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This is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Lusitania. It is the sinking of the Lusitania that brought the United States into World War I. The Lusitania was one of the beautiful luxury lines of the gilded age.
King and Wilson have done an excellent job fleshing out the history of the ship’s last voyage and the people who sailed on it. Albert Vanderbilt was probably the most famous American on board to parish with the Lusitania.
King and Wilson tells in detail about the ship itself, from 200 miles of electric wiring that ran through it, to the three barrels of live turtles that the chefs brought on board. Part of the book feels like a series of short biographies of the wealthy passengers.
The authors describe in detail the attack by the German U-boat U-20 and the successful torpedoing of the ship. King and Wilson tell of lifebelts stolen from cabins, rickety lifeboats plunging into the ocean, passengers in the water getting sucked under by the sinking ship. It took 18 minutes for the ship to sink with 1198 dead and 128 of those were Americans. The authors point out that it was a lucky shot; it hit just the exact right spot which caused the ship to sink so fast. Lusitania was owned by the British company Cunard and the Captain and crew were British. She ship set sail from New York to Liverpool in June of 1915.
Johnny Heller did an excellent job narrating the book.
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