Tag Archives: Dead Wake


Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
Author: Erik Larson
Publisher: Crown, 2015
Hardcover Edition: 353 pages plus sources, notes, bibliography and index
Genre: History
Source: Personal copy

Dead Wake currently occupies spot #10 on the New York Times Combined Print and E-Book Best Sellers List. This is an eminently readable book. The reader slides through its pages like the Lusitania slid through calm waters. That is its delight. The strong narrative line carries the reader on this interesting last voyage. The tale is a certain battle of the boats: we follow the Lusitania and the German U-boat responsible for the Lusitania’s quick death. The story is both thrilling and surprising.

Erik Larson has done it again. Remember Devil In the White City? I highly recommend this new book by Larson. The bonus of learning more about President Woodrow Wilson’s personal life added to the book’s charm. One of my best reading experiences this year, maybe at the top of the list!

Dead Wake is so readable, so interesting. My enthusiasm for non-fiction continues to rise. I’m excited to share some new non-fiction you and I may be interested in reading.


So Many Roads by David Browne. This is a history of the Grateful Dead’s trip to a 50th anniversary. My son is a fan. Perhaps this is an appropriate Father’s Day gift.

The Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander. People Magazine describes this as wrenching, lovely memoir about the lose of her husband.


300 Sandwiches by Stephanie Smith. Another memoir, this one with recipes. Her boyfriend told her 300 sandwiches would get her an engagement ring. I’d do just about anything to read sandwich recipes.

Circling the Sun by Paula McClain. This is a fictionalized life (so not non-fiction) of Beryl Markham, a fascinating female aviator. Ms. McClain last wrote about Hadly the first wife of Hemingway.


The Wright Brothers by David McCullough. In general I think this author can do not wrong. His new book is at number 1 on the Bestsellers List and everyone is talking about it.


In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides. Many reviewers picked this as a best book of the year and it is now out in paperback. Adventure narrative and polar history at its best.

A Lucky Life Interrupted by Tom Brokaw. This memoir offers the opportunity to hear Brokaw’s voice, an experience to be cherished.

Do comment and let us know if you have read any of these or if you are likely to pick one up. Which one calls to you the loudest?



Born With Teeth by Kate Mulgrew, memoir


Kate Mulgrew grew up in an Irish Catholic family in Dubuque, Iowa. At age nineteen she won a role on the TV soap, Ryan’s Hope. Soon after that she gave up a baby for adoption and recently they have been reunited. After an important role on Star Trek she is doing some of her best work as an actress in the series Orange Is The New Black. Kate’s firm jawline provides a hint of the determination with which she has lived her life. According to one reviewer her book emphasizes friendship and family rather than career interests.

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson, history


Already this book is on bestseller lists. I bought it at the Bookloft in Fernandina Beach and have started to read it. Written like a thriller, it is indeed a page turner. I disagree with reviewers who have said it is old news. Seems to me there is much new information about that time in our history. One example is the extent of German cruelty during the World War I era. I’ll give a final verdict when I have finished the book.

Early Warning by Jane Smiley, fiction


The second volume in Smiley’s trilogy about the Langdon family, warm, interesting and rooted in America’s heartland, is released this week. If you haven’t read Some Luck, the first book in the series, run, don’t walk to your nearest bookseller or library. It is a phenomenal read. I recommend this author as certainly one of the finest novelist of our generation.

Made in Detroit by Marge Piercy, poetry


This author is a favorite of mine whether writing fiction or poety. This is her first volume of poetry to be published in some time. She grew up in Detroit. At least some of these poems are autobiographical. I look forward to reading this book, and to a visit in a couple of weeks to the Detroit Library, a place Piercy has called her “saving grace”.

God Help the Child: a Novel by Toni Morrison


Since my earliest days as an educator, I have been puzzled by why some children meet life’s difficult challenges with an almost unbelievable resiliency, enabling them to grow and prosper, while others are increasingly vulnerable in difficult circumstances and never become the persons they might have been. Apparently this novel deals with the scars of childhood, and the fears adults entertain about doing the best for their children. How do sufferings in childhood effect adult life? This woman is a fierce writer of giant talent. She always has something important to say as one puzzles through her stories.