- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Children's LiteratureThis fascinating account of the development and ensuing disasters of the Civil War submarine is told with just enough detail and well-incorporated primary sources to capture good middle school readers. Diagrams show how ballast enabled the boat to sink while towing a torpedo so that the moving missile would ram and explode while the submarine was well off on the other side of the boat. However, the experiment was not without problems. The first version had to be scuttled, the second developed problems, and the third sank accidentally in the harbor, killing five sailors. The fourth sank killing all aboard. But still, others persevered and the torpedo actually sank a Union ship, the Housatonic, but the submarine sank, never to be found. While many looked for the lost ironclad submarine, it was not until author Clive Cussler took an interest that divers using high-powered tools and scanners discovered the silted-over ship in 1995. The book discusses the problems that then arose: ownership, safe recovery, excavation, and conservation. Maps, diagrams, photos of the Civil War participants, and photos of the actual ship and artifacts aboard are compelling. A satisfying account of the humans on board—there were skeletal remains plus teeth which provided a beginning—shows how researchers work with historians to verify the identities while forensic experts use this information to recreate possible appearances in clay. An intriguing look at a wide variety of scientific fields and scientists at work, a sidelight through Civil War history, and the mysteries of the ocean floor are all hooks to interest readers in this well-conceived book. 2005, Carolrhoda Books, Ages 11 to 14.
—Susan Hepler, Ph.D.