Three interesting books on Ironclads

by admin on August 13, 2010

Ironclads, especially the early ones, are intriguing and interesting to me. Strange ships clad in iron to protect them against enemy artillery, often floating very low, and in the early days usually not very sea-worthy. Strange creatures which were the forerunners of later generations of frigates, cruisers and battleship.

Ironclad: The Epic Battle, Calamitous Loss, and Historic Recovery of the USS Monitor, by Paul Clancy

Ironclad: The Epic Battle, tells the saga of the iconic warship USS Monitor and its salvage, one of the most complex and dangerous in history.

The Monitor is followed Ironclad - the Epic Battle through its maiden voyage from New York to Hampton Roads, its battle with the Merrimack, and its loss off Cape Hatteras. Its one great battle in the spring of 1862 marked the obsolescence of wooden fighting ships and may have saved the Union. Its terrible end in a winter storm off Cape Hatteras condemned sixteen sailors to a watery grave. And the recovery of its 200-ton turret in August 2002 capped the largest, most complex and hazardous ocean salvage operation in history. At the same time, author Paul Clancy takes readers behind the scenes of an improbable collaboration between navy divers and cautious archaeologists working 240 feet deep.

Clancy creates a memorable, fascinating read, including fresh insights into the sinking of the Union ship and giving the answer to an intriguing forensic mystery: the identities of the two sailors whose bones were found in the Monitor’s recovered turret.

Ironclads At War: The Origin And Development Of The Armored Battleship, by Jack Greene and Alessandro Massignani

This interesting book discusses the Ironclads at War Civil War ironclads in the broader context of world naval developments. Many readers will learn for the first time of the influence on both Union and Confederate observers of Crimean War and other European armor, and learn the subsequent history of many Civil War naval vessels that later saw action in Peru, Paraguay, and Japan. For people interested in how these boats emerged, the role they played in the world, and their effects on naval warfare will love this book.

It is particularily good in its coverage of those ironclads in the service of other nations beyond the Royal Navy and the United States Navy. Contains well-done sections on the Seven Weeks War at sea, the wars of the South American Pacific coast including the Huáscar, and the Japanese Civil War.

Ironclad Down: USS Merrimack-CSS Virginia from Design to Destruction, by Carl D. Park

This is an interesting Ironclad downbook with a story behind it. Park’s original intent was to build an accurate model of the USS Virginia. He quickly found that examining and reconciling the conflicting and incomplete information about Virginia overwhelmed his plans. The model, he reports, was never built.

Instead he produced Ironclad Down, a very valuable contribution to naval history. It is the result of more than fifteen years of research, and a treasure trove of detailed information about one of history s most famous vessels. Describing the fascinating people – Stephen Russell Mallory, John Mercer Brooke, John Luke Porter, et al. – who conceived, designed and built one of the world’s first ironclads as well as describing the ship itself, Carl Park offers both the most thoroughly detailed, in-depth analysis to date of the actual architecture of the Virginia and a fascinating, colorful chapter of Civil War history.

Anyone interested in the Confederate Navy and the Battle of Hampton Roads will enjoy this book.

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