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Victory in Tripoli: How America's War with the Barbary Pirates Established the U.S. Navy and Shaped a Nation

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Victory in Tripoli: How America's War with the Barbary Pirates Established the U.S. Navy and Shaped a Nation Cover

ISBN13: 9780471444152
ISBN10: 0471444154
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

As a new century dawned, a newly elected U.S. president was forced to confront a grave threat to the nation—an escalating series of unprovoked attacks on Americans by Muslim terrorists sworn to carry out jihad against all Western powers. Worse still, these fanatics operated under the protection and sponsorship of rogue states ruled by ruthless and cunning dictators. As timely and familiar as these events may seem, they occurred more than two centuries ago. The president was Thomas Jefferson, and the terrorists were the Barbary pirates of Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli.

Victory in Tripoli recounts the untold story of one of the defining challenges overcome by the young U.S. republic. This fast-moving and dramatic tale examines the events that gave birth to the Navy and the Marines, recounting the harrowing experiences of U.S. seamen held as slaves in North Africa for more than a decade and re-creating the startling political, diplomatic, and military battles that were central to the conflict.

The story begins with humiliation: a U.S. warship—the first ever in the Mediterranean Sea—sailing into the harbor of Algiers to pay protection money to Algerine ruler Dey Bobba Mustafa. This custom of paying pirates not to attack merchant vessels, long practiced by the European powers, rankled the ship's captain, William Bainbridge, as well as U.S. consuls Richard O'Brien and William Eaton. Over the next five years, these men, along with a handful of others, would do everything in their power to end this policy of appeasement and bring U.S. power to bear against the Barbary pirates.

Standing alone against the pirates, the United States resorted to naval blockades, covert operations and night raids, amphibious assaults, brute force, attempted regime change through a coup d'état, employment of mercenary forces, and, finally, the betrayal of a trusted ally in its quest for victory. The young nation would learn valuable lessons in cross-cultural diplomacy, diplomatic maneuvering, and the projection of military might as an extension of public policy.

Victory in Tripoli examines every aspect of the first U.S. military campaign through foreign lands—from the spectacular naval heroics of the legendary Stephen Decatur to Eaton's perilous march across the Sahara, from Jefferson's flip-flopping on the use of force to petty squabbles among diplomats that produced dire consequences for the United States. This highly interesting and informative history offers deep insight into issues that remain fundamental to U.S. foreign policy decisions to this day.

Review:

"London takes the reader through the march to capture Tripoli...and then quickly through to the later treaty signings in 1815, showing how the U.S. response to Barbary depredations resulted in a navy and marine corps capable of securing the rights of Americans in foreign lands." Library Journal

Review:

"London also gives full credit for valiant effort to Consul William Eaton, who marched across the desert to press the pirates by land." Booklist

Review:

"This is a tale of piracy, heroism, disaster, triumph, and American exceptionalism. A wonderful story, filling a gap in the history of the early republic. A terrific book!" Bernard Cornwell, New York Times bestselling author of Sharpe's Havoc

Review:

"Insightful and entertaining, Victory in Tripoli is an absolutely fascinating story, wonderfully told. Anyone with even a passing interest in naval history, or U.S. history in general, should read this book." Admiral William J. Crowe Jr., USN (Ret.), former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Review:

"Victory in Tripoli deftly captures the dangers of covert operations, the complexity of international diplomacy, and the thrills and horrors of battle. Joshua E. London's exciting and insightful look at one of America's earliest and seldom remembered foreign escapades offers much for the keen observer of current events." Charles T. Pinck, president of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Society

Synopsis:

At the dawn of a new century, a newly elected U.S. president was forced to confront an escalating series of unprovoked attacks on Americans by Muslim terrorists sworn to carry out jihad against all Western powers. As timely and familiar as these events may seem, they occurred more than two centuries ago. The president was Thomas Jefferson, and the terrorists were the Barbary pirates. Victory in Tripoli recounts the untold story of one of the defining challenges overcome by the young U.S. republic. This fast-moving and dramatic tale examines the events that gave birth to the Navy and the Marines and re-creates the startling political, diplomatic, and military battles that were central to the conflict. This highly interesting and informative history offers deep insight into issues that remain fundamental to U.S. foreign policy decisions to this day.

Synopsis:

At the dawn of a new century, a newly elected U.S. president was forced to confront an escalating series of unprovoked attacks on Americans by Muslim terrorists sworn to carry out jihad against all Western powers. As timely and familiar as these events may seem, they occurred more than two centuries ago. The president was Thomas Jefferson, and the terrorists were the Barbary pirates. Victory in Tripoli recounts the untold story of one of the defining challenges overcome by the young U.S. republic. This fast-moving and dramatic tale examines the events that gave birth to the Navy and the Marines and re-creates the startling political, diplomatic, and military battles that were central to the conflict. This highly interesting and informative history offers deep insight into issues that remain fundamental to U.S. foreign policy decisions to this day.

About the Author

Joshua E. London is a Washington, D.C.-based writer. He has written on politics and public policy for many publications, including the American Spectator, Human Events, National Review Online, and Details: Promoting Jewish Conservative Values. London holds an M.A. in social science from the University of Chicago and a B.A. in political science from the University of California, Davis.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments.

Introduction: 'Will Nothing Rouse My Country!"

1. Barbary Piracy.

2. Ensnared in Barbary.

3. Eaton Enters Barbary.

4. The Trials and Tribulations of a U.S. Consul.

5. American Declares War.

6. American Might, Frustrated.

7. Slouching toward Failure.

8. The Philadelphia Disaster.

9. American Gunboat Diplomacy.

10. General Eaton's Advance.

11. To the Shores of Tripoli.

12. American Peace.

13. The Lessons of War.

Bibliography.

Photo Credits.

Index.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

Truth Seeker, June 5, 2006 (view all comments by Truth Seeker)
Great read! Couldn't put it down! Not only was Mr. London's book exciting, but I found it full of information I'd never been exposed to previously. It should be required reading in high school -- and especially for those of us who think everyone in the world will treat us with respect if only we are fair with them (or bend over far enough).
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(3 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
Pirate Champion, June 5, 2006 (view all comments by Pirate Champion)
I just finished reading this excellent volume of history...wow! The book has plenty of timely overtones and nuances to it, yet is totally free of explicit contemporary political views or commentary. The material seems totally fresh and genuinely informative, even though it is dealing with events that took place over two hundred years ago.

The book is really well written, with all sorts of fascinating facets and characters. I thought I knew more about America's first encounter with the Arabs than I actually did, and I learned a great deal more about the North African pirates than I otherwise knew...and I know a heck of a lot about pirates. I mean PIRATES! ARRRRGH!

"Victory in Tripoli" is well worth picking up, and will prove hard to put down. :)
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(6 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)
Bilgemunky.com, June 5, 2006 (view all comments by Bilgemunky.com)
Having read several historical novels of late, it occurs to me that one thing they most all lack is a proper story arc. For example, in a typical pirate biography Pirate A was born, raised, raids this city, raids that ship, yaddy-yaddy-yadda, and then dies. Real life rarely offers the proper format of dramatic elements that make for traditional storytelling, which can make for historical novels that are sometimes a bit winding and seemingly aimless.

No such danger with Victory in Tripoli - we have both a protagonist and an antagonist, a beginning, middle, and even an exciting conclusion. And we of course have pirates - it's all here!

Long before the United Stated won its independence, the Barbary Nations had established a unique relationship with the major European powers - namely that of terror, extortion, and downright piracy. Not that the likes of Tripoli and Algiers could stand long against a full-on assault from any major navy, but apparently it had been determined that a war with the Muslims would be more costly than it was worth, and so the politics of pacification won out - resulting in countless annual bribes, gifts, and "tribute" given from across Europe to the various Muslim leaders.

Following the United States' birth, it was originally determined most expedient to follow suit. But as the Barbary Nations' demands increased, some American leaders began to consider the possibility that it might be cheaper (and more honorable) to simply build a navy and squelch the miscreants. It would likely have gone rather well from the get-go, except for all the politics, hand-wringing, and at times, straight-up incompetence which stalled out the war effort nearly each time it began to bear fruit.

"Victory in Tripoli" is a fascinating account of one of America's most important - and most forgotten - early conflicts. Author Joshua London paints a vivid picture of the issues of the day and the personalities that ultimately shaped this piece of history. The material is aided by the fact that it feels so relevant - a war of mixed popularity with a Muslim nation aggravated by back-biting politicians is hardly unfamiliar territory - but London carefully leaves the reader to draw their own comparisons, thus keeping this book remarkably clear of the taint of current political temperaments.

A fun, timely, and deeply informative read.
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(7 of 9 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780471444152
Author:
London, Joshua E.
Publisher:
Wiley (TP)
Author:
London, Joshua
Subject:
History
Subject:
United States - Antebellum Era
Subject:
Generals
Subject:
United States - 19th Century
Subject:
Military - Other
Subject:
Africa, north
Subject:
Marines - United States
Subject:
Generals -- United States.
Subject:
Military-General History
Subject:
General & Introductory History
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20110107
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
9.62 x 6.3 x 1.02 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Law » General
History and Social Science » Military » General History
History and Social Science » Military » Naval History
History and Social Science » US History » 19th Century
History and Social Science » World History » General
Science and Mathematics » Electricity » General Electronics

Victory in Tripoli: How America's War with the Barbary Pirates Established the U.S. Navy and Shaped a Nation New Hardcover
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Product details 288 pages John Wiley & Sons - English 9780471444152 Reviews:
"Review" by , "London takes the reader through the march to capture Tripoli...and then quickly through to the later treaty signings in 1815, showing how the U.S. response to Barbary depredations resulted in a navy and marine corps capable of securing the rights of Americans in foreign lands."
"Review" by , "London also gives full credit for valiant effort to Consul William Eaton, who marched across the desert to press the pirates by land."
"Review" by , "This is a tale of piracy, heroism, disaster, triumph, and American exceptionalism. A wonderful story, filling a gap in the history of the early republic. A terrific book!"
"Review" by , "Insightful and entertaining, Victory in Tripoli is an absolutely fascinating story, wonderfully told. Anyone with even a passing interest in naval history, or U.S. history in general, should read this book."
"Review" by , "Victory in Tripoli deftly captures the dangers of covert operations, the complexity of international diplomacy, and the thrills and horrors of battle. Joshua E. London's exciting and insightful look at one of America's earliest and seldom remembered foreign escapades offers much for the keen observer of current events."
"Synopsis" by , At the dawn of a new century, a newly elected U.S. president was forced to confront an escalating series of unprovoked attacks on Americans by Muslim terrorists sworn to carry out jihad against all Western powers. As timely and familiar as these events may seem, they occurred more than two centuries ago. The president was Thomas Jefferson, and the terrorists were the Barbary pirates. Victory in Tripoli recounts the untold story of one of the defining challenges overcome by the young U.S. republic. This fast-moving and dramatic tale examines the events that gave birth to the Navy and the Marines and re-creates the startling political, diplomatic, and military battles that were central to the conflict. This highly interesting and informative history offers deep insight into issues that remain fundamental to U.S. foreign policy decisions to this day.
"Synopsis" by ,
At the dawn of a new century, a newly elected U.S. president was forced to confront an escalating series of unprovoked attacks on Americans by Muslim terrorists sworn to carry out jihad against all Western powers. As timely and familiar as these events may seem, they occurred more than two centuries ago. The president was Thomas Jefferson, and the terrorists were the Barbary pirates. Victory in Tripoli recounts the untold story of one of the defining challenges overcome by the young U.S. republic. This fast-moving and dramatic tale examines the events that gave birth to the Navy and the Marines and re-creates the startling political, diplomatic, and military battles that were central to the conflict. This highly interesting and informative history offers deep insight into issues that remain fundamental to U.S. foreign policy decisions to this day.
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