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    On May 7, 1915, toward the end of a routine crossing from New York to Liverpool, England, RMS Lusitania - pride of the Cunard Line and one of the greatest ocean liners afloat - became the target of a terrifying new weapon and a casualty of a terrible new kind of war. Sunk by a torpedo fired from the German submarine U-20, she exploded, burned, then sank in 18 minutes, taking with her some 1,200 people, more than half of the crew and passengers. Cold-blooded, deliberate, and unprecedented in the annals of terror, the sinking of the Lusitania shocked the world.

    In her riveting account of this enormous tragedy - which caused controversies that continue to this day - Diana Preston recalls both a pivotal moment in history and a remarkable human drama. With a historian's insight and a novelist's gift for characterization and detail, Preston re-creates the Lusitania's voyage through the eyes of those who experienced it. Passengers included the rich and the powerful and the rest of the human comedy: newlyweds and nursemaids, galley cooks and stokers, Quakers and cardsharks, ship's detectives and German stowaways. Drawing on a vast array of sources including letters and memoirs, Cunard and Admiralty archives, and previously untranslated German documents, Preston weaves their lives into her own dramatic narrative, giving this story a powerful immediacy.

    Lusitania: An Epic Tragedy is also available in print from Walker & Company.

    Listen to Diana Preston on C-SPAN's Booknotes (June 23, 2002).

    ©2002 by Diana Preston
    (P)2002 Random House, Inc.


    "A captivating and conscientious narrative...a brilliant account." (Booklist, starred review)
    "Few popular historians can marshal facts and place them within their times as vividly as [Preston]." (Chicago Sun-Times)

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