Battle of Waterloo, 18 June 1815. Sinking of RMS LUSITANIA — 7 May 1915. Historical anniversaries inspire new television documentaries as well as the creation of nonfiction books. Librarian, Nancy Fort, has her review on a new book by author, Erik Larson on the sinking of this famous ship.
I generally read fiction but every once in a while a non-fiction title comes along that catches my eye. I was motivated to read Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania for two reasons. It takes place during the early years of World War I (the same time period as Downton Abbey when it began) and it is written by Erik Larson who excels at recreating historic events with a narrative tone. I read Devil in the White City by Larson and was shocked at the events that took place during the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. The book read like a novel.
Dead Wake gives a thorough account of the sinking of the Lusitania but it lacks the finesse of a novel. The book presents the event from American, British and German viewpoints. Testimony and correspondence from survivors, witnesses, Cunard officials and British intelligence officers provide lots of detail about the event. As I was returning the book to the shelf in the library I noticed another new book about the Lusitania. It is the 100th anniversary of the event so I am not surprised that there are more books coming out right now. If you want to take a look at other non-fiction titles, go to the BCLS website, Non-fiction Picks for suggestions.