From the #1 New York Timesbestselling author and master of narrative nonfiction comes the enthralling story of the sinking of the Lusitania, published to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the disaster
On May 1, 1915, 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 anxious. Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone, and for months, its U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds” and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. He knew, moreover, that his ship–the fastest then in service–could outrun any threat.
Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game.
A really great book that sheds light on the USA entering the First World War and the sinking of the Lusitania is written by Erik Larson in Dead Wake. This is a great read. You get to travel with the passengers on the Lusitania in 1915. It sheds light on how the Germans did not care if they sunk passenger liners with women and children, whether there was indeed ammunition on the Lusitania as claimed, and the clever code breaking done in secret. Also about Woodrow Wilson’s romance!
And a funny true little story –when the war broke out in 1904…
In Paris, the big fascination was the trial of Henriette Caillaux, wife of former prime minister Joseph Caillaux, arrested for killing the editor of the Paris newspaper LeFigaro after the newspaper had published an intimate letter that the prime minister had written to her before their marriage, when they were having an adulterous affair.
Enraged, Mrs. Caillaux bought a gun, practiced with it at the gunsmith’s shop, then went to the editor’s office and fired six times. In her testimony, offering an unintended metaphor for what was soon to befall Europe, she said, “These pistols are terrible things. They go off by themselves.” She was acquitted, after persuading the court that the murder was a crime of passion.