Book Review: The Lusitania: The Life, Loss, and Legacy of an Ocean Legend

Archives

by Daniel Allen Butler

Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 2000. Pp. xii, 291. Illus, append., notes, biblio., index. $29.95. ISBN:0-8117-0989-2

A very careful examination of the famous case of the RMS Lusitania, the torpedoing of which in 1915 became an important factor in the eventual American entry into World War I.

Although the book gets off to a slow start – the author devotes over 50 pages to the outbreak of the war – once he gets started, Butler does a masterful job of unraveling the complex issues involved. He provides a thoughtful look at the intricacies of the “cruiser rules,” which had government commerce raiding for generations, and how they were affected by changes in technology and policy.

With regard to the Lusitania herself, Butler demonstrates that the ship was definitely carrying contraband. But he goes on to conclude that despite this the U-20 had no way of knowing that the ship was operating in violation of international law, and that it was thus not a legitimate target; In short, the sinking was a “bad bust.”

Butler then proceeds to delve into the political ramifications of the sinking. The result is a valuable book for anyone interested in the origins of World War I, in the law of war, or in the history of submarine warfare.

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   


Buy it at Amazon.com




X

ad
0
30

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 30 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close