A dramatic retelling of America's first war on terrorism, this book is a thriller, set in the age of Napoleon and the waning days of white Christian slavery in North Africa that returns a forgotten American to the limelight.
This is a dramatic retelling of America's first war on terrorism. It is an authentic thriller, set in the age of Napoleon and the waning days of white Christian slavery in North Africa that returns a forgotten American to the limelight. During the age of Napoleon and Lord Nelson, there was an American sideshow - a covert operation sanctioned by Thomas Jefferson - to try to help stop the Barbary pirates of North Africa, who were hijacking American ships and selling the passengers into slavery. Jefferson gave the green light to instigate the operation to an American now largely forgotten: an American named William Eaton. Eaton, a disastrous appointment and a diplomatic embarrassment whose incompetence had been matched only by his ability to accrue personal debt, saw the mission as a last chance to salvage political honour. He would wrest control of Tripoli - the land base of the Barbary pirates - from its government, defying the pirates in the process and ending humiliating tribute payments levied by the North Africans on the embarrassed US.
At the last moment, Jefferson grew wary of “intermeddling in a foreign government” and sent Eaton off without money, troops, supplies, letters of recommendation or even clear orders. Against inordinate odds, Eaton recruited a band of European mercenaries in Alexandria and led them along with some Arab cavalry and Bedouin fighters on a march across the Libyan Desert to capture the second largest city of Tripoli, only to be subverted when Jefferson arranged a negotiated peace.
is a graduate of the Columbia Journalism School who writes columns for The Village Voice, Time, The Times and Life magazine.