Book Club

Primary tabs

August Selection: Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson. 

Pier 54 on the Hudson River in Manhattan is padlocked and forgotten now.  Like whispers of the past, the engraved names of the shipping companies Cunard and White Star remain barely legible atop its rusted iron gate.  Few people who pass by might recall that a century ago, on May 1, 1915, the Lusitania set sail from here on her last doomed voyage.  In the book "Dead Wake" by Erik Larson, we are reminded of this event.  In his own gripping way, Larson brings the last days of the past vividly alive.  A total of 1,198 people, including 123 Americans, were lost when a German U-boat sank the Lusitania off Ireland's west coast.  Anguish over the sinking, and anger at German perfidy, eventually helped prod the determinedly neutral President Woodrow Wilson to bring the United States into World War I.  In "Dead Wake", the liner's final voyage becomes a tale of two captains.  The seasoned 58-year-old Englishman William Thomas Turner and the 32-year-old commander of the German "iron coffin," Walther Schwieger.  Tension increases as we see the two vessels drawing close to each other off the coast of Britain, one atop the waves, and one beneath.  Larson gives both men their due.  Captain Turner, a self-described "old fashioned sailorman" trained up on square riggers, is blunt and fearless.  While Submariner Schwieger comes across as an avid hunter of an enemy, but not a monster.  Witnessing the damage he had inflicted on the Lusitania, Schweiger reacted with what sounded like regret.  "It was the most terrible sight I have ever seen," he told a friend.  Larson also reveals in intimate detail the lives of passengers in the days before the final reckoning, as they went about their casual activities. For they had the mistaken impression that ships of the Royal Navy would excort them through the war zone.  Larson interweaves all these different elements expertly, to explain how the unthinkable became reality on an other wise gorgeous spring afternoon.  He also allows us as readers to experience {the sinking} as did the people who lived through it at the time.  Would you want to be in the waters off the coast of Ireland on May 7, 1915, with the bow of the gigantic vessel fast disappearing beneath the surface. (It took all of 18 minutes).

We will be reading and discussing this book on August 19, 2019 at 6:30pm.  Anyone is welcome to join the discussion.  Starting in July we added a second book discussion.  Each month we will be using the same book and it will be called 'Book Club on the Run'.  Over the years we realize that many of you like to read the book discussion book each month but do not have time to come to the library for a discussion on the book.  When you pick up the book to read, there will be a paper in it for you to fill out on how your reflections on the book.  You can write one or two sentences or a whole page.  Your choice.

This book is now available for pickup at the library in regular print, large print, and in audio format.  It is also available on the Ohio Digital Library as an ebook and an audio book.  You just need to get on the Ohio Digital Library through our website at  Go to digital downloads and click on The Ohio Digital Library below the box.  You then sign in with your library card number and your pin number.  If you don't know either of these just contact the library and we will give you the information. (419-533-5721)  

Monday, September 16, 2019 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Monday, October 21, 2019 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Monday, November 18, 2019 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Event Type: 
Book Discussions
Age Group: