Synopses & Reviews
On May 7, 1915, toward the end of her 101st eastbound crossing, from New York to Liverpool, England, R.M.S. Lusitania pride of the Cunard Line and one of the greatest ocean liners afloat became the target of a terrifying new weapon and a casualty of a terrible new kind of war. Sunk off the southern coast of Ireland by a torpedo fired from the German submarine U-20, she exploded and sank in eighteen minutes, taking with her some twelve hundred people, more than half of the passengers and crew. Cold-blooded, deliberate, and unprecedented in the annals of war, the sinking of the Lusitania shocked the world. It also jolted the United States out of its neutrality 128 Americans were among the dead and hastened the nation's entry into World War I.
In her account of this enormous and controversial tragedy, Diana Preston recalls both a pivotal moment in history and a remarkable human drama. The story of the Lusitania is a window on the maritime world of the early twentieth century: the heyday of the luxury liner, the first days of the modern submarine, and the climax of the decades-long German-British rivalry for supremacy of the Atlantic. It is a criticalchapter in the progress of World War I and in the political biographies of Woodrow Wilson, William Jennings Bryan, Kaiser Wilhelm II, andFirst Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill. Above all, it is the story of the passengers and crew on that fateful voyage a story of terror and cowardice, of self-sacrifice and heroism, of death and miraculous survival.
Tugs at the emotions... [a] substantial and colorful account (Washington Post Book World)
Impressive...her portrait of a world convulsed in war is compelling and comprehensive. (Wall Street Journal)
Lets the reader in on much more than the people in 1915 were allowed to know. (Seattle Times)
"Unforgettable...the definitive account of the Lusitania
The Philadelphia Inquirer
"As majestic as its subject...extraordinarily readable."
Chicago Sun Times
"Broad in scope and rich in devastating detail."
New York Magazine
"Tugs at the emotions...substantial and colorful."
The Washington Post Book World
"Compelling and comprehensive."
The Wall Street Journal
is the remarkable story of the fate of the Lusitania by the award-winning author of The Boxer Rebellion.
A brilliantly sunny day, and then the explosion; on what had been an ordinary weekday, there is suddenly fire, smoke, confusion, bodies, panic...
On May 7, 1915, the ocean liner Lusitania was struck by a terrifying new weapon-and became a casualty of a terrible new kind of war. This is a vivid account of the event that shocked the world; of the heyday of the luxury liner and the first days of the modern submarine; a critical chapter in the progress of World War I; and a remarkable human drama. With first-person survivor accounts and a cast of characters ranging from Winston Churchill and Alfred Vanderbilt to the crew of the German U-boat that torpedoed a ship full of civilians, this is a true tale of terror and tragedy, of heroism and miraculous survival.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -510) and index.
A human drama from a pivotal moment in history, this the remarkable story of the fate of the "Lusitania" by the award-winning author of "The Boxer Rebellion."
About the Author
Diana Preston is the author of The Boxer Rebellion; A First Rate Tragedy; and The Road to Culloden Moor.
Table of Contents
Part One: Troubled Waters
One: A Scrap of Paper
Two: The Weapon of the Weaker Nation
Three: More Beautiful Than Solomon's Temple
Four: Gott Strafe England!
Five: The American Armory
Part Two: Final Crossing
Six: The Warning
Seven: Leaving Harbor
Eight: The Ostrich Club
Nine: Fellow Passengers
Ten: Inside the U-20
Eleven: "The Miraculous Draught of Fishes"
Twelve: Into the War Zone
Thirteen: "Suppose They Should Sink the Lusitania?"
Part Three: An Ocean Red with Blood
Fourteen: "My God, We Are Lost"
Fifteen: "Come at Once!"
Sixteen: A Bizarre Orchestra of Death
Seventeen: Wave upon Wave
Eighteen: A Long Lingering Moan
Nineteen: Rescues and Recoveries
Twenty: The Town of the Dead
Twenty-one: A Sad and Horrible Task
Part Four: "Remember the Lusitania!"
Twenty-two: The Hun's Most Ghastly Crime
Twenty-three: Fool or Traitor?
Twenty-four: No Longer Neutral Spectators
Twenty-five: German Agents Are Everywhere
Twenty-six: The Kaiser's Business Only
Twenty-seven: "That Story Is Forever Disposed Of"
Twenty-eight: Diving into the Wreck
Part Five: Wilful Murder?
Twenty-nine: A Legitimate Target
Thirty: Harm's Way
Thirty-one: Anglo-Saxon Attitudes
Thirty-two: The U-Boat Diary
Thirty-three: A New Barbarism
Appendix A: The Lusitania in Facts and Figures
Appendix B: A Technical Account of the Sinking
Notes and Sources