Book Review-‘Dead Wake: The last crossing of the ‘Lusitania’by Erik Larson/Wilful Murder: The sinking of the ‘Lusitania’by Diana Preston/A Higher Form of Killing’ by Diana Preston/Lusitania’: An illustrated biography’by J. Kent Layton
A disaster always draws a crowd. As with the Titanic centenary in 2012, which saw a veritable plethora of Titanic-related books, both good and bad, the centenary of the sinking of Lusitania is also causing something of a publishing explosion. This includes a number of reissued centenary editions as well as some new works.
The basic story is often repeated. The Cunard liner was built in Clydebank in 1907, it briefly held the record as the largest and fastest ship in the world before the Mauretania took both honours by a slight margin, and was torpedoed in 1915 off the coast of Ireland with the loss of over a thousand lives. The brutal tragedy brought the reality of war much closer to the civilian populations of both Britain and America and led, ultimately, to the US intervention in the First World War. There is also a large number of myths, mysteries and misunderstandings surrounding the ship, which the different publications pick up on to varying degrees…