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Alpha Tester
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Since last week’s post was well received, I am here to share another. For this week’s recommendation I would like to highlight the author Richard Snow and his book Iron Dawn: The Monitor, the Merrimack, and the Civil War Sea Battle that Changed History.

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Summary: Iron Dawn is a detailed recounting of the Battle of Hampton Roads, the people behind it and the development of the machines that forever changed the principles of naval warfare.

About the Author: Richard Snow is a historian and novelist, having published his first work The Burning in 1981 about The Great Hinckley Fire. Since then he has achieved success as an editor for the magazine American Heritage and served as a historical consultant on several films including the 1989 film Glory. Snow won the Samuel Eliot Morison Award for Naval Literature in 2017 for Iron Dawn.

My Thoughts and Why I Recommend It: The naval theater in the War of Northern Aggression is an untapped wonderland of interesting history. Okay, the battles tended to be one sided but even one sided battles, their lead up and their consequences can be interesting fodder for a hungry mind. Submarines, torpedoes, torpedo boats, turrets and the first all-steel constructed ship all originated during the American Civil War, and many of cutting edge technologies originated by France and England were advanced considerably by their American counterparts.

While very few people are familiar with the Battle of Hampton Roads by name, everyone with even a slight interest in military history will immediately recognize the names Monitor and Merrimack. The battle in itself might not seem that interesting at face value; two ships meet in a narrow channel and pound away at each other for three hours before dwindling supplies forced a stalemate. The book however paints a compelling portrait.

Many characters are brought to life in this book. John Dahlgren, whose artillery pieces became the basis of the future dreadnoughts. John L. Porter and John Mercer Brooke (who is worth a book himself) who, under the orders of Confederate Secretary of the Navy Stephen Mallory, managed to take the burnt hulk of the USS Merrimack and turn it into the casemate ironclad CSS Virginia. Most prominently however is the story of the Swedish inventor John Ericsson (a figure who is often overlooked but deserves as much recognition as Tesla and Bell. He was the inventor of the screw propeller, the caloric and solar-powered engine, an improved version of the whitehead torpedo and a new ship type to carry it - the torpedo boat destroyer). Ericsson fought a long, uphill battle of his own to get his plans for the Monitor accepted by the US Government, and in Iron Dawn, Richard Snow recounts it beautifully. Anyone with even a passing interest in ironclad construction and this obscure corner of history should definitely pick it up.

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8 minutes ago, KingCakeBaby said:

in the War of Northern Aggression

 From South of the Mason - Dixon line I would guess .  ;)

    :Smile_honoring:

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42 minutes ago, KingCakeBaby said:

The naval theater in the War of Northern Aggression...

Saw a really old film about that battle a few years ago... (one of those 30 movies on dvd for $19.99 collections...) and visited the area several year back.

Kind of like the story of CSS Hunley and USS Housatonic; a seemingly insignificant battle that had widespread impact much later.

32 minutes ago, Chien_Lu_Anderman said:

 From South of the Mason - Dixon line I would guess .  ;)

    :Smile_honoring:

lol

I was born in Kansas...

I always like to say my ancestors had two flags in the closet; one each for whichever group of raiders happened by at any particular time.

Edited by Estimated_Prophet
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Alpha Tester
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50 minutes ago, Chien_Lu_Anderman said:

 From South of the Mason - Dixon line I would guess .  ;)

    :Smile_honoring:

Louisiana and Missouri!

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On 6/16/2018 at 11:49 AM, KingCakeBaby said:

War of Northern Aggression

Time to get out the mops for you.

I loathe machismo in all its forms. And the Confederate War For Slavery is one of them.

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Alpha Tester
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7 minutes ago, Guardian54 said:

Time to get out the mops for you.

I loathe machismo in all its forms. And the Confederate War For Slavery is one of them.

The mops? What?

I'm not really sure what you're going for in your post. I'm also not sure how you can claim to loathe machismo when you have a name like that in a game that glorifies military machinery and made the first aggressive post in what was otherwise a civil conversation.

Maybe we're both bad at recognizing tongue-in-cheek humor.

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1 hour ago, KingCakeBaby said:

The mops? What?

I'm not really sure what you're going for in your post. I'm also not sure how you can claim to loathe machismo when you have a name like that in a game that glorifies military machinery and made the first aggressive post in what was otherwise a civil conversation.

Maybe we're both bad at recognizing tongue-in-cheek humor.

That term is insanely aggressive or provocative to a whole lot of people here, I advise using a more neutral term like the US Civil War. Any form of glorification of the Confederacy's ideologies (such as their lie that the North started the war) is on the order of advocacy of Nazism to a notable number of folks. Including me.

Add my learning a bit more about the Drakaverse last year and my opinion of the Confederacy's ideology--not the soldiers, they were brave and fought well, the ideology is the enemy--has reached and remains within an order of magnitude or so of an average Jewish person's opinion of Nazis.

The mops are for the inevitable loud wailing from people who use less aggression than you or I... and to mop up the forum mess that will inevitably happen as people take note of that treasonous lie.

 

On the actual subject of ironclad warships... the Americans constantly seem to claim they were great innovators in that field. Few in the US seem to bother with the fact that French got Gloire out in 1859, and HMS Warrior was launched in 1860. Turret ships were also well on their way. The first turret ship was, you guessed it, British. After a turret concept was demonstrated in the Crimean War, HMS Trusty was the first turret ship.

The Americans were correct to claim to have built the first ironclad turret ship to go into battle. But the march toward ironclads was like the march toward dreadnoughts. Japan would have gotten uniform-battery battleships first were it not for lack of gun barrels. And the US was well on its way to that conclusion too with the South Carolinas.

It is well worth a raised glass and a toast that the Americans put these new ideas to the test for the first time. However, when the discussion is poisoned from the beginning by usage of an incendiary term such as "War of Northern Aggression"... we who note such should inform you.

It would be commensurate to referring to WWII as "The War for German Destiny" (I feel enraged just trying to think up a suitably twisted term for that) for how badly some of us would take it.

Edited by Guardian54

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