The Lusitania and writing suspenseful narrative nonfiction

Author: Erik Larson
Book: Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

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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 h…more

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message 1: by Katherine (last edited Mar 05, 2015 03:42PM)

Katherine Dering I was coerced by positive press into reading his last two books and they were both boring and pedantic. About 2/3 through the last one, I decided this was a case of the emperor's new clothes. Guess what. The emperor is naked. In the Garden of Beasts was not as bad as the one about the Chicago World's Fair. It actually had a few interesting pages. But I will not be shamed into reading this one.

Joanne Young The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
I am an avid reader, I also volunteer for my local library, I think that Eric Larson is my all time favorite writer. I have read all of his last 5 non-fiction books and have recommended them to the patrons where I volunteer. I have ordered a copy of the latest Dead Wake and can't wait for it to come. His detailed research for his books is evident and adds verve to his writing ability. Thank you Eric Larson for your time and ability to make history exciting and real.

Michele Long Erik Larson has become a favorite author of mine. I have ordered Dead Wake, but still want to read In The Garden of Beasts. I have such a wide range of interests when it comes to reading, often reading a novel one week and nonfiction the next, of varying topics. What I love about Erik Larson is that his non-fiction books read like a novel. They are so narrative and interesting. I think I know about a topic and then he finds information so interesting or unknown. The Devil in the White City is one of my favorite all-time books. I love his writing style.

message 4: by Eric

Eric Steinert Katherine wrote: "I was coerced by positive press into reading his last two books and they were both boring and pedantic. About 2/3 through the last one, I decided this was a case of the emperor's new clothes. Gue..."

very surprising to read this opinion and try to understand the point of view...are we sure we're talking about the same books?

Caroline Altman I have many of your book
s and am always enthralled with the details.
I think my favorite is Is1s,s storm Your books read like detailed novels which I prefer

message 6: by Ben

Ben Dead Wake is truly astounding. I knew a bit abiut the ship and the sinking, but tbis book simply puts you not on, but inside the ship as well as the minds of the German commanders.

I did very well in all of my high school and college history classes. If I had Mr Larson around back then, i would have gotten an A+ in every class.

message 7: by Jerry

Jerry Lund Mr Larson either does not know or left out that London was hit every day until sometime in 1945. Today there is a lot written
about PTSD. The civilians on the front lines and the children
growing up on the front lines I believe all had PTSD,

Jerry Lund

message 8: by Nevil

Nevil Shute Jerry wrote: "Mr Larson either does not know or left out that London was hit every day until sometime in 1945. Today there is a lot written
about PTSD. The civilians on the front lines and the children
growing u..."

We recently had a controversy here in Canada because a certain group of people objected to wearing the poppy in remembrance of our war dead. We hosted a dinner with REMEMBRANCE as its theme, and I dug up the statistics of the victims of WWII (soldiers only, not civilians) and in doing so discovered much more. I was rather shocked what I found below. 3.7 million German prisoners of war killed and ‘’missing’’---a good many of them in the infamous Eisenhower camps? Wasn't killing prisoners a war crime? I had never even heard of these camps, although their existence is not exactly hidden. I had never even heard of Bomber Harris (a.k.a. Butcher Harris), who was largely responsible for the leveling of Berlin, Dresden, Hamburg, etc. His bombing efforts make the London Blitz almost a tea party. Children exuberantly stepping out of the bomb shelters and being instantly incinerated when they stepped on the pavement in Dresden. Germans having their legs and arms attached to four horses, made to gallop and pull them apart. They erected a monument to Bomber Harris who lived in a town called Goring (of all names!)! It had to be guarded for a long time because Brits kept vandalizing it. His title died with him. I didn’t even know he exited. The largest maritime disaster ever was when the Allies (Russians) torpedoed and sank the German refugee ship Wilhelm Gustloff at the end of the war with over 9,400 victims, mostly women and children. I had never heard of it. The Titanic maritime disaster pales by comparison. I didn’t even know that it was England and France that declared war on Germany twice, not the other way around as I had assumed. I also did not know that Hess, the German commander, flew his aeroplane to England to sue for peace in the early 1940’s and was imprisoned there and in Germany, instead, for the rest of his entire life, mostly in solitary confinement, and not allowed to speak to anyone without supervision. It was a war between 60 million Allied soldiers against 30 million of the Axis, and it took six years to end it. I had always assumed our side was lily-white. Yet the Germans never complained and never explained, and even paid war reparations through the nose, when they could ill afford them…and even now suffer anti-German hatemongering in the disguise of patriotism and victimhood. ---Whatever happened, all our boys (and many of the girls, too) went through hell over there and well deserve our wearing the poppy to remember it. Only I’ll wear mine for all of the victims now of two wars, including the Germans, who arguable suffered a great deal more in these two major conflicts that really changed very little in Europe, except that it propelled America to the hegemony of the free world. So, let it lead and unite the West---and that should include the approximately 1.3 billion people of Russia, Europe, the Americas, Australia, and New Zealand, facing 1.3 billion arguably peace-loving Chinese. Now, all this would make a book to remember. Here are the statistics:

GR 18,200,000 5,318,000 6,035,000 11,1 3,700,000
CW 17,834,000 580,497 475,000 0.318 107,000
USA 15,353,639 407,316 671,846 0.130 3,204
SOV 34,476,700 10,725,345 14,915,517 5.750 1,910,000
JAP 8,400,000 2,121,955 94,500 0.040 10,300
ITA 3,430,000 341,000 320,000 1,300 129,300
JEWS: 1933 Population in Europe (incl. Soviet Union): 9,067,000

NON-WHITE SOLDIERS: 1.45% in all Allied Services

Here is a quote from Bomber Harris: "The aim of the Combined Bomber Offensive ... should be unambiguously stated [as] the destruction of German cities, the killing of German workers, and the disruption of civilised life throughout Germany ... the destruction of houses, public utilities, transport and lives, the creation of a refugee problem on an unprecedented scale, and the breakdown of morale both at home and at the battle fronts by fear of extended and intensified bombing, are accepted and intended aims of our bombing policy. They are not by-products of attempts to hit factories."

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