The Yankee fleet, so long neglected as a subject, has been dredged for the second time this year (The Rebel Shore by James M. Merrill) from Davy Jones' Locker. The evolution of the Union Navy is interesting on its own account but the singular distinction of Mr. Lincoln's Navy lies in its vital role in the Civil War holding the Mississippi River and thereby dividing the Confederacy. Shipcraft and statecraft in the era of domestic crisis produced successes and failures, events and heroes -- sketched by the author in rough and ready fashion, lively and credible. The account is workmanlike, well-proportioned and inclusive enough for ordinary inquiry. Compared to modern histories of naval conflict, the narrative is short on violence, but long on ingenuity, individual heroism and suspense. He might have paid more attention to the overriding strategy of war at sea, but, apparently, he tries to stick to the action and let the theory go.