Heather's Reviews > Jefferson's War: America's First War on Terror 1801-1805

Jefferson's War by Joseph Wheelan
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Aug 24, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 19th-c, audio-book, library-book, middle-east, united-states, president
Read from July 12 to 24, 2012

The title of this book caught my attention – did anyone else know that the United States had a war on terror prior to the current one? I sure didn’t. I also knew a scant amount about the Barbary pirates, and what I did know was certainly much more current than the early 1800’s. While I was initially concerned that the title might just be drawing on current events, this book was quite interesting and informative.

This is a war that I was never taught about in school, and I think I can safely assume that many others haven’t either. The United States and many other ocean-faring countries of Europe faced the real threat that the Barbary pirates would attack their ships, take their cargoes, and potentially kill members of their crew or take slaves/prisoners. The United States was the first country to really flex its military muscle when it had enough of paying bribes to these pirate nations. Many of the great military naval heroes of the War of 1812 earned their stripes during these Barbary wars.

This book also read very much like a novel. It felt like an adventure story – you have exotic locales, daring acts of heroism, and anticipation. It was also something where I didn’t know what the outcomes would be – something I don’t usually get too often. The main focus was not so much on Jefferson, but we do learn about his feelings toward the pirates and his policy actions. I certainly think that this is an event that more people should know about and this book provides great information on the subject while still being an enjoyable read.

The narration of this book was very well done. The narrator was able to incite excitement and anticipation in the listener and led to an enjoyable listening experience.
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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StoryTellerShannon How is it?


Heather It's actually pretty good. It feels more like a story then Non Fiction and is definitely a subject that I knew nothing about (so I can't account for the accuracy).


StoryTellerShannon Okay. Thanks for the info.


message 4: by Yann (new)

Yann Nice review. Indeed, this episode is generally unknown. It was happening during Napoleonic wars.

"The United States was the first country to really flex its military muscle when it had enough of paying bribes to these pirate nations."

I don't thik so. Venice, Spain, Pontifical States, England, Holy Roman Empire and some others flex them too. For exemple: the battle of Lepanto (1571), battel of cap Celidonio (1608), battle of Vallona (1638), battle of Cherchell (1665), battle of Bougie (1671).


Heather I am by no means an expert on the subject but I was essentially paraphrasing what the book said. they discussed at length how pretty much all the other countries that dealt with the pirates did so with bribes.


message 6: by Yann (new)

Yann I see, perhaps the author was just about this particular period. At that time, since almost all european countries were involved in napoleonic wars and were not paying much attention to barbaric states, so it explains that US had to fight alone against this threat. I know that Napoleon had plans to invade North Africa, but he was pretty busy in other places, like England. Thanks Heather! :)


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