Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Booknotes: Unlike Anything That Ever Floated

New Arrival:
Unlike Anything That Ever Floated: The Monitor and Virginia and the Battle of Hampton Roads, March 8-9, 1862 by Dwight Sturtevant Hughes (Savas Beatie, 2021).

This is yet another appealing-looking example of a very familiar Civil War topic getting the ECW treatment. From the description: "From flaming, bloody decks of sinking ships, to the dim confines of the first rotating armored turret, to the smoky depths of a Rebel gundeck—with shells screaming, clanging, booming, and splashing all around—to the office of a worried president with his cabinet peering down the Potomac for a Rebel monster, this dramatic story unfolds through the accounts of men who lived it in Unlike Anything That Ever Floated: The Monitor and Virginia and the Battle of Hampton Roads, March 8-9, 1862 by Dwight Sturtevant Hughes."

The book possesses the typical traits of the series, with over 140 pages of main narrative augmented by an appendix section, orders of battle, and suggested reading list. The size of the appendix collection varies by volume, and this one has three (a tour of sites related to the Monitor-Virginia battle, a general discussion of Civil War ironclads, and an introduction to the USS Monitor Center located at Newport News inside the grounds of the Mariners' Museum and Park).

Of course, there is a superabundance of maps, photos, and drawings spread out evenly over the entire length of the book. A particularly interesting graphics feature (at least to me) is the volume's set of isometric cutaways detailing select design technologies and internal workings of the Monitor.

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