Thanks to everybody who showed up for the Field Notes meeting on Saturday, October 26. Even though many members of the group didn’t like (and didn’t even finish reading) our last book, Fates and Furies, we still had a very lively discussion of the book and the issues it raised.
We meet again on November 23 from 11:00 to 12:30 at The Field Library (in the teen zone) to discuss the book we’ve selected for November, which is Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson. Copies are available now at the Circulation Desk.
Anyone who’s read The Devil in the White City, an Edgar winning bestseller, knows how skilled a historical writer Erik Larson is, how well he brings to life complex details of the past. His depiction, in this book, of the fateful interaction between the H.M.S. Lusitania and U-Boat 20 in the waters off Ireland in May, 1915, gives readers a vivid picture of the early days of World War I, the conventions of warfare as understood by the Germans and the British. He paints portraits of all the major players in the sinking of the luxury liner, from the passengers to the captain of the ship to the captain of the U-boat, to the members of the British Intelligence Service who knew what was going to happen but didn’t tell anyone. Too often history is seen with hindsight and everything seems inevitable because this is how events happened; looking at the pivotal sinking of the Lusitania (which was one of the causes for the U.S. entry into the war on the side of the Allies two years later) from the point of view of people experiencing it as it happened makes clear how contingent this (and most famous historical events) was on a multitude of factors, large and small, which could have gone a different way.
Come and get your copy of the book, and then join us for what promises to be a vigorous discussion and our usual good company, coffee and refreshments.