CDN$ 20.38
  • List Price: CDN$ 32.50
  • You Save: CDN$ 12.12 (37%)
FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 35.
Only 6 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.
Dead Wake: The Last Cross... has been added to your Cart
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania Hardcover – Mar 10 2015

4.3 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews

See all 11 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
CDN$ 20.38
CDN$ 12.86 CDN$ 5.45

Unlimited FREE Two-Day Shipping for Six Months When You Try Amazon Student
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
  • +
  • In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin
  • +
  • Thunderstruck
Total price: CDN$ 53.70
Buy the selected items together

No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Crown (March 10 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307408868
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307408860
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 3.6 x 24.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 975 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #16,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  •  Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price?

Product Description


Finalist for the Washington State Book Award — History/General Non-fiction
A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of 2015
A St. Louis Post-Dispatch Best Book of 2015
A Miami Herald Favorite Book of 2015
BookTrib's Best Narrative Nonfiction Book of 2015
#1 History & Biography Book in the 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards
LibraryReads Top Ten Book of 2015
Library Journal Top Ten Book of 2015
Kirkus Best Book of 2015
An Indigo Best Book of 2015 

"Larson is one of the modern masters of popular narrative nonfiction...a resourceful reporter and a subtle stylist who understands the tricky art of Edward Scissorhands-ing narrative strands into a pleasing story...An entertaining book about a great subject, and it will do much to make this seismic event resonate for new generations of readers."
The New York Times Book Review

"Larson is an old hand at treating nonfiction like high drama...He knows how to pick details that have maximum soapy potential and then churn them down until they foam [and] has an eye for haunting, unexploited detail."
The New York Times

"In his gripping new examination of the last days of what was then the fastest cruise ship in the world, Larson brings the past stingingly alive...He draws upon telegrams, war logs, love letters, and survivor depositions to provide the intriguing details, things I didn't know I wanted to know...Thrilling, dramatic and powerful."

"Larson is a journalist who writes non-fiction books that read like novels, real page-turners. This one is no exception. I had known a lot about the Titanic but little about the Lusitania. This filled in those gaps... this one is pretty damned good. Thoroughly engrossing."
—George R.R. Martin

"This enthralling and richly detailed account demonstrates that there was far more going on beneath the surface than is generally known...Larson's account [of the Lusitania's sinking] is the most lucid and suspenseful yet written, and he finds genuine emotional power in the unlucky confluences of forces, 'large and achingly small,' that set the stage for the ship's agonizing final moments."
The Washington Post

"Utterly engrossing...Expertly ratcheting up the tension...Larson puts us on board with these people; it's page-turning history, breathing with life." 
The Seattle Times

"Larson has a gift for transforming historical re-creations into popular recreations, and Dead Wake is no exception...[He] provides first-rate suspense, a remarkable achievement given that we already know how this is going to turn out...The tension, in the reader's easy chair, is unbearable..."
The Boston Globe

"Both terrifying and enthralling. As the two vessels stumble upon each other, the story almost takes on the narrative pulse of Jawsthe sinking was impossible and inevitable at the same time. At no point do you root for the shark, but Larson's incredible detail pulls you under and never lets you go."
Entertainment Weekly

"Erik Larson [has] made a career out of turning history into best sellers that read as urgently as thrillers...A meticulous master of non-fiction suspense."
—USA Today

"[Larson] vividly captures the disaster and the ship's microcosm, in which the second class seems more appealing than the first."
The New Yorker

"[Larson is] a superb storyteller and a relentless research hound..."
—Lev Grossman, TIME

“[Larson] proves his mettle again as a weaver of tales of naïveté, calumny and intrigue. He engagingly sketches life aboard the liner and amply describes the powers’ political situations… The panorama Mr. Larson surveys is impressive, as is the breadth of his research and the length of his bibliography. He can’t miss engaging readers with the curious cast of characters, this ship of fools, and his accounting of the sinking itself and the survivors’ ordeals are the stuff of nightmares.” 
Washington Times

"Readers looking for a swift, emotionally engaging account of one of history's great sea disasters will find Dead Wake grimly exhilarating. Larson is an exceptionally skilled storyteller, and his tick-tock narrative, which cuts between the Lusitania, U-20 and the political powers behind them, is pitch-perfect."
The Richmond Times-Dispatch

"Larson so brilliantly elucidates [the Lusitania's fate] in Dead Wake, his detailed forensic and utterly engrossing account of the Lusitania's last voyage...Yes, we know how the story of the Lusitania ends, but there's still plenty of white-knuckle tension. In Dead Wake, he delivers such a marvelously thorough investigation of the ship's last week that it practically begs Hollywood blockbuster treatment."
The Toronto Globe & Mail

"Larson's nimble, exquisitely researched tale puts you dead center...Larson deftly pulls off the near-magical feat of taking a foregone conclusion and conjuring a tale that's suspenseful, moving and altogether riveting."
—Dallas Morning News

"With each revelation from Britain and America, with each tense, claustrophobic scene aboard U-20, the German sub that torpedoed the ship, with each vignette from the Lusitania, Larson's well-paced narrative ratchets the suspense. His eye for the ironic detail keen, his sense of this time period perceptive, Larson spins a sweeping tale that gives the Lusitania its due attention. His book may well send Leonardo DiCaprio chasing its film rights."
San Francisco Chronicle

"An expertly crafted tale of individual and corporate hubris, governmental intrigue and cover-up, highlighting a stunning series of conincidences and miscalculations that ultimately placed the Lusitania in the direct path of the catastrophic strike...[Larson's] pacing is impeccable."
The Miami Herald

"[Larson] has a gift for finding the small, personal details that bring history to life...His depiction of the sinking of the ship, and the horrific 18 minutes between the time it was hit and the time it disappeared, is masterly, moving between strange, touching details."
Columbus Dispatch

"In the hands of a lesser craftsman, the fascinating story of the last crossing of the Lusitania might risk being bogged down by dull character portraits, painstaking technical analyses of submarine tactics or the minutiae of WWI-era global politics. Not so with Erik Larson...Larson wrestles these disparate narratives into a unified, coherent story and so creates a riveting account of the Lusitania's ending and the beginnings of the U.S.'s involvement in the war."
—Pittsburgh Post Gazette

"In your mind, the sinking of the luxury liner Lusitania may be filed in a cubbyhole...After reading Erik Larson's impressive reconstruction of the Lusitania's demise, you're going to need a much bigger cubbyhole...Larson's book is a work of carefully sourced nonfiction, not a novelization, but it has a narrative sweep and miniseries pacing that make it highly entertaining as well as informative."
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"Larson breathes life into narrative history like few writers working today."
—Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Now the tragic footnote to a global conflagration, the history of the [Lusitania's] final voyage... is worthy of the pathos and narrative artistry Erik Larson brings to Dead Wake...Reader's of Larson's previous nonfiction page turners...will not be disappointed. He's an excellent scene setter and diligent researcher who tells the story with finesse and suspense."

"The story of the Lusitania's sinking by a German U-boat has been told before, but Larson's version features new details and the gripping immediacy he's famous for."

"We can't wait for the James Cameron version of Erik Larson's Dead Wake."
New York Magazine

"Larson...long ago mastered the art of finding overlooked and faded curiosities and converting them into page-turning popular histories. Here, again, he manages the same trick."
Christian Science Monitor

"Fans of Erik Larson's narrative nonfiction have trusted that whatever tale he chooses to tell, they'll find it compelling. Dead Wake proves them right...History at its harrowing best."
New York Daily News

"A quickly paced, imminently readable exploration of an old story you may only half-know."
—Arkansas Democratic Gazette 

"We all know how the story ends, but Larson still makes you want to turn the pages, and turn them quickly. What makes the story, is that Larson takes a few main characters--the Lusitania's Captain William Thomas Turner, President Woodrow Wilson, U-boat Captain Walther Schweiger, Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat, architect Theodate Pope, and a few minor ones--and weaves them together towards the inevitable and tragic conclusion. Larson has done his research. The number of details and anecdotes that he has managed to cobble together are fascinating in themselves."
—Foreign Policy

"Larson turns this familiar tale into a finely written elegy on the contingency of war."
—Maclean's Magazine

“Larson is a master storyteller and quickens the pace as target and attackers hurtle toward their inevitable, deadly rendezvous. The suspense builds because readers care about his fully-formed characters, and it’s not always clear who will live and who will die.”

"Because Larson has such a sense of story, when he gets to the tragedy itself, the book hums along in vivid form. You feel, viscerally, what it's like to be on a sinking ship, and the weight of life lost that day. The fact that this is coming through a page-turner history book, where all the figures and details reveal an impeccable eye and thorough research, is just one of the odd pleasures of Larson's writing."

“[Larson] thrillingly chronicles the liner’s last voyage... He draws upon a wealth of sources for his subject – telegrams, wireless messages, survivor depositions, secret intelligence ledgers, a submarine captain’s war log, love letters, admiralty and university archives, even morgue photos of Lusitania victims… Filled with revealing political, military and social information, Larson’s engrossing Dead Wake is, at its heart, a benediction for the 1,198 souls lost at sea.”
Tampa Bay Times

"Larson, an authority on nonfiction accounts, expounds on our primary education, putting faces to the disaster and crafting an intimate portrait in Dead Wake. A lover of history will get so close to the story...that it is hard not to feel as if you are on board with new friends..."
—Fort Worth Star-Telegram

"In a well-paced narrative, Larson reveals the forces large and small, natural and man-made, coincidental and intentional, that propelled the Lusitania to its fatal rendezvous...Larson's description of the moments and hours that followed the torpedo's explosive impact is riveting...Dead Wake stands on its own as a gripping recounting of an episode that still has the power to haunt a reader 100 years later."
Buffalo News

"Larson, who was once described as "an historian with a novelist's soul," has written a book which combines the absorbing tenor of fiction with the realities of history."
The Toronto Sun

"[Larson] shows that narrative history can let us have it both ways: great drama wedded to rigorous knowledge. The German torpedoing of the great ship 100 years ago was almost as deadly as the Titanic sinking, and far more world-changing. Larson makes it feel as immediate and contingent as the present day."
NY Mag's

"The bestselling author of The Devil in the White City and Thunderstruck puts his mastery of penning parallel narratives on display as he tells the tale of the sinking of the Lusitania by a German submarine, building an ever-growing sense of dread as the two vessels draw closer to their lethal meeting...He goes well beyond what's taught in history classes to offer insights into British intelligence and the dealings that kept the ship from having the military escort so many passengers expected to protect it...By piecing together how politics, economics, technology, and even the weather combined to produce an event that seemed both unlikely and inevitable, he offers a fresh look at a world-shaking disaster."
—The Onion A/V Club

"An intriguing, entirely engrossing investigation into a legendary disaster."
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Factual and personal to a high degree, the narrative reads like a grade-A thriller."
Booklist, starred review

"[Larson] has always shown a brilliant ability to unearth the telling details of a story and has the narrative chops to bring a historical moment vividly alive. But in his new book, Larson simply outdoes himself...What is most compelling about Dead Wake is that, through astonishing research, Larson gives us a strong sense of the individuals—passengers and crew—aboard the Lusitania, heightening our sense of anxiety as we realize that some of the people we have come to know will go down with the ship. A story full of ironies and 'what-ifs,' Dead Wake is a tour de force of narrative history."
BookPage, Top Pick

"With a narrative as smooth as the titular passenger liner, Larson delivers a riveting account of one of the most tragic events of WWI...A blunt reminder that war is, at its most basic, a matter of life and death."
—Publishers Weekly

"Once again, Larson transforms a complex event into a thrilling human interest story. This suspenseful account will entice readers of military and maritime history along with lovers of popular history."
—Library Journal

"Critically acclaimed 'master of narrative nonfiction' Erik Larson has produced a thrilling account of the principals and the times surrounding this tumultuous event in world history...After an intimate look at the passengers, and soon-to-be victims, who board in New York despite the warning of 'unrestricted warfare' from the German embassy, Larson turns up the pace with shorter and shorter chapters alternating between the hunted and the hunter until the actual shot. All in all a significant story. Well told."
Florida Times-Union

"...the tension mounts page by page and the reading of Dead Wake becomes a very cinematic experience."
 —Summit Daily

About the Author

Erik Larson is the author of five national bestsellers, including The Devil in the White City and In the Garden of Beasts, which have collectively sold more than 6.5 million copies. His books have been published in seventeen countries.

See all Product Description

From the Publisher

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a lengthy, detailed, in-depth narrative exploration of historic events. As such, the pacing (at least at first glance) seems a little odd - it takes 140 pages for the Lusitania to leave port, and 250 pages for it to begin sinking. The story is almost Dickensian in the way Larson spends so many pages talking about minor characters and their stories, but that's part of its appeal. It's those passengers, crew, politicians, and more who bring the Lusitania to life, who humanize the tragedy, and who make us care about a ship that sank 100 years ago.

If you thought you knew the story of the Lusitania - sunk by a German U-boat, propelling the US into WWII - then prepare to be surprised. There were so many circumstances and events on both sides of the Atlantic that set the stage for such a tragedy that it's sometimes hard to believe. If this were a fictional novel, few would ever buy into the sequence of coincidences, and even fewer would ever believe that officials could be so obtuse and callous in their decisions. If there's such a thing as destiny, then the Lusitania was certainly destined to sink. It's a story that casts an uncomfortable shadow on people like President Wilson and Winston Churchill, and an equally uncomfortable sort of light on the German U-boat commanders. It humanizes everyone, makes you regret the weaknesses and distractions of the 'good' guys, and makes you sympathize (at least a little) with some of the 'bad' guys.

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania is a story that vindicates Captain William Thomas Turner, a man who was excessively demonized and portrayed as an incompetent coward in order to isolate officials from blame, and to protect state secrets. It all comes back to those callous decisions.
Read more ›
16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
By lady blue TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 19 2015
Format: Hardcover
A meticulous, detailed, incisive account of events leading up to and the eventual sinking of the Lusitania at the hands of a German U-boat. A suspense filled page-turner.

Interestingly, the narrative gives the reader both sides of the story from the point of view of the Unterseeboot-20 Captain Walther Schwieger and Captain William Thomas Turner of the Lusitania.

It is the personal stories that really make the difference in this narrative. The intimate and personal details of the passengers are haunting.

This is a story that illustrates irrevocably that `little things mean a lot' - how small occurrences come together and an unforeseen sequence of events can bring about earth shattering consequences. In his Notes Mr. Larson sets out the many seemingly inconsequential little details that made all the difference.

My only disappointment is that a story like this demands pictures, since the book had none I was forced to spend an hour looking them up on the Internet. Of special interest is the 6 minute motion picture of the passengers arriving to board the vessel at New York which can be viewed on YouTube.

The mountain of research this book must have taken in order to produce such an exhaustive work is beyond impressive. Kudos Mr. Larson.
7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Larson has that canny ability to take his reader back in time to a never-to-be-forgotten moment when the course of history was changed in dramatic fashion. The time was early 1915 in the middle of the Great War and the place the Atlantic Ocean off south-eastern Ireland. Two great technological wonders were on a collision course that would inevitably determine the outcome of this very bloody imperial conflict. On one side was the super fast ocean liner, the Lusitania, the flag ship of the Cunard line, while on the other side was the U-20, one of a number of deadly German submarines hunting the Atlantic for any kind of enemy ship. Between a ship that was too big to sink and one that looked to sink everything in its way, we have the making of an incredible story of adventure, courage, mystery, folly, and political brinkmanship wrapped up in one. Larson has a maze of tales to tell us about how and why this ship went down and what the ripple effects were for years to come. His cast is large - everyone from captain to passengers to crew is included in the plot. His timeline is detailed - nothing is included that does not figure in the tragic conclusion. And, finally, his examination and analysis of the facts allow readers to see the big picture for themselves. Truly, the sinking of this great ship did indirectly figure in bringing America into the war on the side of the Allies, but by itself it speaks more to the attitude of the day that technology could make humankind invincible.
5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
By Lynne Frappier TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 28 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a totally engrossing, compelling read. The research that went behind the words - Larson was able to provide his readers with so much detail. At first it can seem a little off-putting: he uses so many names of passengers you wonder how you will keep them straight. And he goes into such detail about U-bombs and submarine warfare that at times you think you might get overwhelmed by all the technical stuff. But you don't.

Larson weaves a story - in this case we got 4 distinct and wonderful storylines that kept the plot fresh and fastpaced.

The sinking of the Lusitania is heartbreaking - it honestly brought me back to watching the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers - rather than picturing people jumping off the ship into the water or being pulled down - I could picture people jumping from the towers. Heartbreaking and incredible all at the same time.

One of my favourite books of the year. Highly recommended.
One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse

Most recent customer reviews