From acclaimed popular historian Richard Snow comes the thrilling story of the naval battle that changed the Civil War and the future of all sea power.
No single sea battle has had more far-reaching consequences than the one fought in the harbor at Hampton Roads, Virginia, in March 1862. The Confederacy, with no fleet of its own, built an iron fort containing 10 heavy guns on the hull of a captured Union frigate named the Merrimack. The North got word of the project when it was already well along, and, in desperation, commissioned an eccentric inventor named John Ericsson to build the Monitor, an entirely revolutionary iron warship - at the time, the single most complicated machine ever made. Abraham Lincoln himself was closely involved with the ship's design. Rushed through to completion in just 100 days, it mounted only two guns, but they were housed in a shot-proof revolving turret.
The ship hurried south from Brooklyn (and nearly sank twice on the voyage), only to arrive to find the Merrimack had destroyed half the Union fleet and would be back to finish the job the next day. When she returned, the Monitor was there. She fought the Merrimack to a standstill and saved the Union cause. As soon as word of the battle spread, Great Britain - the foremost sea power of the day - ceased work on all wooden ships. A thousand-year-old tradition ended, and the path to the naval future opened.
Iron Dawn is the irresistible story of these incredible, intimidating war machines. Historian Richard Snow brings to vivid life the tensions of the time, explaining how wooden and ironclad ships worked, maneuvered, battled, and sank. This full account of the Merrimack and Monitor has never been told in such immediate, compelling detail.
©2016 Richard Snow (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
I have read about 100 books about the civil war (including several comprehensive multi-volume histories) and an astonishing percentage of this book was completely unknown to me. It is a good length, well paced, enjoyable and informative.
For me, there was an awful lot of build-up, and historical footnotes leading up to the 20 minute sea battle that ended in a draw. Disappointing to say the least. Listen, I'm a Navy veteran, and a Civil War buff so I thought I'd get a little more out of this title than what I did. Having read countless historical perspectives on the war, including a few on the Naval contribution, I anticipated a little bit more. And I thought for certain I'd be listening to a treat considering the participants.
I can say without a doubt that because of these two vessels (I'm hesitant to call either a ship), the dawn of the steel navy was born. But aside from that, I found myself daydreaming on more than one occasion. the author just didn't have my attention for the duration.
Grover Gardner does an excellent job narrating as always. He has an even tone and satisfying delivery that plays a significant part (for me) in telling this story. I'm glad I was stuck with him for the 12+ hours it took to read/listen. Aside from that, I think I'd be asleep.
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