Monitor: The Story of the Legendary Civil War Ironclad and the Man Whose Invention Changed the Course of Historyby James Tertius De Kay, James Tertius Kay
On March 9, 1862, an epic battle was fought. It was one that not only affected the course of the Civil War but one that changed the face of naval warfare forever. It was on that fateful/i>
A lively popular history . . . his vivid rendering of the tough decisions faced by men at the front of innovation makes the greatest impression. -- Publishers Weekly
On March 9, 1862, an epic battle was fought. It was one that not only affected the course of the Civil War but one that changed the face of naval warfare forever. It was on that fateful day that two ironclads met for the first time -- the Monitor and the Merrimac. And here is the fascinating saga of the events that led up to the battle and the people who made it happen.
The Monitor may have been a "doughty little Civil War ironclad," as deKay writes, but it was an elegantly minimalist mechanical marvel, a milestone in naval technology, with a design so original (including a revolving turret), it had 40 patentable innovations. At a time when naval strategy relied upon ships of the linecolossal square riggers with 120 guns and a crew of up to 1,200the Monitor was a freak and a harbinger: armor-clad, steam- powered, with a mere two guns and a crew of 58. It was hardly the first of its kindthe king of Syracuse had an armor-plated vessel in the third century b.c., and Fulton's Clermont was steaming along in 1807yet it was the right ship, in the right spot, at the right time. DeKay tells the Monitor's story with building suspense: It was the brainchild of the Swedish engineer John Ericsson, which became the best hope of the Union forces to maintain a critical blockade at Hampton Roads, Va. Finally, the author relates the wicked confrontation with the Confederate's "awesome dark monster," Merrimac, another ironclad whose tale deKay sharply limns. It was a standoff at first, then the smaller Monitor exploited its opponent's unwieldiness to gain ascendancy. DeKay's tale is a richly brocaded one, serving up the sweetheart deals and political shenanigans that marked the Monitor's progress; elaborating on the rumors that flew before the epic battle like expectations before a championship heavyweight fight; bringing into play the weather and tides and most any other thing that touched upon events.
This book is, simply, a little treasure.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews