Lusitania by Diana Preston
Review originally published in Historical Novels Review
This is a heart-wrenching narrative that reads less like a stodgy history lesson and more like a personal voyage on the Lusitania. Preston draws on many diaries, war journals, and political documents, including the transcripts from the Mersey inquiry, to tell her story, from every conceivable viewpoint. Yet, despite this documentation overload, the book reads like an exceptional novel. Preston’s prose is crisp and carries the drama from both aboard the ship to deep inside the German U-boat lurking to sink her. Through her research and her writing, the reader feels as though they are there on every stage of the journey and privy to much more information than anyone in 1915 would ever have been able to know.
Lusitania is an amazingly detailed history of the events leading up to, during, and after the fateful voyage of the doomed ship. The research is thorough and explores the many complicated viewpoints of the events surrounding the sinking. Preston’s book will quickly vault to the top of Lusitania research and is a book that should not be missed.