Six Frigates: How Piracy, War and British Supremacy at Sea Gave Birth to the World's Most Powerful Navy

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9780141014562: Six Frigates: How Piracy, War and British Supremacy at Sea Gave Birth to the World's Most Powerful Navy

Before the ink was dry on the Constitution of the United States, the establishment of a permanent military had become the most divisive issue facing the young republic. Would a standing army be the thin end of dictatorship? Would a navy protect American commerce from the vicious depredations of the Barbary pirates, or would it drain the treasury and provoke hostilities with the great powers? How large a navy would suffice? The founders -- particularly Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison, and Adams -- debated these questions fiercely and switched sides more than once.

In 1794, President Washington signed legislation authorizing the construction of six heavy frigates. The unique combination of power, speed and tactical versatility -- smaller than a battleship and larger than a sloop -- that all navies sent on their most daring missions. It was the first great appropriation of federal money and the first demonstration of the power of the new central government, calling for the creation of entirely new domestic industries, and the extraction of natural resources from the backwoods of Maine to the uninhabited coastal islands of Georgia.

From the complicated politics of the initial decision, 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. In the words of Henry Adams, the 1812 encounter between USS Constitution and HMS Guerriere "raised the United States in one half hour to the rank of a first class power in the world."

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Product Description:

With the flash and thunder of eighteen pounders firing repeatedly, the Royal Navy came to rule the waves in the opening years of the nineteenth century. Yet just as Britain left its European neighbours too frightened to leave their shores, across the Atlantic a fledgling naval force was putting to sea. Ian Toll recounts how the nascent United States came to challenge British supremacy in the short-lived but often vicious war of 1812-15. Though they were inexperienced, outnumbered and outgunned, just six American frigates took on the might of His Majesty's navy - and Toll brilliantly describes, in hair-raising detail, some of the most thrilling actions ever fought.

About the Author:

Ian W. Toll has been a Wall Street analyst, a Federal Reserve financial analyst, and a political aide and speechwriter. Six Frigates is his first audiobook. He lives with his wife and two-year-old son in San Francisco.

Stephen Lang 's Broadway credits include Wait Until Dark, A Few Good Men, The Speed of Darkness (Tony and Outer Critics noms), and Death of A Salesman (Drama Desk nom). Among his feature films are Last Exit to Brooklyn, Tombstone, Gettysburg, and Manhunter. His television work includes, The Fugitive, Crime Story, Babe Ruth, and Death of A Salesman.

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Toll, Ian
Published by Penguin Books Ltd (2007)
ISBN 10: 0141014563 ISBN 13: 9780141014562
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Toll, Ian
Published by Penguin Books Ltd 2007-09-27 (2007)
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