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Starred Review. Toll, a former financial analyst and political speechwriter, makes an auspicious debut with this rousing, exhaustively researched history of the founding of the U.S. Navy. The author chronicles the late 18th- and early 19th-century process of building a fleet that could project American power beyond her shores. The ragtag Continental Navy created during the Revolution was promptly dismantled after the war, and it wasn't until 1794—in the face of threats to U.S. shipping from England, France and the Barbary states of North Africa—that Congress authorized the construction of six frigates and laid the foundation for a permanent navy. A cabinet-level Department of the Navy followed in 1798. The fledgling navy quickly proved its worth in the Quasi War against France in the Caribbean, the Tripolitan War with Tripoli and the War of 1812 against the English. In holding its own against the British, the U.S. fleet broke the British navy's "sacred spell of invincibility," sparked a "new enthusiasm for naval power" in the U.S. and marked the maturation of the American navy. Toll provides perspective by seamlessly incorporating the era's political and diplomatic history into his superlative single-volume narrative—a must-read for fans of naval history and the early American Republic. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Not confined to sea battles, Toll's history of the U.S. Navy's formative decades, from the mid-1790s to the War of 1812, rounds out affairs by anchoring the nascent navy to its financial supports. Navies are not inexpensive, and the costs of building and maintaining ships appear lightly but persistently in Toll's narrative. It centers on the first vessels purpose-built for the navy, the half-dozen frigates of which the USSConstitution moored in Boston today is the last survivor. Besides money, their construction involved politics; the Federalists favored the naval program (creating the Department of the Navy in 1798), while Jefferson's parsimonious Republicans were more diffident. Toll is as insightful about the essential domestic and diplomatic background as he is with his dramatizations of the naval engagements of the new navy, which produced a crop of national heroes such as Stephen Decatur. The maritime strategy and the highly developed sense of officers' honor, which influenced where particular battles occurred, emerge clearly in this fluent account. Vibrant and comprehensive, Toll makes an impressive debut. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Toll belongs to the small group of historians who write for a popular audience without dumbing down the quality of their analysis. Read morePublished 14 hours ago by Peter Passell
Despite knowing nothing about boats or ships of any kind, or the navy, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Read morePublished 15 hours ago by Karen M. Warren
I really enjoyed this book. it was a well written history of the Navy with quite a few facts I had not seen in other sources on the subject.Published 16 hours ago by Hador_NYC
Well written, compelling story of the start of the US Navy. Lots of nautical and anachronistic terms to look up. Read morePublished 5 days ago by James Gelb
Such a great read. I really enjoyed reading the little known details that made these historic heroes human. I will buy the hard copy for my library.Published 8 days ago by Grammy
This is too hard to do. Why more words. More words do not make for a better review of the bookPublished 9 days ago by Ed Holsten
Excellent book . It would be more helpful if the Author had defined and explained the numerous nautical terms in the book .Published 13 days ago by Paul Gertz