Thursday, June 4, 2009

Timberclads in the Civil War

The Timberclads in the Civil War by Myron J. Smith Jr.
Sometimes you pick up a book a can tell right away its a great book. This is one of those books. You can tell Smith did a ton of research and has provided us with a highly detailed account of the timberclads Lexington, Conestoga and Tyler.

The timberclads were lightly armored gunboats that served on the Western rivers in the early part of the war. Their only protection was thick sides of wood, not iron plates like were quickly being used in other production. These boats needed to be rushed into service so thick wood sides were easy and quick enough to do.

I was interested in this book because the two gunboats at Shiloh were the Lexington and Tyler. In fact the Shiloh chapter was the first chapter I read in the book. I figured I could tell pretty quickly from that chapter if the rest of the book was worth reading. That chapter sold me on the rest of the book. I've never seen that much detail devoted to those two ships during the Shiloh campaign.

There is only one drawback to this book. The suggested retail price is $70. For that reason the book I read was from the library. Right now I cannot justify spending $70 for any book. Maybe later I'll see this book at a used book store but for right now whenever I want to consult it I'll have to request it from the library.

Next week will be a bunch of book reviews, I've got about 4 ready to go. You'll also notice about 4 books in my upcoming reviews section that are being reviewed for Civil War News. Once they are published in Civil War News I'll post them here. I'm not sure how many will appear in the July issue but some will and you can expect to see those here around mid-July.


Drew@CWBA said...

He has another monster study coming out later this year about the Tinclads.

I highly recommend his earlier book, as well.

Naim Peress said...

It sounds like the timberclads, though necessary, were firetraps. What happened when the enemy hit them with cannon or gunfire?

Slamdunk said...

Sounds interesting, but I agree that the price is too high. I saw it at one of the large booksellers for $60 with discounts, but i na a few years it will be available at a Used seller for a reasonable amount.