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Monitor: The Story of the Legendary Civil War Ironclad and the Man Whose Invention Changed the Course of History

Overview

Monitor is the fascinating saga of arguably the most famous ship in American history, of the events leading up to and following the battle, and of the people who made them happen. John Ericsson had had an idea for a mobile ironclad as far back as 1826, and refined it during the thirty-five years it took for someone to commission him. The English and the French, in turn, had declined his vision, and his clever mind had focused on other inventions that were more readily accepted. Nonetheless, his "subaquatic system...
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1997 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Paper over boards. 240 p. Audience: General/trade.

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NY 1997 Hard cover First edition. New in new dust jacket. Gift Quality. Brand New. Fast Arrival. Sewn binding. Paper over boards. 224 p. Audience: General/trade. Gift Quality. ... Brand New. Fast Arrival. Read more Show Less

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New York 1997 Hardcover First edition, as stated/first printing New in new jacket The Story of the Legendary Civil War Ironclad and the Man Whose Invention Changed the Course of ... History. ISBN: 0802713300. [8vo] 247p. ill. (b/w) index. New in dj protected against wear and tear in Brodart Archival Mylar. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Monitor is the fascinating saga of arguably the most famous ship in American history, of the events leading up to and following the battle, and of the people who made them happen. John Ericsson had had an idea for a mobile ironclad as far back as 1826, and refined it during the thirty-five years it took for someone to commission him. The English and the French, in turn, had declined his vision, and his clever mind had focused on other inventions that were more readily accepted. Nonetheless, his "subaquatic system of naval warfare" remained close to his heart, and finally, in the summer of 1861, it became a historical necessity. Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles was desperate for an answer to the Merrimac, which everyone knew the Confederates were armoring, and turned to venture capitalist Cornelius Bushnell for advice. Bushnell was led to Ericsson, recognized his genius, and used all his persuasive powers to gain Ericsson, whom the navy mistrusted deeply, the chance to build his ship. Her assembly at breakneck speed was a miracle of engineering teamwork. Her timely arrival in Hampton Roads, stand-off with the Merrimac, and ultimate demise eight months later became the stuff of legend. Her impact was revolutionary: Filled with more than forty patentable inventions, the Monitor made every other navy on earth obsolete the moment she opened fire.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Naval historian deKay spins a good seaman's yarn about the making and fighting of the ironclads during the American Civil War. DeKay wants readers to believe that the significance of the Monitor lay less with the technology than in the battle it fought against the Confederate ironclad Merrimac in 1862, but, as he shows so well, innovations in ship design, screw propellers, and even waste disposal made the ironclad functional and helped point the way to modern naval warfare. DeKay provides useful discussions of naval strategy, personality clashes, and ship construction, and he refights the battle with verve. But the story is well known and the author offers no new facts or interpretation. He also founders on his bloated claims that not only the war but the world's future hinged on the events at Hampton Roads. The result is a rollicking good read but a dubious argument. For general readers.Randall M. Miller, St. Joseph's University, Philadelphia
Booknews
A gracefully crafted popular history of the personalities, origins, agonies of the ironclads that slugged it out at Hampton Roads. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Kirkus Reviews
The history of the USS Monitor, written with panache, sophisticated understanding, and attention to detail by deKay (Chronicles of the Frigate Macedonian, not reviewed).

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 line—colossal square riggers with 120 guns and a crew of up to 1,200—the 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 kind—the king of Syracuse had an armor-plated vessel in the third century b.c., and Fulton's Clermont was steaming along in 1807—yet 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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802713308
  • Publisher: Walker & Company
  • Publication date: 10/1/1997
  • Pages: 240
  • Lexile: 1470L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.91 (w) x 7.64 (h) x 0.99 (d)

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