There were parts of this book that were great, and other parts that really dragged for me. This book seems to be a fan favorite of history readers, so I am probably in the minority on this one. I usually love the asides in a history book where the background of historical persons are discussed, but it did not work for me in this book. I felt that there were too many people, and too once a person was discussed, he often didn't come back for a while. While I enjoyed some of the buildup to the actual battle of the Merrimack vs. the Monitor, it went on for too long, and the detail was not interesting enough for me to keep me engaged.
With all of that said, I did learn a lot about the navies of both sides during the Civil War, and the the actual action at sea was fascinating. Good book, but for me at least, not great.