As much as I love history, I usually hate reading about the Civil War. I don’t know if it’s because of the level of slaughter, or the animosity within a nation, or the antiquated ideas about medicine; what I do know is that I usually avoid literature about the Civil War at all costs. I enjoyed the first of Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales enough, however, that I wanted to read the sequel before passing it on to my daughter, and to my surprise, I enjoyed Big Bad Ironclad immensely–its topic notwithstanding.
In Ironclad, Nathan Hale is back at the gallows, telling stories about the future to delay his hanging. His chosen topic? Ironclads in the Civil War, which I didn’t know existed. I did know that the North blockaded the South, and that blockade runners were the result, but ships with iron plating–nope. The book does a fabulous job of telling their story and tying in some of the exploits of Will Cushing, a larger-than-life figure about which I’d actually like to read more. Hale’s illustrations make me smile and his text makes me me giggle, and in a book about ANY aspect of the Civil War, that is an impressive feat indeed.