The point of this new feature will be to highlight new thinking (and new source material) in ACW publishing.

BOOK BIN | For those who have been following the news around raising the Civil War sub Hunley, there is an entire book on the subject in Raising the Hunley by Hicks and Kropf. It's part of the small genre of "marine salvage" and tends towards a "suspensful" journalistic syle. There does not seem to be any new ACW history content, however.

Otherwise, this has been a truly remarkable publishing season in ACW naval literature:

Civil War Ironclads - This study from Johns Hopkins Press examines the Union's shipbuilding programs as programs, focusing on men, designs, management choices, and politics. Any modern manager, from project level on up, will find this a terribly contemporary read. The conclusions are bold and revisionist: "... the ironclad program set navy shipbuilding back a generation."

Ironclads and Big Guns of the Confederacy - This is a volume of "the Journal and Letters of John M. Brooke," the architect of the CSS Virginia, and provides a wealth of unpublished new material. The workings of the Confederate naval ordnance bureau figure largely here. These are his original letters, sketches and diary entries, which makes this a vital source for future Confederate naval writing.

Lincoln's Spymaster - The fellow charged with monitoring Confederate shipbuilding programs in Britain was an obscure New Jersey lawyer acting as consul in Liverpool, Thomas Haines Dudley. His efforts were successful and this work is based on his unpublished papers. If the book has a drawback it is in trying to appeal to nonspecialists by recapitulating general history instead of fully developing new details from his archives.

Northern Naval Superiority and the Economics of the American Civil War - This exciting and adventurous work analyzes the indirect effects of Union blockade including lost revenue, ruined inter-regional trade, and overload on the road and rail infrastructure of the Rebellion. It will be an affront to all those historians who have measured the blockade by number of goods smuggled through. First class.