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Six Frigates | [Ian W. Toll]

Six Frigates

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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 the USS Constitution and HMS Guerriere "raised the United States in one half hour to the rank of a first class power in the world."

©2006 Ian W. Toll; (P)2006 Simon and Schuster Inc. All rights reserved.

What the Critics Say

"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." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (150 )
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4.3 (67 )
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  •  
    George Carpenter III Indiana USA! 09-11-08
    George Carpenter III Indiana USA! 09-11-08 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "BE ADVISED THIS BOOK IS ABRIDGED"

    The printed copy of this book was recommended to me by a friend. It was an excellent book to hear, but I fear that important portions may have been omitted in the process. I will pay more attention next time to see that I purchase only UNabridged books. Still a good listen full of historical data.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Danny Tucson, AZ 12-01-06
    Danny Tucson, AZ 12-01-06 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    23
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    "Excellent"

    If you enjoyed John Adams and 1776 (not the same author, but similar in genre), you'll love Six Frigates. As is usually the case with this type of book, I feel the need to listen a second time to catch the details I missed, but it will be as pleasant the second time as it was the first. Great book, well read and it gave me tidbits to share at my next get-together with friends.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Howard Winston-Salem, NC, USA 12-10-06
    Howard Winston-Salem, NC, USA 12-10-06 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "A"

    Six Frigates tells the story of the early years of the American Navy focused primarily on its first six "Heavy Frigates." We learn of the politics surrounding the debate over whether a navy was truely needed as well as its equiping and manning. Battles are described in exciting detail. We come to understand the important role the little American Navy played in strengthening the nation's role in international politics.

    I found the writing clear, never dull. And the narration was clear and engaging, never losing me in a monotone dialog but also never overdiong the exciting parts.

    Who would be interested in this book? If you have enjoyed the "Master and Commander" series for its historical and naval aspects, you will find this book a marvelous companion. If you enjoy colonial and american military history as much as I, then you will probably consider this a good addition to your collection. I hope you enjoy it as much as me.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    fm2 11-13-12
    fm2 11-13-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Good Book although shaky first hour"

    The first hour is a bit dull. Made worse by the narrator--who almost seems to be falling asleep during it. But the book picks up steam as does the narrator. One does grow a tiny bit tired of sea battle descriptions towards the end( not enough detail for a real military battle buff, fine for the general reader, but by the end you've heard too many)

    Good book but not a great book. Toll's later book, Pacific Crucible, of far higher caliber both in writing quality and in depth of vision/themes

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dwight Bradford, RI, United States 04-30-12
    Dwight Bradford, RI, United States 04-30-12
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    "Earliy years U. S. Navy"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes for the historical learning


    Have you listened to any of Stephen Lang’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Have Not listened to any other of S. Lang's


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    Am new reader so my comments do not reflect that of others who have read more via this method to really contribute

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Bellefonte, PA, USA 11-18-08
    Robert Bellefonte, PA, USA 11-18-08
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    "Bring US Naval History to Life"

    I found "Six Frigates" extremely enjoyable and accurate. Carefully placed and dramatic details create a historically believable atmosphere and characters. Relying heavily on first person accounts the early history of the US Navy is brought to life in a factual and unromantic fashion that is refreshing to the ears of any history buff.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KMB Consumer 08-10-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Two thumbs up!"

    This is a very good history of the first navy of the United States, and of how important having a naval force was to the success in the revolutionary period. I recommend this book to anyone interested in American history, naval history, or who just enjoys a good book. The narration is very good also.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rodney James Stuart Portugal 05-26-07
    Rodney James Stuart Portugal 05-26-07 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent read"

    Well worth reading.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Jones Lancaster, PA United States 04-29-07
    Andrew Jones Lancaster, PA United States 04-29-07 Listener Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Great listen"

    Though abridged, this book on tape was fantastic! The story was very well told and gripping for the entire 5 hours of audio. I ran out and purchased the book once I finished it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jerry Charleston, SC, United States 12-26-12
    Jerry Charleston, SC, United States 12-26-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Great insight of the maturation of our country."
    If you could sum up Six Frigates in three words, what would they be?

    Engaging
    Informative
    Insightful


    What other book might you compare Six Frigates to and why?

    Undaunted Courage. A review of our country as it struggled to become a world leader.


    What about Stephen Lang’s performance did you like?

    Engaging


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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