Six Frigates: How Piracy, War and British Supremacy at Sea Gave Birth to the World's Most Powerful Navy

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9780141014562: Six Frigates: How Piracy, War and British Supremacy at Sea Gave Birth to the World's Most Powerful Navy

How "a handful of bastards and outlaws fighting under a piece of striped bunting" humbled the omnipotent British Navy.

Before the ink was dry on the U.S. Constitution, the establishment of a permanent military had become the most divisive issue facing the new government. Would a standing army be the thin end of dictatorship? Would a navy protect American commerce against the Mediterranean pirates, or drain the treasury and provoke hostilities with the great powers? The founders—particularly Jefferson, Madison, and Adams—debated these questions fiercely and switched sides more than once. How much of a navy would suffice? Britain alone had hundreds of powerful warships.

From the decision to build six heavy frigates, through the cliffhanger campaign against Tripoli, to the war that shook the world in 1812, Ian W. Toll tells this grand tale with the political insight of Founding Brothers and a narrative flair worthy of Patrick O'Brian. According to Henry Adams, the 1812 encounter between USS Constitution and HMS Guerriere "raised the United States in one half hour to the rank of a first class power in the world." 16 pages of illustrations; 8 pages of color.

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About the Author:

Ian W. Toll has been a Wall Street analyst, a Federal Reserve financial analyst, and a political aide and speechwriter. Six Frigates is his first book. He lives with his wife in San Francisco.

From AudioFile:

The birth of the U.S. Navy and its coming-of-age in battle against the French, the Barabary/Tripolitan pirates, and the British are recounted in this work. In the 1790s, a new navy was built around six new frigates that incorporated numerous technological innovations. These ships, along with their leaders and crews, cemented many of the traditions of our naval service. Stephen Lang effortlessly displays the qualities that make him a popular narrator. Foremost is his consistency. As we hear of how USS Constitution earned her nickname of "Old Ironsides" and the audacity of the raiders led by Lt. Stephen Decatur to burn USS Philadelphia in Tripoli, we are treated to Lang's smooth baritone, subtle expression, and seemingly effortless delivery. M.T.F. © AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

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