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Children's LiteratureThis slice of American history should intrigue beginning readers, but they may need a little more information to understand what the Civil War was and why this ship and the Virginia (the ironclad from the Confederate side) were so important. The author does indeed set the scene and does discuss the two major issues of the Civil War and the strategic importance of controlling the waterway. The North wanted to cutoff supplies coming by sea and prevent access to Washington and the South of course wanted to destroy the ship blockade to gain access to more need supplies and protect their capitol located in Richmond. The ships were built in great haste and they used an untried technology—ships clad in iron that would repel cannon balls and not burst into flames. They were both successful in their own way and only fought one battle with no clear winner emerging. As the war continued, the Confederates blew up the Virginia rather than let it fall into Northern hands. The Monitor sank during a storm while being towed and lives were lost. After more than 100 years the ship was located and parts have been brought to the surface. It remains have provided a rich resource about that time in history and today you can see the gun turret in the Mariner's Museum not far from where the actual battle between the two ironclads took place. Paintings show the ships, the battle and the work of scientists who recently found the ship. A book that would work well for those studying the Civil War who may not be reading at grade level and also adult ESOL students. A Station Stop 3 book in the "All Aboard Reading" series. 2003, Grossett & Dunlop, Ages 6 to 8.
— Marilyn Courtot