Rosenberg Library is pleased to announce its selection for the Summer 2016 Museum Club series: Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by bestselling author Erik Larson. Larson’s mastery of narrative non-fiction brings to life the tragic sinking of the luxury ocean cruiser Lusitania and the fate of its unsuspecting passengers.
The first meeting of the Summer Museum Book Club will take place on Wednesday, June 29 from 12 noon – 1:00 p.m. A second session will be held on Thursday, August 18 from 12 noon – 1:00 p.m. The Museum Book Club will meet in the McCullough Room located on the library’s 2nd floor. Light refreshments are provided at all sessions.
ABOUT THE BOOK
As WWI entered its tenth month in May of 1915, a luxurious British ocean liner, the Lusitania, sailed from New York to Liverpool, England. Nearly 2,000 passengers were onboard the vessel, including a large number of infants and children.
Several months prior, the German government had declared the waters around Britain to be a war zone, and German U-boats terrorized ships in the North Atlantic. However, passengers on the Lusitania were confident that they were safe, as the ship was the fastest in operation and was under the command of a seasoned captain.
Military tradition dictated that civilian ships be spared from attack during times of war. Germany, however, sought to undermine these dictates, encouraging their submarine captains to sink as many enemy ships as possible. Despite top-secret British intelligence monitoring the situation, the U-20 German submarine and the Lusitania crossed paths, and through an unforeseen series of events, one of the greatest tragedies on modern history unfolded.
Dead Wake brings an interesting cast of characters to life, including colorful passengers onboard the Lusitania, military leaders of WWI, and even U.S. President Woodrow Wilson.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erik Larson is the author of five New York Times bestsellers, including Dead Wake which was published in 2015. Previous bestselling books include In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin, Thunderstruck, and The Devil in the White City which won an Edgar Award for non-fiction crime writing and was a finalist for the National Book Award.
Familiar to many Galvestonians, Larson also wrote Isaac’s Storm, published in September 1999, just before the centennial of the 1900 Storm. In vivid detail, the book describes the events leading up to the Great Storm and provides insight into the history of meteorology and weather reporting.
Larson graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied Russian history, language and culture. He earned a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. Larson is a former staff writer for The Wall Street Journal and has written articles for Time Magazine, The Atlantic, Harper’s, The New Yorker, and other publications. He lives in Seattle with his wife and three daughters.
FROM THE PERMANENT COLLECTION
Rosenberg Library preserves a variety of items related to WWI in both its museum and archival collections. During the Museum Book Club program, library staff will share an assortment of items including military uniforms and field equipment, including a 1918 gas mask. Other interesting items — such as WWI trench art — will also be displayed.
ABOUT THE MUSEUM BOOK CLUB
Rosenberg Library’s Museum Book Club offers participants the chance to experience art and literature in a more interactive way. Members have the opportunity to view rarely exhibited art and historical artifacts from the library’s permanent collection as they discuss related books.
Registration is required for all Museum Book Club meetings. Established book clubs are encouraged to participate. Groups of over 10 people are asked to call the Reference Desk in advance to arrange accommodations.
Dead Wake is available at Rosenberg Library in regular and large type print format. Patrons can also access it through Overdrive in e-book and e-audiobook formats. In addition, Dead Wake is available as a CD audiobook. Visit www.rosenberg-library.org or call 409-763-8854 ext. 115 for additional information or to register.