When the Lusitania sank near Ireland, it took 1,200 dead souls with it. The disaster pulled America into an already roiling World War I, shifting history's course in its wake. Dead Wake is masterfully crafted. Erik Larson’s pace and tone are akin to reading fiction. His lush backgrounds create the illusion of standing on the doomed deck or looking over Churchill's shoulder in Britain's secret intelligence building. He paints rich characters and, even knowing the outcome, keeps you in suspense until the bitter end.