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Book Review
Ironclads at War, The Monitor vs. the Merrimac
Ironclads at War, The Monitor vs. the Merrimac, (Graphic History 8)

by: Mark R. Smith [ GUNNY ]

Originally published on:
Model Shipwrights

Ironclads at War
The Monitor vs. the Merrimac
(Graphic History 8)

Author: Dan Abnett
Illustrator: Ron Wagner, Dheeraj Verma
Release Date: February 7 2007
48 pages

“On March 9, 1862, the world saw the first battle between two ironclad warships; a battle which would change the face of naval warfare forever. The fight took place in the Mississippi River, Virginia, between the newly-developed Confederate ironclad CSS Merrimac - officially the CSS Virginia - and the Union's counterpart USS Monitor. The four-hour duel that ensued was ultimately a stalemate, but crucially, despite their best efforts, the Confederacy had failed again to break the Northern blockade of the Southern ports.”


1.) Table of contents

2.) Who’s who

3.) Background to the Historic Battle

4.) The Battle

5.) Aftermath


Additional Resources

When I first read the early announcements from Osprey Publishing, talking of a new series of books that they were about to begin to market, I had my doubts as to whether or not they could pull something like this concept off or not. . .after examining this new release, “Ironclads at War”, #8 in the Osprey Graphic History series, my original thoughts have been changed, for sure!
For both the young and young at heart, the comic book style format of this publication makes learning both fun and easy, as well as adding the nostalgic excitement of the comic energy. Illustrated in full color, the entire story of the Monitor/Merrimac battle is documented with eye pleasing, action packed drawings, expertly done by Ron Wagner and Dheeraj Verma.

After reading the book through, I came away with a general understanding of who was involved in the battle, both Union and Confederate commanders, respectively, the various ships involved, as well as how the battle played out. The text is well written, to the point, as well as fresh and exciting, to stimulate the reader into wanting to read to the end (and in the process, maybe learning a little something?)

In addition to the illustrated story, there are also highly informative chapters as well, covering the birth of the Ironclads, basic Civil War history, the war at sea, and the aftermath of the sea battle. Again, these chapters are well written, to the point, and quite informative, with supporting photo’s, maps, and illustrations.

The two reference sections in the back have a detailed glossary of terms used throughout the book, and the “For More Information” page covers listings of organizations, and also a nice list of further reading suggestions to learn more about this and other sea battles of the time. As a special bonus, in the very back of the book is a full color, limited edition poster, illustrating an exciting scene in the story.

A new website...

Osprey Publishing has created a special website focusing on this new series, where young historians can get the latest on new and future releases, get a chanced to vote on what you would like to see next, find out details on favorite authors and artists, first hand accounts from soldiers on the front, competitions, free downloads, and sneak previews of new titles! All this and more can be found at www.ospreygraphichistory.com.

About the author, and Illustrators...

This edition is written by Dan Abnett, who currently lives and works in the UK. Educated at Oxford University, he originally worked as an editor of various comics and children’s books, before he began to write full time. His works include The X-men, Batman, and Dr. Who. He recently finished a five year tour on The Legion of Superheroes for DC Comics.

Cover artist Ron Wagner, lives in Iowa, and has worked for major comic book companies such as Marvel Comics, D.C. Comics, Dark Horse, and Image.

Dheeraj Verma, talented comic strip artist, has over 10 years experience working with many publishers, including Marvel Comics, Viper Comics, and Rosen Publishing.

Many thanks to Osprey Publishing, New York, for providing us with this very unique review sample.
Highs: Exciting, easy to read and understand format, full color illustrations, good historical content.
Lows: None! A good point of reference to spark young historians interests!
Verdict: Overall, a very pleasing read, exciting, informative, and the comic book style format makes you want to keep turning the pages. Highly recommended!
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: 9781846030536
  Suggested Retail: $9.95 US, £5.99 UK
  Related Link: Official Osprey Website
  PUBLISHED: Mar 16, 2007
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Mark R. Smith (Gunny)

I have been building models of all sorts all of my life, concentrating mainly on the coolest one's when I was younger, but now I focus directly on all military subjects, from armor to warships. After years of counting rivets, I put away the calipers, dial indicators, and micrometers and now just ha...

Copyright ©2020 text by Mark R. Smith [ GUNNY ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


Nah, I look much better in Blue than in Gray, plus I much prefer The Battle Hymn of the Republic to The Bonnie Blue Flag.
APR 05, 2007 - 10:19 PM
Nah, I look much better in Blue than in Gray, plus I much prefer The Battle Hymn of the Republic to The Bonnie Blue Flag. [/quote] Damn yankees. Gator
APR 06, 2007 - 02:50 AM
I grew up in Los Angeles, bleeding Dodger Blue. I now root for the home team, the Colorado Rockies, much as it hurts me. You can call me anything you want, but NEVER, EVER, a Yankee.
APR 06, 2007 - 03:01 AM
I was about 10 when I first realized that "damn yankees" was actually TWO words!!! My family is orginially from the Hampton Roads area, and I remember my grandmother talking about hearing accounts of the battle from relatives who had walked out to the shore by the family farm and could actually see the battle across the water. She always referred to the period from 1861-1865 as "the late unpleasantness". Having been taught from childhood that the ship which fought the Monitor was the CSS Virginia, you can imagine my disappointment (along with plenty of others) when the I-664 bridge tunnel from the Peninsula over to Suffolk was OFICIALLY named the Monitor and Merrimac Bridge Tunnel. And THAT by VDOT!!!! "Popular" history is about the same quality as urban legends in my book. Tom
APR 06, 2007 - 11:23 PM
Hey Gator, The best naval battle of the Civil War had to be Mobile Bay when Capt Buchannon with the ironclad, CSS Tennessee took on Admiral Farraday's fleet. He lost but showed that an ironclad could stand up to wodden ships in a fight, but need to have the steering system better protected. Anyone know of a model of the CSS Tennesee? "Gosh darn the torpedoes! Full speed a head!" He should have been the real hero of Mobile, Alabama, instead of the guy who attacked mechant ships and losses when he come up against an equal. The closest I come to Yankee is rooting for the Boston Red Socks when they play them Yankees. They really named the bridge, "Monitor and Merrimac"? How stupid!
APR 06, 2007 - 11:45 PM
There is a line from the movie The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance that says it all. "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."
APR 07, 2007 - 01:49 AM
Jim, Flagship Models makes a CSS Tennessee in 1/192. Cost is $80.00.
APR 07, 2007 - 02:58 AM
Merrimac? The damn yankees may have won the chance to re-write history, but geography too? When if ever, did the Mississippi flow through Virginia?
APR 07, 2007 - 12:39 PM
Howdy fellas, Man, you guys are makin' me feel.......bad. On another thread I was responding and began typing the very words "Monitor vs. Merrimac", and thought, I should be typing "Virginia" instead, but decided to 'keep it simple' for clarity's sake.........now this thread has made me feel guilty I just didn't type what I thought in the first place! Serves me right. Tread. Oh, and to HalfYank. Funny you should mention one of my favourite lines from the movie that is my moniker just about everywhere else than here....'LibertyValance'
APR 08, 2007 - 03:15 AM

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