Synopses & Reviews
The small, ungainly iron ship may have saved the union. Then in a vicious winter storm, it plunged into the depths of the Atlantic, seemingly lost forever. One hundred and forty years later, after a a search and recovery mission, its ponderous iron turret reemerged, dripping, from a rusting grave, returning priceless bits of history.
In Ironclad, journalist Paul Clancy weaves three great sea adventures into a single mesmerizing tale of life and death. Naval heroism, the cold heart of battle, a killing storm, deep water salvage, flesh and blood history—Ironclad has it all.
“Paul Clancy’s masterful investigation into the recovery of the Monitor is a thrilling re-creation, making for a satisfying story of men—and women—on the high seas.”
–Peter Nichols, author, A Voyage for Madmen and Evolution’s Captain
“Ironclad is solid history written in riveting, heart-pounding prose.”
–John B. Hightower, President & CEO, The Mariner’s Museum
“Ironclad is a fascinating glimpse into our nation’s history—an engrossing story of heroism, human ingenuity, and intrigue wrapped in a great adventure.”
–Kevin F. McMurray, author, Deep Descent and Dark Descent
In Ironclad, journalist Paul Clancy weaves three great sea adventures into a single mesmerizing tale of life and death. Naval heroism, the cold heart of battle, a killing storm, deep-water salvage, flesh-and-blood history—Ironclad has it all.
DOWN THROUGH the deep ocean we dive, silver fish pulsing around us, cobalt blue sliding toward gray as light fades. It is surprisingly serene here in the cockpit of a bubble-faced submersible, with soft, confident voices burbling over my earphones – except that my heart is racing. We are about to drop in on one of the most intriguing shipwrecks of all time, the plucky, improbable ironclad that on a cool dawn one hundred and forty years ago saved the day and, just possibly, the United States of America.
Lights from the sub illuminate yellowtails and amberjacks as we plunge through the depths. 150, 180, 200 feet, white letters superimposed on a small monitor inform us. It feels as though we’re falling through limitless space, but suddenly the flat, sandy bottom zooms up at us like the view through a camera lens. The sub’s captain eases our vessel forward with toggle-switch commands and we lope across a desert-like bottom. Slowly, slowly, out of the gloom, a dark shape creeps into focus.
“We’ve got the wreck in sight,” the captain purrs into his headset to the mother ship above. “We’re at the stern, coming right up on the turret.”
“Beautiful, absolutely beautiful,” exclaims the historian from his aft observation chamber, an edge of excitement in his voice “This is something you’ve heard about all your life,” he exclaims. “And here it is, right before your eyes, the USS Monitor.”
The historic Civil War ironclad with revolving turret is lying where she came to rest almost ten months after her fierce battle with the CSS Virginia, the menacing metamorphosis of the once-proud federal ship Merrimack.
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