For nearly 200 years, the Barbary pirates had haunted the Mediterranean, enslaving tens of thousands of Europeans and extorting millions of dollars from their countries in a mercenary holy war against Christendom. Sailing in sleek corsairs built for speed and plunder, the Barbary pirates attacked European and American merchant shipping with impunity, triumphing as much by terror as force of arms.
The author traces the events leading to Jefferson's belief that peace with the Barbary States and respect from Europe could be achieved only through the "medium of war".
©2003 Joseph Wheelan; (P)2005 Blackstone Audiobooks
The writing is frustratingly confusing and meandering at times. But the story is fascinating, especially if you're at all interested in the early history of the American navy.
Although, this was a good story, and is certainly an overlooked event in the history of the U.S. Especially the birth of the U.S. Navy. The telling is devoid of emotional impact. Often the audiobook feels like a bland recitation of the facts. As the other reviewer points out the author uses the subject of Arab terrorism as a way to bring relevancy to the story, but then fall short in the actual telling. I would reccomend Charlie's War as a better book for History buffs.
If you can get past the overblown introduction making the expected but utterly meaningless connection between the Barbary Wars and the current "War on Terror," this could be a decent summary of an event in American history that deserves more attention than it gets. Unfortunately, the reader (I'm assuming it's the reader's fault) is quite bad. His monotone is hard enough to deal with, but compounding that is his painful butchery of Arabic names and terms. Even for someone who knows just a little Arabic, there were parts of the book that were almost unlistenable because words and names were so badly mangled.
This book was just OK, and probably only worth it for hardcore history buffs. I found it hard to get through, even though the events should have made for an interesting book. Not sure how much to blame the reader vs. the author, but it was not in the same league with many of the other authors I have tried.
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