The Book Club meets on the third Tuesday of the month. Next meeting will be on Tuesday, March 19th  at 7:00 pm. The book is Dead Wake, by Erik Larson. Contact Joan Friendship-Gray for more information; send email or call (519) 822-8983.

On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds”—the fastest liner then in service—and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. 

Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small—hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more—all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.

It is a story that many of us think we know but don’t, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour and suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope to President Woodrow Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love. 

Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster whose intimate details and true meaning have long been obscured by history.

 

Selections for 2018-19

The Casual Vacancy, by J. K. Rowling (September 18)
Flint and Feather, by Charlotte Gray (October 16)
Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, by Phaedra Patrick (November 20)
His Whole Life, by Elizabeth Hay (December 18) 
Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly (January 15)
Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, by Mitch Albom (February 19)
Dead Wake, by Erik Larson (March 19)
Man Called Ove, by ‎Fredrik Backman (April 16)
The Widow, by Fiona Barton (May 21)