"Lusitania": Saga and Myth by David Ramsay
The saga of the Lusitania is one of the most remarkable in the annals of maritime history. State-of-the-art when she went into service and the first express liner to be equipped with steam turbines, she outclassed all her rivals. She triumphantly restored British supremacy on the North Atlantic passenger routes and became an acknowledged commercial success; she was highly popular with her regular passengers. Her sinking in May 1915 by a German U-boat, with heavy loss of life, was at that time the most savage attack on civilians in the course of war and was widely denounced in allied and neutral countries. From that day her loss has become encrusted with legends, including conspiracy theories, many of them created by German propaganda. In this book David Ramsay sets out to unravel those myths and legends and tell a clear and compulsive saga of terrible maritime disaster, of clashes among three powerful nations, and a story of potentates and presidents, ambassadors and ministers of state, bankers and shipping magnates and spies and, not least, the captain, William Turner, who had to defend himself against charges of incompetence and fight for his reputation. Based on detailed research, this new book almost certainly contains the most objective account of the history of the liner and the circumstances surrounding her sinking. The sinking of Lusitania, which took a mere eighteen minutes, led to a loss of life comparable with the Titanic disaster, and the ramifications were felt across Europe and America; this telling of the story will intrigue the general reader as much as it does the historian and enthusiast.