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Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates:…

Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War That Changed…

by Brian Kilmeade

Other authors: Don Yaeger

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3661829,640 (3.3)7



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So engaging at first, not a surprise because this a story about pirates. But as soon as you scratch the surface you realise it's all for the glorification of the Fox News vision of the US. All they do is for they freedom and let the rest of the world be dammed.

Inside this book is the story of the first coup orchestrated in another country by the US, which is also the first time the left to rot the part of the population that was supporting their interests as soon as it wasn't convenient. That meant that hundreds if not thousands of persons died due to the US meddling but that's not even a footnote because they gave an stipend to the would be leader they were supporting so everything is fine, the US is generous and free.

Also egregious is the fact that the book is fully based on the correspondence between the US leaders, not a peep of the opinions at the time of the African or European leaders. US über alles ... ( )
  emed0s | Sep 27, 2017 |
This informative and enjoyable book provides a succinct account of the emergence of the United States as a naval military power following the conclusion of the War of Independence.

Tripoli declared war on the U. S. on May 14, 1801, citing a motivation that is largely the same as that driving present day conflicts in the Middle East.

During the late 18th and early 19th century the four nations along North Africa's Barbary Coast—Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli—engaged in a state supported program of piracy. They routinely attacked merchant vessels approaching Gibraltar and sailing in the Mediterranean Sea. As this was the only feasible sea route to trade with Italy, Greece, Egypt, and other ports along the Mediterranean coast, this left merchant vessels at their mercy.

The practices of the states, all Muslim nations, were particularly heinous. In addition to stealing the ships and their cargos, they enslaved everyone aboard the captured ships and demanded an exorbitant ransom for their release. France and England were powerful enough that they could have challenged the Barbary pirates successfully but they chose to pay an annual tribute for safe passage of ships flying their flags. Fledgling states like the United States could not afford to pay the sums that were demanded for the release of their citizens nor the tribute demanded for safe passage.

John Adams asked Tripoli's ambassador to the U. K. how Tripoli could justify its acts of war against a nation that, "had done them no injury." The ambassador replied that according to the Qur'an, "all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave" (page 14).

This religious justification will be familiar to readers who follow the current activities of the terrorist organizations presently murdering innocents in the Middle East.

The U. S. tried appeasement, paying tribute, and diplomacy, all to no avail. Finally and only reluctantly, President Thomas Jefferson turned to direct military intervention.

Despite my generally positive evaluation, I find the usefulness of this book as an authoritative source is diminished by the authors' organizational scheme and casual approach to documentation.

The first few chapters follow the involvement of several the key figures, one at a time, across the years of the engagement. Readers gain some familiarity with the principals but only a hazy understanding of the flow of events across the years.

Subsequently Kilmeade and Yeager offer to a more chronological rendering of the major developments. Many of the key events touched upon briefly in the early chapters are covered in more detail in these later chapters. The use of a chorological scheme that introduces key figures in their context key developments—using boxes within the chronological scheme if desirable—would have provided a superior narrative scheme for the book.

The book is also flawed by the authors' lazy approach to documentation. Most of their claims are documented by general references to books and other documents without an effort to direct readers to the precise information that supports their narrative. Readers are forced to accept the authors' conclusions as valid without a realistic means of verification.

In summary, I found this to be an interesting book that could have been significantly better. ( )
  Tatoosh | Jun 26, 2017 |
Joy's review: An interesting story about how the American Navy came to be and how the US first sought to project power in a foreign land. But it is told here very superficially and without any historical context about piracy. The authors go into great detail about the suffering of the seamen held captive in North Africa, without so much as referencing the irony that the people most upset by all this held slaves in America often under much worse conditions. It's a pretty lazy history. ( )
  konastories | Apr 17, 2017 |
This book takes a topic that I knew next to nothing about and made it interesting and well worth reading about. I enjoyed this book from Brian Kilmeade much more than his previous effort regarding the spies used by Washington during the Revolutionary war. ( )
  bhuesers | Mar 29, 2017 |
A tight, well researched history of the past that has many parallels with today. Unfortunately, when the authors reflect on the psychological state of Jefferson during his time as a widower, they forget to mention the comfort he enjoyed with his "slave", Sally Hemmings, who was in fact his wife's half sister and mother of several of his children. Another instance where the therapeutic perspective does not effectively count. ( )
  JayLivernois | Mar 16, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
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