Friday, February 16, 2018

Booknotes: "Our Little Monitor"

New Arrival:
"Our Little Monitor": The Greatest Invention of the Civil War by Anna Gibson Holloway
and Jonathan W. White (Kent St UP, 2018).

What a gorgeous book "Our Little Monitor" is. The publisher really gave it the all-star treatment. The pages are ultra-thick with a high-gloss finish that really sets off the volume's 131 illustrations. With common trim dimensions but the great heft of a old-school Webster's dictionary, you have to keep your back straight when lifting it. And with authors Jonathan White and former curator of the USS Monitor Center Anna Holloway at the helm there's little fear that the content inside won't match the presentation.

From the description: "Using the latest archaeological finds from the USS Monitor Center in Newport News, Virginia, as well as untapped archival material, Anna Gibson Holloway and Jonathan W. White bring “Our Little Monitor” to life once more in this beautifully illustrated volume. In addition to telling her story from conception in 1861 to sinking in 1862, as well as her recent recovery and ongoing restoration, they explain how fighting in this new “machine” changed the experience of her crew and reveal how the Monitor became “the pet of the people”―a vessel celebrated in prints, tokens, and household bric-a-brac; a marketing tool; and a prominent feature in parades, Sanitary Fairs, and politics."

Divided into two main sections, the first half of the book explores the ironclad's history, memory, cultural impact, and recovery/preservation while the second half is comprised of an extensive document collection. Throughout the volume one finds both color and B&W maps, photographs, artwork, technical drawings, broadsheets, and more—a wonderful visual record of the Monitor.

See my January interview with Jonathan White for more information.

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