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Life in Mr. Lincoln's Navy Hardcover – October 28, 2008


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Life in Mr. Lincoln's Navy + Union Jacks: Yankee Sailors in the Civil War (Civil War America)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 202 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press; Book Club Edition edition (October 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1557507368
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557507365
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #330,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 18, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Lieut. Ringle is among the first to examine the many aspects of sailors' lives during the American Civil War. He examines topics such as the recruiting efforts of the U.S. Navy, compensation and promotion, training, entertainment, and disease to name but a few. This book is not the most eloquently written piece, but the extensive research and sheer fact that this is one of the first books to examine this aspect of CW naval history makes it a must for any American naval library. I find it valuable as a reference for topics that are difficult to find sources on (recruitment, etc.).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By N. Smith on November 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Endless treatments on the Civil War touch on everything about the armies, the men, and the campaigns they fought. Few books exist examining the naval facet of the war; an unforgivable omission since the navy played an integral component in the war's outcome. Dennis Ringle's Life in Mr. Lincoln's Navy is the first monograph to delve into examining the Yankee seaman. He discusses a variety of issues, from the type of men who enlisted, their training, food, medical care, social activities, integration with African Americans, shipboard and battle routine, and most importantly, their role in proving the new technological innovations of the ironclad.

Dennis Ringle's book is a good, though brief, view of the Union seaman, his role in the war, and the evolution of naval technology. He provides a tantalizing glimpse into the hardships endured by the naval leadership to build and recruit a fighting force. The seaman endured periods of boredom, punctuated by happy social times and terrifying bouts of battle horror. Ringle points out several areas where the army failed, but where the navy succeeded. One is in medical care and he makes a blanket statement that army surgeons had lacked in professional reading and competency. This is not true. Having read extensively Alfred Bollet's "Civil War Medicine: Challenges and Triumphs," H.H. Cunningham's "Doctors in Gray," and George Adams' "Doctors in Blue," the army dwarfed the navy in size and, thus, naturally (proportionally) incurred higher casualties and disease (amongst other issues). The army did possess a core of incompetent doctors, but eventually weeded them out through examination boards. Additionally, many surgeons were well read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Johnson on August 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The book is good, but it a lot flatter than I had hoped. Perhaps a few personal stories could give its heartline a little beat. It is interesting and easy to read, but too matter-of-fact. This book is not begging me to pick it up - but its history now.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Romeo on September 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I stumbled upon Life in Mr. Lincoln's Navy completely by accident. It was on a reading list that I was supposed to read one book from. None of the books on the list seemed promising except for Dennis Ringle's non-fiction work regarding sailors and the navy during the Civil War.I had been in the Navy for seven years so I thought that it might be interesting to see what life was like for an enlisted man, like myself, at the time. Boy, was I disappointed.

Ringle has taken a subject matter that could have been very interesting to read and, instead, has written a straight-forward-bare-bones book that is very bland. It's an uninspired book and it shows in the writing. The book is written on about the same level that an undergraduate college student would write. The chapters, with titles like Beans and Pork and Shipboard Routine, are short on facts (There is no way to tell the story of a Civil War sailor or life in the Civil War navy in 149 pages).

The biggest problem with Life in Mr. Lincoln's Navy is that it is just plain boring to read. There is no narrative that connects the chapters. Some sort of narrative would have gone a long way to make this book a better read.

I would not go so far as to say "Don't read this book!" It's a decent book if you need a reference for a paper. However, it's not a book that an armchair historian, or even anyone well versed on Civil War history, would care to read.
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