Dead Wake

deadwakeAm I allowed to say that I didn’t really like this book?

I know Erik Larson is the most brilliant writer who ever opened a word processor.  He could write a anything and it would be riveting.

Except that this book as A LOT of filler.  A lot of speculation of what passengers could have been doing the night before the ship sailed.  (which was just a list of things happening in New York that week)  A lot of information about submarines and boats.  Long passages taken from passenger records.  It felt to me like he was padding out what would have been an amazing short story or 125 page book.

Is there an interesting story buried under all of that – sure.  But I have learned that my interest in the inner workings of German submarines is remarkably low.

I actually started this book and abandoned it, because I just didn’t care enough to continue.  Later I picked it back up because so many people have recommended it.  I now have a theory that they feel like they invested so much time in the book, they should be able to watch the rest of the world plod through.  Like a book lovers hazing ritual.

This is the first of Larson’s books that I have read.  Are others more interesting?  Or is he considered such a good writer because he takes such a small and relatively boring subject and gets people to read about it?

Even his connection of the sinking of the ship with the entry of the US into the First World War seemed tenuous at best.  If that was the significance of the book, I didn’t think he made the point well.

I’m glad I’ve read an Erik Larson book now, but I won’t be rushing out to read another.

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One thought on “Dead Wake

  1. I liked this book, but I would have recommended starting with “Devil in the White City”. I’ve read all of his books and that’s by far my favorite. Even if you didn’t like this one, I’d still suggest giving “Devil” a try.

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