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Advance praise for Ink, Dirt and Powder Smoke

JAMES M. McPHERSON (author of Pulitzer Prize Winning Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era): “I am delighted to learn that you plan to publish an unabridged edition of Keeler’s letters to his wife. This will indeed be an important contribution to Civil War studies as well as to the biography of what certainly was an interesting and complex individual. Keeler’s letters, so far as they have been published, [provide] fascinating and important insights on the war, and especially on the career of the Monitor, and a complete edition will enhance their already considerable value. I think they will measure up to the best of the many collections of Civil War letters that have been published, and are certainly among the very best of naval letters, which are considerably more rare than army letters. I wish you Godspeed in this important enterprise.”

WILLIAM C. DAVIS (author of Duel Between the First Ironclads): “For generations now, Robert Daly’s edited two volumes of letters of Union naval paymaster William Keeler have been essential classics for any study of life aboard a Civil War ironclad warship or a Union blockade vessel. In Keeler’s case the vessels were the immortal USS Monitor, and the USS Florida. Unfortunately, constraints of space prevented Daly from publishing the letters in their entirety, with the result that a substantial portion of Keeler’s observations were edited out of the published books. Charles McLandress, a great-great-grandson of Keeler, remedies that loss in his new edition, which presents every letter in its entirety. . . . McLandress has done a skillful job of illuminating the letters with frequent contextual commentaries, and excellent annotation to identify people and places mentioned in the letters. The editing is useful but never intrusive . . . This is surely the definitive edition of Keeler’s wonderful letters, and a major contribution to the naval history of the Civil War and the nation.”

DAVID A. MINDELL (author of Iron Coffin: War, Technology, and Experience Aboard the USS Monitor): “This new edition of William F. Keeler’s letters brings the most important source for the experience of the USS Monitor again to a broad audience. Keeler told us, in an engaging, exciting way, what it was like to experience the Civil War Navy first-hand, and to be part of its most famous — and terrifying — new ironclad experiments. Keeler was at once a Civil War everyman, and a keen social observer. Kudos to McLandress for making these letters accessible to a new generation.”

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