the shipping writer for he New York Evening Mail. Some ships “have warm, friendly atmosphere while others are only steel plates riveted around throbbing turbines.”’ There were some children and infants on the boat and only one tenth of them finally survived. ‘The passenger manifest listed ninety-five children and thirty-nine infants’ It told me that no one can be ignored by the war when the enemy catches you. The fearness of war is remained in my mind by this book after seeing the innocent death under the big environment of the war. Thanks to this book, I learnt the fearness of the war.
The reasons for people to read this book
In conclusion, this book is definitely recommended for readers, even for those who are not interested in the world war one. From my perspective, the book focused more on people instead of events. The details in a person’s life usually appear for characterizing the personality of this person. The intention of For example, ‘Lauriat took the scrapbooks back to his home in Cambridge, where he inspected them in the company of his wife, Marian. He then packed them carefully, in his extension suitcase, and locked it. At the station later that night, he checked his trunk and shoe box for transport direct to the lusitania but held back his other three pieces. He kept these with him in the calendar.’ the characteristics of one of the passengers on the boat, Lauriat, a bookseller who usually went to Britain for transporting books, is fully shown for the readers. The introduction of boats or submarines are also comprehensive and informational for those people who want to learn more about the world war One. ‘U-boats in fact traveled underwater as little as possible, typically only in extreme weather or when attacking ships or dodging destroyers.’ The professional explanation like this line appeared commonly in the book. In short, the book is fascinating and interesting, feeling the past historical events from it is the attraction no readers can reject.