Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War that Changed American History by Brian KilmeadeThe positive: this book covers a very interesting period in US history and the writing style isnt bad.
The negative: this is terrible history, not by what it includes but because of what it leaves out. Which either means the authors dont know American history very well or are being intentionally dishonest to sell a story.
The intent seems to be to cast Jefferson as a modern Republican or Fox News pundit.
A few illustrations: they make a point to draw attention to Jeffersons disdain for Islam by pointing out that he relegated his copy of the Koran on his shelf with Greek and Roman mythology. See, hes just a good Muslim-hating Christian. But they fail to point out that he kept the Bible in the same category. He hated all organized religion and especially anything mystical. He cut his own bible up to remove all the miracles and anything referring to Jesus as God. He had no more contempt for Islam than any other religion including Christianity. A good history would point that out...this book hides that fact to make him look like the Fox News readers they are selling to. Bad history.
Secondly, they attempt to point out how horrid it was that the pirates of the North African coast felt justified in kidnapping Christian sailors since they werent Muslim. They used their religion to defend slavery...who can imagine?! Seriously, they try to portray the idea of slavery defended by religion as uniquely Muslim. They dont point out that the historical context was that a couple hundred miles down the coast Christian traders were taking kidnapped Africans across the ocean based on the same religious excuses...except from the Bible. Its not about one being worse than the other or one making the other okay. Its about terrible historical writing to be that dishonest about the reality of the times. Again, simply bad history.
Third, the pirates of the Barbary coast are again cast as terrible thieves totally unique in their time and that way because of Islam. The authors report however that one of the American commanders, very glowingly in their report, got his start on the sea as a privateer...they conveniently dont explain what that is...its a pirate. They leave out the fact that privateering was something all the nations of Europe and America itself were openly involved in...piracy on the sea against nations they felt like they could get away with robbing. Again, its not about that being okay or two wrongs making a right its about terrible and dishonest history. The pirates of the Barbary coast were bad and ultimately got what they deserved. But their piracy had nothing to do with Islam any more than Blackbeard had to do with Christianity. It was a reality of the times.
Thats just a start to give you a taste of the dishonesty.
The authors try to cast Jefferson as an enemy of Islam and proponent of a strong military. The first idea Ive already commented on. The second one is even more absurd.
The Federalists, Hamilton as the strongest voice, WANTED a strong national military and navy. The Jeffersonians didnt. That was one of the main problems with the war of 1812 and the Federalist philosophy finally won out when the Jeffersonians were forced to admit that you couldnt wage war on a major scale without a real strong federal government military. These authors try cast the Federalists as somehow against a strong military and Jefferson as the force pushing for that military. Which isnt even historically debatable.
They have tried to create Jefferson in their own image and its very convincing...as long as you dont know actual history.
I wouldnt care that much if I hadnt read so many positive reviews about the book with people super impressed how the book is supposedly such an amazing perfect fit for our current war with Islam...see, they say, its always been like this and we need leaders like Jefferson. Not realizing that Jefferson was basically an atheist and anti-military. Hardly a guy who would get air time on Fox and Friends.
However, a lot of people dont seem to want actual history but prefer it in their own image.
THOMAS JEFFERSON AND THE TRIPOLI PIRATES - Brian Kilmeade
Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates is a book that is focused on a fascinating moment in the history of the United States that many Americans have forgotten: the American Revolution and its aftermath. A country that has just become independent has to face new challenges like huge debt and the threat of four Muslim powers. While the nation was trying to recover economically under the presidency of Thomas Jefferson, Tripoli pirates are kidnapping American ships and sailors at Tripoli.
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But this is to say that the authors let historical idealism bend their narrative, and that they admit a hidden motive for the entire exercise only two pages before the epilogue. But while nothing succeeds like success, I still smell a jingo. This is cherry-picking history to suit a modern agenda. The turn of the 19th century was a very different time, and the world a different place. Go figure. Not able to afford to follow suit, America, an upstart nation, struck a blow for the freedom of the seas and in the end won a bargain with the piratical Moors.
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New York: Sentinel, Several ships and their crews were captured by these states during the s and s. By the time Jefferson assumed the presidency, the issue had reached such a head that he sent the nascent United States Navy to confront Tripoli, who had declared war on the United States after a treaty dispute in The book starts with the newly independent United States encountering the difficulties all small states operating in the Mediterranean faced — risk of trade disruptions and capture by the Barbary States. The first four chapters cover the efforts and struggles the United States faced when dealing with Barbary during the s and s before war actually breaks out in chapter five. The succinct chapters and engaging prose make this an incredibly easy book to read. The authors successfully propel their narrative forward, moving between Washington, D.
Start by marking “Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War that Changed American History” as Want to Read: From the authors of the New York Times bestseller George Washington’s Secret Six, the little-known story of Thomas Jefferson’s battle to defend.
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Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates - Brian Kilmeade
Written in lively style this book is both informative and a quick read. For most readers of Pull Together it will be a review of episodes in the early Navy, important to the history but all too easily forgotten. For years, if not centuries, the rulers of Barbary, Morocco, Tunis, Algiers and Tripoli, had sustained their realms on the booty and ransom extracted from European, and more recently, American merchant ships. At first the young United States tried negotiation and even ransom payment but soon found the amounts demanded for captured ships were ever-increasing, exorbitant and unaffordable. The only alternative seemed to be war: defeat the robbers and eliminate the problem.
Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates has been sitting on the Best Seller list for several weeks now, and hooray! According to the authors, Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger, and this is perhaps the most important crux of the book piracy along the Barbary Coast i. Morocco, Tunis, Algiers and Tripoli, or modern-day Libya has been going on for centuries. In fact, when John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were European diplomats, representing the Articles-of-Confederated United States, in the mids, such piracy had already been going on for centuries. Both Adams and Jefferson were seriously involved in efforts to safeguard American ships from these predators.
Those who are not Marines, or related to Marines, or affiliated in some way with the venerable branch of the U. Prisoners were held for ransom or turned into slaves of the Ottoman Empire. The fledgling United States did not have much of a budget and could ill afford to pay tribute. But pay they did, reaching agreements to protect U. The agreements did not last. The navy of the American Revolution had been disbanded with the idea that the former colonies should not have a standing military, depending instead on civilian militias.