Duel of the Ironclads: The Monitor Vs. the Virginia
America's first arms race reached a blazing conclusion on May 9, 1862, when the CSS Virginia charged its full 275 foot length of ironclad momentum toward the USS Monitor. On the shores, crowds waited for the explosive collision between the two bulwarks of the sea. The clash of these mighty military machines, destined to fight each other for the first and last time in the second year of the American Civil War, instantly brought the age of wooden naval ships to an end.
Using vivid paintings, cross-section diagrams, and technical drawings, Patrick O'Brien unfurls the story of the battle that immediately changed the course U.S. naval warfare.
Grade 4-8-The author/illustrator of The Hindenburg (Holt, 2000) and The Great Ships (Walker, 2001) spins a tale for young people of dueling military machines. The Monitor and the Virginia got a single-page treatment in The Great Ships; here O'Brien explicates the technological and political circumstances that brought these ironclads on the scene and changed the course of naval history. His succinct text should hold the attention of readers with an interest in naval history. The historical sections drag a bit, but the author cleverly switches back and forth between the political histories of these vessels and their more-fascinating technical aspects. A varying layout, offering several drawings and diagrams clearly linked to small sections of text as well as broader panoramic scenes accompanied by narrative text, allows readers to browse. Sadly, the design is cramped in places, and though obviously modeled after the layout in The Hindenburg, lacks the clarity and dramatic impact of that title. Readers not drawn to this subject matter will likely pass on this title, and those interested in follow-up material are on their own, as there's no bibliography. Still, this is a solid work for readers with a special interest.Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CACopyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. *Starred Review* Gr. 2-6. O'Brien, who shared his enthusiasm for ships--and his skill at painting them--in The Great Ships (2001), now captures readers with the story of the famous sea battle that brought the age of sail to an end. The U.S. Navy built the Merrimac as a sailing ship, but in 1861 partially burned and sank it rather than leave it for the Confederates, who took control of the Portsmouth, Virginia, shipyard. The rebels raised the hull of the Merrimac and rebuilt it as an ironclad vessel named the Virginia. Meanwhile, the Union navy built its own armored ship, the Monitor, which steamed into Hampton Roads and engaged the Virginia in the first combat between two ironclads. The outcome of the battle was less important than the fact that the ironclad vessels had shown wooden ships to be vulnerable, and the world's navies, obsolete. Well composed and colored by drama, the numerous watercolor and gouache paintings are an integral part of the presentation. The clearly written text and vivid illustrations work together well to explain the design and construction of the Monitor and the Virginia as well as their eventful stories. Carolyn PhelanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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- Walker Childrens; Reprint edition (January 23, 2007)
- Children's Books
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