Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 158
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania is a 2015 book by Eric Larson. In it, Larson chronicles the events leading up to, and including, the 1915 sinking of the Cunard line ship RMS Lusitania by a German U-Boat, an event which has been credited as a casus belli for subsequent United States entry into World War I.
Dead Wake is a non-fiction book, and it is principally presented from the standpoint of the captains of two ships: the Lusitania and the German submarine U-20.
Lusitania's skipper is the veteran English ship captain William Thomas Turner. Turner is a no-nonsense leader, and Larson establishes this perspective quite early by noting Turner's disinterest in attending to the social obligations of cruise ship captaincy.
Largely unknown to Turner is the identity of his undersea adversary, the younger German U-Boat commander Walther Schweiger. Schweiger is a capable and committed naval officer, who, nonetheless, expresses regret at his duty of sinking enemy ships.