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Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy Paperback – March 17, 2008
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Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
"Six Frigates" is a comprehensive look at the founding of the American Navy, from the years shortly after the Revolutionary War. While the young nation had won its independence, the rest of the world still thought of it as a target ripe for exploitation, and the United States soon found its vulnerable merchant fleet being preyed upon, not only by the Great Powers of Europe, but even the small, piratical nations of the Barbary Coast.
The obvious solution would seem to be the creation of an armed navy, but a surprising revelation of Toll's book is just how much opposition to the idea existed amongst the country's early leadership. Fans of David McCullough's "John Adams" and "1776" will be pleased by the appearance of figures like Washington, Adams, and Jefferson, but here Toll focuses more on their political actions and philosophies than their personalities or character. The arguments over whether creating a navy only served the interests of war profiteers, or whether having one placed too much power in the central government, or might cause the government's bankruptcy, provides a fascinating perspective on the differences between the early Federalists and Jeffersonian Republicans.
Grudgingly, and in fits and starts, the federal government allowed for the creation of the book's eponymous six frigates.Read more ›
The jacket cover of this book indicates Mr. Toll was a financial analyst by trade. I hope he's given up that mundane calling, and dedicates himself to writing more exciting stories like this one. I very much look forward to his next effort.
It was very interesting to see how bureaucratic problems and commercial interests affected national policy. At time it is easy to lament about our nation's current standing with regards to these topics, however, Six Frigates gives an interesting perspective on how the past is not nearly as pristine and rosy as we'd like to imagine.
The chapters detailing specific naval military engagements are well written and I was never confused about the ships' relationship to each other throughout the battles. They are also as exciting as they are interesting. As I read this book shortly after returning from Iraq and spending the summer of 2006 driving around Baghdad concerned with the prospect of a molten copper disks being blasted through me and thinking "this is such a dirty war", I was again checked in my views on the past while reading about sailors who dealt with mind-boggling quantities of iron balls being blasted through their wooden ships. Another very interesting chapter dealt with a blockaded American port sending out mined boats in an attempt to destroy the vastly superior British naval force in what immediately brought my mind back to the game of cat/mouse with IEDs in Iraq.Read more ›
Well researched, exquisitely written, Toll engages attention from the first and comfortably navigates the reader through the philosphical, political, economic, technological and military convolutions that were the seed of the U.S. Navy. Toll chronicles key naval actions of the Quasi War, Barbary Coast, and War of 1812. But "conflict" is not reserved to "Old Ironsides" or her sisters. Toll sets the miltary stage with a thorough and insightful examination of the political and economic ebb and flow of the time, and how "civilian" matters shaped action at sea. Toll examines the political debate (Federalist v. Republican) on the notion of whether or not to establish a permanent navy and, if so, how it should be best funded and managed. Toll is also careful to juxtaposition the personalities, strategies and actions of the foreign powers of the time, Great Britain and France.
The book includes enlightening biographies of key political players and their opinions. For example, Toll puzzles over Jefferson's contradictions, writing, "...it is hardly surprising to find that Jefferson's words and deeds on the subject of seapower are dissonant. While serving as minister to France in the 1780s, [Jefferson] had argued in favor of building frigates to patrol the Mediterranean... Fifteen years later, campaigning for president at the head of the fiercely anti-navalist Republican Party, he declared himself in favor of 'such a naval force only as may protect our coasts and harbors'..." (Page 162).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A treasure of a book for people who want to know not only only about ,the building of the American Navy but also the politics that created the first Navy and the politicians... Read morePublished 1 day ago by Barbara Lampley
I am working through Toll's 3-part history of the Pacific WW2, so thought I would read this. Nice history and very interesting. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Thor Albro
This a grew history of the Navy's first six frigates and how and the men who sailed them shaped the course of the US Navy. Read morePublished 4 days ago by James B. Battles
I can honestly say that I had no real interest in reading about this era until I read the Author's (Ian W. Toll) books about the US Navy in WWII. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Amazon Customer
very good story of The USAs early Navy history, the indivduals that created, funded and embodied the fledgling American NavyPublished 6 days ago by trav s