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Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War that Changed American History
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Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War that Changed American History

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  13,203 ratings  ·  1,666 reviews
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 America against Islamic pirates.

Brian Kilmeade – cohost of “Fox & Friends” on Fox News and the national radio show “Kilmeade & Friends” – returns with another fascinating historical narrative, co-written with Don Ya
Hardcover, 238 pages
Published November 3rd 2015 by Sentinel
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Michael Blackledge In my opinion, this is not an appropriate book for an adult. It appears to be written at the level of a 12 year old. It is repetitive and juvenile. Mo…moreIn my opinion, this is not an appropriate book for an adult. It appears to be written at the level of a 12 year old. It is repetitive and juvenile. Most every page confirms this writing style, and the "Notes" are sources only. Strong review follows.(less)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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Start your review of Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War that Changed American History
Dec 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
The positive: this book covers a very interesting period in US history and the writing style isn't bad.

The negative: this is terrible history, not by what it includes but because of what it leaves out. Which either means the authors don't 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 Jefferson's disdain for Islam
Always Pouting
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have a really loose grasp on history especially in terms of the timeline of events so I enjoy books like this that clear up the events happening at the same time in different places in the past. Also it's nice to get perspective on our relationship to other countries through our past with them and it really humanized those that came before us to read about their mistakes and successes. I really enjoy history books on less covered topics honestly. The only kind of eh thing was the authors "subt ...more
David Monroe
Jan 09, 2016 rated it did not like it
Revisionist history to fuel Islamophobia.

Islamophobia at its best. This book of American 'history' by the dumbest guy on Fox and Friends attempts to paint all 18th century Muslims as slavers and pirates. This is a blatantly dishonest attempt at revisionist history in order to put forth the lie that America has been at war with Islam since its birth. I'm so happy I was sent this in a bundle of other books by the publisher, because I'd have hated myself if I'd actually paid real money for this rac
Jan 14, 2016 rated it did not like it
Book reads on a fourth grade level, diminishing complex subjects to good versus evil, hero versus coward, and Muslim versus Christian. It's pure, propagandized historic revisionism that demonizes Muslims, ridicules diplomacy, and applauds military wonder the back cover is filled with praises from military commanders and zero real historians. Maybe the author should keep made up stories where they belong: on his show on fox news. Thomas Jefferson and pirates are two of my favorite ...more
Nov 28, 2020 rated it liked it
“America’s newfound prestige was not blinded by its own power; might and mercy could work in harmony.”

My first memory of the story of the Barbary Pirates dates back to my childhood and a visit to the chain restaurant “Captain D’s”. Back then they had comic books with their children’s menu that reflected stories of the sea. One of those comics dealt with the Barbary pirates and America’s Navy. I was entranced, and my love of history was nurtured at an early age. As coincidentally was my love for
Jennifer (JenIsNotaBookSnob)
Jan 13, 2016 rated it did not like it
I could not finish this book. I'm really glad that I borrowed this as an audiobook. If I would have read it, it may have taken me a bit longer to pick up on the overall tone. He spits out the word "Muslim" like it's poison. I could only listen to a few minutes of it before feeling rather uncomfortable. ...more
Feb 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
I don't usually write reviews, but man.

I really, REALLY wanted to like this book...the subject matter is fascinating. Unfortunately, the authors' melodramatic style and superficial approach to the events left me feeling like I was reading a book written for an elementary school's social studies shelf (or honestly, at times, a recruiting poster for the Marine Corps.)

On the plus side, it's motivated me to seek out books on this episode in American history.
Jul 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Good story, bad history.

Journalism may not be dead, but it’s on life support. It’s hard to know what to believe in; outside of the AP or Reuters, we don’t so much have news as we do commentary. Frequently everything reported is factual, BUT – not everything is reported. The omission of relevant and important information is as critical as the veracity of the reported event.

So we come to Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates, by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger. I don’t watch Fox News or I would h
Steve Whitaker
Feb 10, 2016 rated it did not like it
It was my mistake. I admit it.

I didn't recognize the author's name when I bought the book. If I had, I doubt very much I would have still purchased it. Brian Kilmeade is a Fox News television host, and unfortunately appears to fit the stereotype that comes along with that role.

The book presents a chronological overview of the First Barbary War, with very little analysis or insight. Its main feature is very thinly-disguised Islamophobia, drawing parallels between the conflict of the early 19th ce
Nov 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: military
Interesting slice of history in which, unfortunately, most Americans – well, with the exception of U.S. Marines – are unfamiliar. Understanding how the pirates from North Africa’s Barbary coast (Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Libya, fka Tripoli) operated and how their actions affected early American commerce (1785-1815) helps to explain Muslims’ contempt for the West, especially the United States. Kilmeade’s (and Yaeger’s) book is a well-written, 200-page easy read. It does a good job explaining w ...more
Mar 08, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Anna by: Joyce
Shelves: nf-history-bio
What a great story ... I remember this as a very brief mention in one of my American history classes and, of course there is the line in the Marine Anthem ... but I had never known the full extent of this remarkable story.

There are moments of pure comedy and actions that leave you shaking your head.
This story takes place over almost 40 years and over many administrations.
There are multiple failed attempts at diplomatic solutions, attempts to reduce the tribute, and continued acts of kidnapping
Nov 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Finished reading this book just hours before I started to hear about all the terrorist attacks in Paris.... if there wasn't more perfect timing to totally understand the mentality of these terrorists, this book puts things into perspective as what our founding fathers experienced in the early days of our nation the 1780s thru the early 1800s. Different players but same scenario. Hopefully our leaders or our new leaders will have either read this book or at least know the history!

Otherwise we fac
L.A. Starks
Mar 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great history of a little-understood time in American history.

Side note: one of the French Quarter (New Orleans) streets is named Decatur, for--it turns out--hero Stephen Decatur.
Jun 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
Yet another case of a Conservative commentator with a book on the best seller means that it is the inevitable gift book coming my way. Okay, I know I am going to be biased by Kilmeade, but maybe not as much as you think. Unlike his contemporaries, I think the subject of Kilmeade's books to date are very interesting and unique.

I don't remember if the Barbary Wars were taught in school. As a history buff, I knew about them, but let's be honest, it's a part of history that hardly gets covered. Also
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent, fairly quick overview of an overlooked portion of Thomas Jefferson's presidency & one of his many disagreements with John Adams. This is why the Marines have "Tripoli" mentioned in their song, but I had no idea how few actually participated in the battle. The diplomatic issues, lack of a navy, issues with Congress, & communication problems were all quickly & well explained. It was a fascinating story that never lagged nor confused me.

This would be appropriate for teens & up. There
Bill Powers
Nov 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
With his second historical book, Brian Kilmeade has proven he is a force to be reckoned with in writing American History. I highly recommend Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates for those interested in American History. Can't wait for Brian's next book! ...more
Feb 18, 2018 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one.
Mediocre pop history peppered with American nationalism and Islamophobia.

I read a lot about political leaders and a fair amount about pirates. Knowing nothing about the authors and their background, when I saw that my local library had this title, it caught my attention.

And that's how they get you.

Fortunately, they let you know what they're about right there in the introduction.

This is the story of how a new nation, saddled with war debt and desperate to establish credibility, was challenged by
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was ok
Don't let the two stars I awarded this book dissuade you, Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates was a very interesting account of the hostilities between the United States and the Barbary coast and the eventual war with Tripoli. While it held fascinating facts I was still disappointed with the one dimensional feel of the book overall and most of it had to do with how far these authors actually went to research it.

Remember in high school when the teacher would require a minimum of five source
Robert Barbantini
Nov 23, 2015 rated it liked it
A bit simplistic...almost like it was meant for young kids...but interesting. Shows, once again, how things in the past are mirrored in the present.
Jan 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
A fun read, almost reminded me of a Patrick O'Brian novel.

A very enjoyable way to learn about a lesser known episode in US history .

I was highly suspicious of the slant of the book based on the main author, and there was surely a degree of that, but I didn't think it overrode the facts.

The title perhaps over-emphasizes the role of Thomas Jefferson, but it makes a good "hook" to get people like me to read it.

I do recommend it. Don't get too carried away with reading lessons about modern Middle Ea
Tom Lange
This book really hooked me being the military history buff that I am. Not to mention being a Navy Veteran. It really is a lost section of our history that can really connect the dots to understand other events that occured in the same era and beyond. It amazes me our school system does not teach more about the events discussed. This book is a no brainer pickup if your into Military History or Early US History in any way.

Don't let the reviews from those that truly just oppose the authers views o
Scott Rhee
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, nonfiction
Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger’s second foray into historical nonfiction, “Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates” is, I’m not going to lie, a page-turner. I would be completely untruthful if I said that I wasn’t enthralled by the story, a piece of naval history of which I was not knowledgable. (This isn’t saying much, as I am not knowledgable about a lot of American history, sad to say.)

It’s a riveting tale of a young country and a new president forced to make decisions that may give the new c
Jun 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
'It rests with Congress to decide between war, tribute, and ransom as the means of re-establishing our Mediterranean Commerce.'
----Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, December 30, 1790.

He returned to Virginia in November 1789 after being away for five years. President George Washington had chosen him to be this newly created post, even though Jefferson was in Europe at the time.
As Secretary of State,(1790-1793) he would have to administer the entire government.
He stayed for Martha's wedding in
Frank Stein
Jun 29, 2019 rated it liked it
It's sloppy and a little tedious and doesn't even try to give both sides of the stories or battles, but the book is still worth reading because there's an incredible story inside it.

Beginning in 1785, dozens of Americans began to be captured each year off the "Barbary Coast," the Southern coast of the Mediterranean, which hosted four self-avowed pirate nations, Morocco, Algiers, Tunisia, and Tripoli (today's Libya). These nations subsisted off a steady diet of "tribute" paid by wealthy nations t
May 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
I didn't realize until after I read it that this was written by the brown-haired-guy-who's-not-Steve-Doocy...I never thought I'd read a book by a Fox and Friends host, but here we are. It was a quick read, and served the purpose of telling me a bit about something I really knew nothing about. I probably would have a firmer understanding had I just read a Wikipedia article, though. And it is odd that anyone could write how the slavery of the American prisoners was particularly humiliating to them ...more
Doris Jean
I do recommend this book for anyone interested in history or the military or nationhood or government. I wanted to give it a higher rating because of the importance of this subject which seems to be almost omitted from basic American history education. But I see the actual writing in this book as a good first draft, maybe it was written by more than just Kilmeade and Yaeger since there were many disconnections and missing links. Maybe too much teamwork? The characters needed more development, ma ...more
Judd Vance
Mar 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
I figure folks are going to like or hate this book based on their political affiliations and love/hate of Fox News. I have no dog in this fight as I do not watch it and vote 3rd party. This was a gift to me and I was interested in learning something about the topic. So now that that is out of the way, on to the book.
Did I learn something? Yeah. I knew next to nothing about the topic. I now understand the reference to Tripoli in the Marine's Hymn.
The writing style is probably considered "narrativ
Nov 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
I drew a lot of parallels between the past and the present while reading this. Here are one or two:

P 16 (paragraph relating argument between statesmen John Adams & Thomas Jefferson) "Adams disagreed. He believed. . . . . unless We determine to fight them forever." *We make the same arguments now that Adams & Jefferson made in 1789

Muslim pirates took prisoners, enslaving them. Barbary states demanded tribute. European nations paid. America did not and were more likely to be taken prisoner. Today,
Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
In the 1700’s and early 1800’s pirates or corsairs raided along the Barbary Coast (off what are now Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. The pirates raided merchant ships of any country that did not pay tribute to local rulers. Prisoners were held for ransom or turned over to their allies the Ottoman Empire as slaves. Before Washington was President, Jefferson and Adams were sent to London to negotiate with the Pasha of Tripoli to no avail. The Envoy told Jefferson and Adams that Islam was order ...more
Michael Economy
(Review of audiobook)

The narrator has a strong Boston accwnt and shouts at you for the entire 5 hour recording.

The book itself is well researched, but a bit overly dramticised, and the author does a lot of speculation. I would have preferred a less colorful account of events.
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As cohost of FOX & Friends, the number one rated morning program on cable television for the past nine years, Brian Kilmeade shares his unique perspective on the daily news. He has interviewed the biggest names in politics, sports and entertainment, often securing exclusive content.

Kilmeade played a large part in FOX ís coverage of September 11th, as well as coverage including reporting from war z

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