Brian Kilmeade and his co-author Don Yaeger return with another fascinating historical narrative. Like their bestseller George Washington's Secret Six, Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates sheds light on a vitally important episode forgotten by most Americans. Only weeks after President Jefferson's 1801 inauguration, 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. That success came to an end, however, when the USS Philadelphia ran aground in Tripoli harbor and was captured. A young American sailor, Stephen Decatur, snuck into the harbor, boarded the Philadelphia, and set her on fire before escaping amid a torrent of enemy gunfire. In a second amazing story, William Eaton made a daring attack on the port city of Derna. His strategy of leading a detachment of Marines on a 500-mile trek across the desert to surprise the port worked, and an American flag was raised in victory on foreign soil for the first time.
Kilmeade and Yaeger recount these dramatic stories and their legacy that inspired the opening of the Marine Corps Hymn: “From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, we fight our country’s battles in the air, on land, and sea.”
Brian Kilmeade co-hosts Fox News Channel’s morning show Fox & Friends and hosts the nationally syndicated radio show Kilmeade & Friends. Don Yaeger has written or co-written twenty-three books. Their first book together, George Washington’s Secret Six, was a New York Times bestseller in both hardcover and paperback.
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Senior Fellow in Communications and Senior Contributor, The Daily Signal