Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates

Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates

The Forgotten War That Changed American History

Book - 2015
Average Rating:
Rate this:
This is the little-known story of how a newly independent nation was challenged by four Muslim powers and what happened when America's third president decided to stand up to intimidation. When Thomas Jefferson became president in 1801, America faced a crisis. The new nation was deeply in debt and needed its economy to grow quickly, but its merchant ships were under attack. Pirates from North Africa's Barbary coast routinely captured American sailors and held them as slaves, demanding ransom and tribute payments far beyond what the new country could afford. Over the previous fifteen years, as a diplomat and then as secretary of state, Jefferson had tried to work with the Barbary states (Tripoli, Tunis, Algiers, and Morocco). Unfortunately, he found it impossible to negotiate with people who believed their religion justified the plunder and enslavement of non-Muslims. These rogue states would show no mercy--at least not while easy money could be made by extorting America, France, England, and other powers. So President Jefferson decided to move beyond diplomacy. He sent the U.S. Navy's new warships and a detachment of marines to blockade Tripoli--launching the Barbary Wars and beginning America's journey toward future superpower status.
Publisher: New York, New York : Sentinel, [2015]
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9781591848066
Branch Call Number: 973.47 KILMEADE
Characteristics: xvi, 238 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), maps ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Yaeger, Don - Author


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Apr 10, 2017

Worst supposed non fiction book I have ever read. So poorly researched, even the bibliography does not match references or make any sense. The worst part is it appears to have an agenda and paints a very comical good/bad to referenced figures. It has all the makings for a script of a Hollywood Steven Segal movie.

Mar 22, 2017

Decent job Kilmeade!

Jul 13, 2016

Well written historical recalling
accounts of well known American early leaders and the long battle of enslavement by the Barbary Nations and the barbaric treatment of all captured non Muslims.
Another great book that compliments this is Dean King's
Skeletons on the Zarhara.

May 14, 2016

I really enjoy Brian Kilmeade's books. They're well written and tremendously interesting, featuring little known parts of American history. I enjoyed Washington's Secret Six, and this "forgotten war" was quite an eye opener. So many individuals, mostly Navy and Marine, but also little known diplomats. On top of the fact that so much else was going on during this time period, from the Constitutional Convention, presidencies of Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Madison.

A good read. Recommended.

Apr 18, 2016

Aptly titled. Worth the read,. Much more fun that grade 10 history books they gave us., and more than a little bit relevant to todays world.

Apr 15, 2016

Reads well with decent historical references. Main criticism is that I would have liked less patriotism (and christianity for that part) flowing through the author's pen and more neutrality. There was no background on much of the North African nations at all and the author seems to have something personal against Muslims and the Barbary nations at the time.

Mar 14, 2016

If you think America and the West's problems with Islam began as blowback from Bush and recent history you should read this history. Muslims used to take slaves (sex and otherwise) throughout their history. In 1800 the Mediterranean wasn't safe. The US decided to fight back to their credit.

Mar 02, 2016

I learned a lot about our history of Tripoli and the other pirates. I had no idea of the depth of our problems (and England's) problems in that era.

It was also interesting to see how some outstanding men were not credited, and how much average men of high rank abused their privileges.

I agree with mdsdad2cn1's comment. It is far better than my own.

Feb 11, 2016

So this is why the Navy was created...what foresight by Jefferson and Madsen. Great book.

mdsdad2cn1 Dec 19, 2015

The inspirational "Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates" is a very timely and readable thoroughly researched historical accounting of America's demanding entry of the new and struggling United States (1805) into the cutthroat world scene.
Read and take pride in American freedom's first great post Revolution international defensive military success in holding the Muslim Barbary pirates accountable to civilized international and individual rights.
Jefferson's, Eaton's, sailors, soldiers, families and others gallant sacrifices while forming and initializing our renowned U.S. Marines and Navy are justly and highly celebrated in this exciting book - at this, another especially dire time in U.S. history when many of our own highist and most spoiled elitist leaders show contempt for our individualist, yet mutually cooperative honor.
Warts and all U.S. cooperative individualism must succeed through all such challenges while helping to lead the world excel in surviving as we are eternally challenged by the unknown.
Our military will always be necessary and must always be highly effective, honorable and honored.
Excellent book.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at SMPL

To Top