Monday, December 7, 2009

Booknotes - "Tinclads in the Civil War"

Tusculum College library director and professor Myron J. Smith, Jr. has quietly put together a monumental naval series. Actually, it is not formally presented as a series but the trio of Le Roy Fitch: The Civil War Career of a Union River Gunboat Commander (McFarland, 2007), The Timberclads in the Civil War: The Lexington, Conestoga, and Tyler on the Western Waters (McFarland, 2008), and now Tinclads in the Civil War: Union Light-Draught Gunboat Operations on Western Waters, 1862-1865 (McFarland, 2009) together comprise an extraordinarily comprehensive yet minutely detailed look at the gunboat war on the western waterways. Fitch takes the reader along the Ohio, Cumberland, and Tennessee rivers, while Timberclads moves the action from the Tennessee River to the Mississippi, White, Arkansas, and Red rivers, among other tributaries. The new volume, Tinclads in the Civil War, is similarly broad. It is unfortunate that the costs of these books will likely keep them from the scale of personal library circulation that they abundantly deserve (the latest book is a paperback, priced at $55).

I wonder if the ironclads are next up. Back in 1982, the author published a history of the City-Class gunboat U.S.S. Carondelet so there's some interest there [ed. 12/8: looks like there's a reprint planned].


  1. The high prices & numerous typos scare me away from McFarland titles. Luckily our state library (I work across the street from it) has lots of McFarland titles (but none from Savas Beatie). Has anyone from McFarland ever addressed the high costs of their books?

    Joel Manuel
    Baton Rouge LA

  2. Not to me. Their website self-describes the company as a "library-oriented publisher" which would suggest a high price/low volume model.


If you wish to comment, please sign your name. Otherwise, your submission may be rejected, at my discretion. Also, outside promotions are not allowed in the comments section.