Cover image for War, technology, and experience aboard the USS Monitor
War, technology, and experience aboard the USS Monitor
Mindell, David A.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
x, 187 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
VA65.M65 M55 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This groundbreaking history looks at how the crew of the Civil War's famous ironclad lived in & coped with the metal monster they called the "iron coffin," the origins of the idea for building an iron warship, how its construction drew upon & forced changes in contemporary manufacturing technology, & how the vessel captured the 19th-century American imagination.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Mindell briefly examines the Monitor's battle with the CSS Virginia, its operations at Drewry's Bluff, and the vessel's importance in the development of the modern warship. He focuses on the effects that service on the new type of ship had upon sailors, on depictions of the Monitor in newspapers and literature, and on controversies concerning its design and conduct in battle. Mindell relies on the memoirs of William F. Keeler, paymaster on the Monitor, for his analysis of living conditions aboard the ship, relationships among crewmen, and experiences during battle, all of which he compares with those experienced by sailors during the age of sail and with the writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville. Mindell explores public perceptions of the vessel and technological change in general. Of particular interest are Mindell's assessment of the actions of John Ericsson, who blamed Samuel Greene for the Monitor's failure to destroy the Virginia, and his explanation for the development of the "legend" of the Monitor. Mindell's thought-provoking assessments and conclusions contribute to the understanding of how institutions and societies perceive and react to new technologies. Upper-division undergraduates and above. J. C. Bradford; Texas A&M University

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. viii
Preface and Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introduction: A Strange Sort of Warfarep. 1
Chapter 1 Revising the Revolution, 1815-1861p. 11
Chapter 2 Building a Ship, Speaking Successp. 31
Chapter 3 William Keeler's Epistolary Monitorp. 51
Chapter 4 Life in the Artificial Worldp. 61
Chapter 5 The Battle of Hampton Roadsp. 70
Chapter 6 Iron Ship in a Glass Case, April-September 1862p. 87
Chapter 7 Utilitarians View the Monitor's Fight, 1862-1865p. 112
Chapter 8 Melville and the Mechanic's Warp. 123
Conclusion: Mechanical Faces of Battlep. 135
Notesp. 151
Bibliographical Essayp. 175
Indexp. 181