I finished reading Dead Wake several days ago, and still can't stop thinking about it. Larson unwraps the story step by step, just as the events happened. By giving us names and details about various passengers, he gives this historic event a sense of immediacy.
The narrative switches back and forth between the captain of the German submarine that ultimately sank the Lusitania and the shipboard days that unfold during the Lusitania's fateful final trip to England. Again, the details are what make the story.
I've read The Devil in the White City and Thunderstruck, also by Erik Larson, so I knew I'd enjoy Dead Wake. But I had no idea how thoroughly captivating this book would be. I read every word, all the way through the end notes--which are interesting in themselves.
Larson's narrative voice shines through Dead Wake. You don't have to be a history buff to appreciate this story. It's one of the best books I've read in a very long time.