War, Technology, and Experience aboard the U. S. S. Monitor / Edition 1

War, Technology, and Experience aboard the U. S. S. Monitor / Edition 1

by David A. Mindell
     
 

ISBN-10: 0801862507

ISBN-13: 9780801862502

Pub. Date: 03/28/2000

Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press

In a familiar story, the USS Monitor battled the CSS Virginia (the armored and refitted USS Merrimack) at Hampton Roads in March of 1862. In War, Technology, and Experience aboard the USS Monitor, David A. Mindell adds a new perspective to the story as he explores how mariners—fighting "blindly" below the waterline—lived and

Overview

In a familiar story, the USS Monitor battled the CSS Virginia (the armored and refitted USS Merrimack) at Hampton Roads in March of 1862. In War, Technology, and Experience aboard the USS Monitor, David A. Mindell adds a new perspective to the story as he explores how mariners—fighting "blindly" below the waterline—lived and coped with the metal monster they called the "iron coffin." Mindell shows how the iron warship emerged as an idea and became practicable, how building it drew upon and forced changes in contemporary manufacturing technology, and how the vessel captured the nineteenth-century American popular and literary imaginations.

Combining technical, personal, administrative, and literary analysis, Mindell examines the experience of the men aboard the Monitor and their reactions to the thrills and dangers that accompanied the new machine. The invention surrounded men with iron and threatened their heroism, their self-image as warriors, even their lives. Mindell also examines responses to this strange new warship by Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville, who prophetically saw in the Civil War a portent of the mechanized warfare of the future. The story of the Monitor shows how technology changes not only the tools but also the very experience of combat, generating effects that are still felt today in the era of "smart bombs" and pushbutton wars.

"We find new significance in the otherwise well-known history of the Monitor. It is no longer the story of the heroic inventor and his impenetrable weapon thrusting themselves upon a doubtful and conservative bureaucracy... It is no longer the story of a heroic battle and the machine's epic loss soon after. Rather it is a story of people experiencing new machinery, attempting to make sense of its thrills, constrictions, and politics, and sensing its power and impotence—both in glory and frustration."—from War, Technology, and Experience aboard the USS Monitor

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801862502
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
03/28/2000
Series:
Johns Hopkins Introductory Studies in the History of Technology Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
200
Product dimensions:
(w) x (h) x 0.48(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsviii
Preface and Acknowledgmentsix
Introduction: A Strange Sort of Warfare1
Chapter 1Revising the Revolution, 1815-186111
Chapter 2Building a Ship, Speaking Success31
Chapter 3William Keeler's Epistolary Monitor51
Chapter 4Life in the Artificial World61
Chapter 5The Battle of Hampton Roads70
Chapter 6Iron Ship in a Glass Case, April-September 186287
Chapter 7Utilitarians View the Monitor's Fight, 1862-1865112
Chapter 8Melville and the Mechanic's War123
Conclusion: Mechanical Faces of Battle135
Notes151
Bibliographical Essay175
Index181

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