Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates:
The Forgotten War That Changed American History

“Thomas Jefferson. Pirates. And national security. This is how you make history exciting. I dare you to put this book down.”
— Brad Meltzer, bestselling author of The President’s Shadow

Brian Kilmeade – cohost of “Fox & Friends” on Fox News and the national radio show “Kilmeade & Friends” – returns with another fascinating historical narrative, co-written with Don Yaeger. Like their acclaimed bestseller George Washington's Secret Six, Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates sheds new light on a vitally important episode that has been forgotten by most Americans.

Only weeks after President Jefferson's inauguration in 1801, he decided to confront the Tripoli pirates who had been kidnapping American ships and sailors, among other outrageous acts. Though inclined toward diplomacy, Jefferson sent warships to blockade Tripoli and protect American shipping, and then escalated to all-out war against the Barbary states.

The tiny American flotilla—with three frigates representing half of the U.S. Navy’s top-of-the-line ships—had some success in blockading the Barbary coast. But that success came to an end when the USS Philadelphia ran aground in Tripoli harbor and was captured. Kilmeade and Yaeger recount the dramatic story of a young American sailor, Stephen Decatur, who snuck into the harbor, boarded the Philadelphia, and set her on fire before escaping amid a torrent of enemy gunfire.

Another amazing story is that of William Eaton’s daring attack on the port city of Derna. He led a detachment of Marines on a 500-mile trek across the desert to surprise the port. His strategy worked, and an American flag was raised in victory on foreign soil for the first time.  

 


Praise for Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates

“Reads like a fast-paced thriller but is actually a thoughtful account of America’s first foray into what has become a complex part of the world.”
— General Stanley McChrystal (Ret.), author of Team of Teams

"A riveting book of history that reads as though it were ripped from today's headlines, and a must read for anyone seeking an understanding of the roots of US foreign policy."
— Admiral James Stavridis (Ret.), former Supreme Allied Commander at NATO, Dean of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University

“This is a well-told tale, and there are lessons aplenty about both diplomacy and warfare—with useful application to the challenges the United States faces in our own time.”
— Prof. Larry J. Sabato, director of the U.Va. Center for Politics, author of The Kennedy Half-Century

“Well-written, nicely paced, and well-documented. I thoroughly enjoyed this must-read that brings to life a critical period in our nation’s history and shows the importance of a Navy in our nation’s security.”
— Kirk S. Lippold, former Commander of the USS Cole, author of Front Burner:  Al Qaeda’s Attack on the USS Cole

"No one captures the danger, intrigue, and drama of the American Revolution and its aftermath like Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger.”
— Brad Thor, bestselling author of Code of Conduct

" A colorful, exciting, and historic account of an overlooked portion of American military history, and a wonderful tribute to the brave sailors and marines who set a high standard for US maritime operations."
-- General Jack Keane (Ret.), Chairman of the Institute for the Study of War

“A fascinating story of extraordinary courage and resolve, and a brilliant reminder of an early chapter of our country’s remarkable history.”
-- Donald Rumsfeld

“As a Navy SEAL you witness great acts of courage every day, but it’s easy to forget that the Navy and Marines have been kicking ass right from their inception more than 200 years ago. Count on Kilmeade and Yaeger to remind us of it with this swashbuckling adventure.”
--Marcus Luttrell, former Navy SEAL, author of Lone Survivor and Service

“If you want to understand the deep historic roots of the 9/11 attacks and what it will take to win the war against today's jihadists, you must read this book.”
--r. Sebastian Gorka, Horner Chair of Military Theory at USMC University, Quantic