Six Frigates

Narrated by: Stephen Lang
Length: 7 hrs and 10 mins
Categories: History, Americas
4.5 out of 5 stars (754 ratings)

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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.

Critic Reviews

"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 listeners say about Six Frigates

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

36 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Book but Abridged

This is a good historical read. Seems to be well documented and sounds like a historical novel instead of non-fiction. Would have liked an unabridged version though.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

My favorite history book. But one problem

This is my favorite history book probably because it got me restarted on reading history. The depth of the research that went into this book is outstanding. For me this has made Ian Toll my favorite history author.

But there is one problem with this book. Years ago I read this on paperback. But what that shows is how much this audio book has been abridged. There was no indication when paid a credit for the audio book that it was abridged. I expected to get an unabridged audio book. So for that reason only, I'm disappointed.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Abridged - was not happy when I realized that

lots of histirical details, good narration, kept my interest, but I dont like abridged books ... never know what theyve taken out.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Abridged

Disappointed this was an Abridged Audiobook. why do you only have the Abridged version!? ugh.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Saddened that this is an abridged version...

The book is great, the Steven Lang did an excellent job reading it, but I'm saddened that this was an abridged version... I would have enjoyed the whole thing in this format.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great review of a little know but important period

Excellent book on things of which I have been largely ignorant. Excluding all of the language describing the parts of sailing vessels that I remain hopeless in understanding, the book is a stellar review of early American political, Naval and social history as well as a detailed examination of the War of 1812. Really very impressive.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Abridged Version

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but I would've like too have listened to an unabridged version.

1 person found this helpful