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Tragedy on the high seas

  • Jul 25, 2002
The sinking of the liner Lusitania by a U-boat in May 1915 helped bring the U.S. closer to entering the Great War on the side of the Western powers, even though that entrance did not occur for almost another 2 years. This well-written book gives all of the background of that last, fatal voyage, with thumbnail biographies of many of the important personages involved, whether politicians, statesmen, military men, crew and passengers. It's a fascinating book, and even more so once the ship is struck by the torpedo and begins to sink. That's when the real tragedy happens, and that's when the writing gets fantastic. You can almost feel the fear, and the cowardice, and the heroism, and the fatalism of everyone involved. The author then relates the attempts of all of the governments involved, Britain, U.S. and Germany, to "cover up" or change the facts of what actually happened on the seas off the southern coast of Ireland. This is a fascinating story, well told, and well worth reading.

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review by . November 07, 2008
I was inspired to read this book after reading Max Alan Collins' "disaster mystery" novel The Lusitania Murders, and was rewarded by a well-written history of the mystery of the disaster. The author categorizes and clearly deflates the conspiracy theories with well-reasoned and -researched arguments phrased in well-written, engrossing, and entertaining prose.
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Frank J. Konopka ()
Ranked #89
I'm a small town general practice attorney in the hard coal region of Pennsylvania. Books are my passion, andI read as many of them asI can. Being the President of the local library board for over … more
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About this book


On May 7, 1915, a German submarine sank the British passenger ship Lusitania on the high seas, killing some 1,200 people, among them the magnate Alfred Vanderbilt and the renowned author Elbert Hubbard. In this swiftly paced reconstruction, Diana Preston examines the events of that day and its aftermath--and hints at some tantalizing secrets. Among other things, the sinking of the Lusitania and the death of scores of American passengers helped draw the United States into World War I. Yet, Preston observes, it was no sneak attack; the German government had gone out of its way to warn prospective passengers that the English ship, as a military reserve vessel, was a fair target. And for good reason, though the Germans may not have known it; Preston suggests that it may well have been carrying armaments, which does much to explain why the British government suppressed a fact-finding inquest following the sinking. Whatever the truth, the destruction of the Lusitania had far-reaching effects--not least of them the Kaiser's ordering a stop to unrestricted submarine warfare. Preston's richly detailed, highly readable history sheds new light on the incident and the conduct of modern war.--Gregory McNamee
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ISBN-10: 0802713750
ISBN-13: 978-0802713759
Author: Diana Preston
Publisher: Walker & Company

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"Tragedy on the high seas"
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