Erik Larson writes interesting twists on historical events, such as the World's Columbian Exposition (The Devil in the White City) and the diplomatic intrigues of early Nazi Germany (In the Garden of Beasts.)  His Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, our Book Review No. 13, delivers such twists.

I'm familiar with Lusitania's sinking, thanks to the Scholastic Book Service selling Hoehling and Hoehling's The Last Voyage of the Lusitania to junior high students.  Many of the people who provided recollections to the Hoehlings also feature in Dead Wake.

But then there's the matter of the British cracking German codes, and having to deploy forces in such a way as to not provide the Germans with reason to suspect that the British were cracking their codes, and Winston Churchill viewing the Balkans and Asia Minor as the Central Powers' "soft underbelly" whilst hoping for something to happen that would bring the United States into the war on Britain's side.  Plus President Wilson behaving like a lovesick adolescent.

Did these developments contribute to Lusitania being torpedoed and sunk?  Read the book.

(Cross-posted to Fifty Book Challenge.)

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