Afterhis father is killed fighting for the Union, 13-year-old Tom Carroll takes a job at a Brooklyn ironworks to support his family. He quickly learns that they are building an iron-clad, "unsinkable" ship to be called the Monitor to finally sink the Confederates' "unsinkable" ship, the Merrimac.
This is a brilliantly told description of a major sea battle through the eyes of a teenaged boy who both helped build the Monitor and fought on it.
©2009 Avi (P)2010 AudioGO
This story is very gripping. When I noticed the length I was worried it would be just a short, detail-heavy description of the battle and the construction of the ships prior to it. But the buildup is intense and the subplot of Tom being harassed by a southern Copperhead spy adds intrigue and kept my interest piqued. The short length also makes this feel more like a fun adventure romp through a rousing naval battle rather than just a dusty history story.
The length is also helpful in another way: Tyler Greenlaw's narration is not the best. I like his voice fine and actually found myself enjoying listening to him at the end. Still, this feels more like a somewhat decent read-aloud rather than a professional narration. The pacing is stunted and can be jarring at times and Greenlaw's skill at accents is incredibly disappointing. All of the adults sound exactly the same and there is no attempt at cultural accents or tones, he just slips into a deeper voice that sounds like a little kid impersonating an adult. The length was all that kept me going at the beginning. If this had been more than 3 hours, I would have given up.
That said, I recommend this audiobook. It's fun, it's short, and it spikes interest in history. You'll get used to the narration and be thankful for a chance to hear a great story by a great author.
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