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Jefferson's War: America's First War on Terror 1801-1805 Paperback – September 21, 2004
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About the Author
More About the Author
When I am not writing and doing research, my wife Pat and I like to hike, bird-watch, and sample North Carolina's unique barbecue restaurants. We both enjoy reading American history from all eras.
Of special interest to me is the early national era, when everything was new and undergoing severe trials. We were fortunate to have leaders during these perilous early decades who put the American people and the nation's needs before political parties and sometimes even personal ambition. And they also happened to be terrific writers, thinkers, and warriors.
Top Customer Reviews
However, the subtitle: "America's First War on Terror" is hyperbolic. This is understandable, though, since it will augment the book's sale, and there is nothing wrong with a book out there on this topic that is accessible to us laymen. Also, the heavy use of "The Terror" in the early chapters in referring to the piracy gets a little worn. On the other hand, Roger Albin's vituperative response to the book is totally over the top, since author Wheelan barely discusses September 11 in the preface, and nowhere in the text (see the index). It is left to the reader to draw direct (or indirect) parallels. The Barbary states weren't terrorists as we understand them today. Tactics of terror were used by these mercenary states, as were "liberal" justifications of their piracy through Koranic verse, but we should be careful about blurring those vile and venal potentates with the far more sophisticated and apocalyptic terrorists of al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda's global political vision is far scarier, far more dangerous, and warrants a far more unrelenting and thorough destruction than the Barbary states did.Read more ›
First the author has a lovely narrative flow that is perhaps necessarily hindered by a superabundance of names and places. This may well be the nature of the beast as there were four Barbary States, each with its own Deii, Bey, Pasha, Sultan, or Emperor let alone the other regional powers which will include many that the layman may find unfamiliar. Unless you have previously studied the Napoleonic Mediterranean, you may find it useful to keep a small cheat-sheet on your bookmark and a small map handy. However, this is not a serious hindrance to the serious reader.
More annoying is the author's tendency to "period hop." That is to say that he has decided to structure his work only in the most loose chronological format. Mostly he wants to follow people and places. At times this makes for a disjointed narrative. Additionally, and perhaps because of this, he also has a tendency to repeat himself. At times one can be grateful for the reminder, while at others it is annoying and slightly insulting.Read more ›
Wheelan gives a fine researched account of the Barbary Wars from a Military, economic and Political point of view. However, this book reads like a novel and is very fast paced. Although my primary interest is military history, I was more intruiged with the economic and political aspects of the conflict as seen from a 200 year old perspective.
The cast of characters is very interesting(with a list in the intro)as Wheelan goes into some depth to give background information on all the major players in this war. I think the book really shines and it shows in many examples how politics can otherwise ruin the best laid military plans especially with the overland expedition to Tripoli.
As for the parallel with today's conflicts, I feel they are very evident. Wheelan hits on the psycology of the Muslim mind very well, and if one looks at today's breed of terrorist, there are many similarities-unfortunately today, they are much more vicious.
The only thing I would have wished is that he could have included more illustrations. Definaltely a must read for all naval history buffs and those who love naval fiction as well.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Written within the zeitgeist of a post 9/11 America, this book commits the fallacy of equating the deeds of the past with those of the present. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Gus
Wooden ships and iron men. Honor paramount. Very interesting parallels to today.Published 6 months ago by Laxman18
Excellent book. Quick read. I kept wanting to read the next chapter. Reading this book makes you wonder what has changed in 200+ years and makes you realize that history repeats... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Entertainer
I found the beginning of the book to be more interesting than the remainder of the book. It was hard to keep interested with the way the story was told and I think it was too long... Read morePublished 10 months ago by eoz
PC beginning and end but the main portion is excellent. Everyone should read it for some understanding of the world today.Published 10 months ago by MALCOLM ARTHUR