Dear Great Book Guru, Friends of mine attended the annual Long Island Reads this week and they really enjoyed the discussion. As usual, John Canning received high praise as its master of ceremonies. I think I might want to use the selection for my book group. Any thoughts? Long Island Reader
Dear Long Island Reader, DEAD WAKE by Erik Larson was this year’s LI Reads choice and it did make for a spirited discussion. Larson, a Freeport native, writes of the sinking of the Lusitania - ten months after World War I had begun. The luxury ocean liner with over 2000 people aboard sank in the Irish Sea eighteen minutes after being torpedoed by a German submarine. Larson tells the background tales of many of the ill-fated passengers, the lucky survivors, the German Captain Schwieger (deemed the villain but many admitted to finding themselves rooting for him at times), and the beleaguered British Captain Turner (the hero who found himself accused of negligence by the Admiralty). He offers interesting insights into the politics of Winston Churchill (possibly the true villain) and the romantic meanderings of Woodrow Wilson. While we know that the ship is doomed, we do not know which of the passengers are. Will the little boy with measles and his pregnant mother live? Or will the book dealer with the original annotated Dickens’s “Christmas Carol” in his briefcase make it back to America? Will the young spiritualist/architect and her even younger friend find their way to Paris? Larson is a masterful storyteller and his story of the Lusitania will remain for you for a very long time. Highly recommended!