Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy
"A fluent, intelligent history...give[s] the reader a feel for the human quirks and harsh demands of life at sea."—New York Times Book ReviewBefore the ink was dry on the U.S. Constitution, the establishment of a permanent military became the most divisive issue facing the new government. The founders—particularly Jefferson, Madison, and Adams—debated fiercely. Would a standing army be the thin end of dictatorship? Would a navy protect from pirates or drain the treasury and provoke hostility? Britain alone had hundreds of powerful warships.
From the decision to build six heavy frigates, through the cliff-hanger 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 the narrative flair of Patrick O'Brian.
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The Navy Reading List has been a great resource to lead me to good books. Six Frigates is the best I have read from the list yet. The book is a near tome in a single volume. Just under 500 pages the book is laborious to read, but a joy for all of it. The sub-title of the book does a great job to sum up this work – The Epic History of the Founding of The US Navy. The book starts out well, but really gets fun with the Tripolitan War (Barbary War). The battles in the book are much like reading a fiction – only better. The next big section is the War of 1812 with Britain. Mixed into to book are letters, accounts, speeches and scores of other sources. Next to the battles the politics were some of the most interesting to read. I don't think I can no any amount of justice in the review of this great book. I first found this book in audio version as abridged and new I had to read it from cover to cover.