The Lusitania was the ship that was simply loved by a Nation. State-of-the-art when launched and the very first passenger liner to be equipped with steam turbines, she became the fastest Liner on the North Atlantic passenger routes. She was popular with passengers and a resounding commercial success. This was a ship that had everything.
Suddenly, all that came to an end on 7 May 1915 when she was torpedoed and sunk. The reaction - both at home and abroad was simply incredible. Although the loss of the Titanic - just 3 years earlier, was still very fresh in peoples minds, this was different. That had been an accident and those bodies had been buried in far-away Canada. This time they were buried in Ireland and the photographs of the day said it all. This was viewed as one of the most diabolical and savage acts of all time - and even helped bring America into the War.
The Lusitania - Unravelling the Mysteries is hardback measuring 12 in x 8½ in and contains over 130 pages of solid information, facts, maps, paintings, photographs and even cartoons - all reproduced from the time in question. The Author commences with his own background and reveals how he is well-qualified to write a book such as this. In a skilfully planned book, he provides all the relevant information and paints an excellent scene with his various descriptions of the Lusitania and other, similar ships - with their Peacetime and Wartime roles. He then moves on to the German submarine menace, British Intelligence and the code-breaking of the day as he carefully and deliberately provides a fully detailed prelude to the sinking with details of other submarine incidents off Ireland - that were never relayed to the Lusitania.
Then we have the tragedy itself and, of course, the aftermath. There are distressing photographs of dead children and heartbreaking stories of those who survived - having lost all other members of their family. There is the grief that overwhelmed Ireland and photographs of both the Memorial in Cobh and one or two of the more dramatic headstones - "Foully Murdered by Germany" and "Victim of the Lusitania Crime." The Sham tribunals and the way in which blame was wrongly laid at the feet of the ship's master - Captain Bill Turner, in a bid to deflect public opinion away from government ineptitude are covered in great detail as is the fact that the ship was carrying munitions (as was common practise) and therefore, a justified target of War.
Concluding with a chapter on "The Mysteries Unravel, the author brings a semblance of sense to what happened almost 100 years ago and includes two photographs taken by Scuba Divers in order to bring the story of this great ship right up to date. The book ends with the a cartoon depicting the Mother of "Civilisation" kneeling on the beach and weeping for those lost on the Lusitania.
A poignant and thought-provoking account and one that is expertly crafted - this is simply a first-rate book. How sad that the wreck itself has never been designated a "War Grave."