The Pirate Coast by Richard Zacks
Thomas Jefferson, the First Marines, and the Secret Mission of 1805

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Synopsis

A real-life thriller--the true story of the unheralded American who brought the Barbary Pirates to their knees.

In an attempt to stop the legendary Barbary Pirates of North Africa from hijacking American ships, William Eaton set out on a secret mission to overthrow the government of Tripoli. The operation was sanctioned by President Thomas Jefferson, who at the last moment grew wary of "intermeddling" in a foreign government and sent Eaton off without proper national support. Short on supplies, given very little money and only a few men, Eaton and his mission seemed doomed from the start. He triumphed against all odds, recruited a band of European mercenaries in Alexandria, and led them on a march across the Libyan Desert. Once in Tripoli, the ragtag army defeated the local troops and successfully captured Derne, laying the groundwork for the demise of the Barbary Pirates. Now, Richard Zacks brings this important story of America's first overseas covert op to life.
 

About Richard Zacks

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Richard Zacks spent more than three years researching The Pirate Hunter, including months at the Public Record Office in London (where he found a pirate prisoner's long-lost diary). Zacks is the author of two previous books of unusual research: the bestselling History Laid Bare and perennial book club favorite An Underground Education. He lives in Pelham, New York.
 
Published June 1, 2005 by Hachette Books. 454 pages
Genres: History, Travel, War, Business & Economics. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Pirate Coast

Kirkus Reviews

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Kidd was no pirate, historian Zacks (History Laid Bare, not reviewed, etc.) argues in this solidly documented historical thriller, but a New York sea captain with a house, wife, and child on Wall Street, and with a special commission from King William III and other notables to hunt pirates and di...

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Kirkus Reviews

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William Eaton, brash and defiant diplomat, is dispatched to Tripoli in 1805 by Thomas Jefferson to free 300 American hostages in what became the first U.S. covert mission to overthrow a foreign nation.

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Publishers Weekly

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The leader of that motley array of mercenaries, Muslim tribesmen, Hamet's retainers and a handful of U.S. Marines was the colorful and combative William Eaton, who led them more than 500 miles across the desert to "the shores of Tripoli."

May 09 2005 | Read Full Review of The Pirate Coast: Thomas Jeff...

Publishers Weekly

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Aside from the tightly constructed plot, Zacks also wonderfully evokes the social and political life of the 17th century at land and at sea, and he takes turns at debunking and validating pirate folklore: while it appears the dead giveaway of a skull and crossbones made it a rare flag choice, Zac...

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BC Books

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While the campaign against the Barbary Pirates — which would be resolved far more satisfactorily a decade later — is now more of a footnote in history compared to what else was going on during Jefferson's administration, at the time it was the stuff of headlines, as the barbarous Musselman slaver...

Feb 28 2006 | Read Full Review of The Pirate Coast: Thomas Jeff...

BC Books

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This tale of the Pirate Coast — the Barbary Pirates, to be exact — recounts the first honest-to-gosh military conflict and covert ops on foreign soil ever pursued by the US.

Feb 28 2006 | Read Full Review of The Pirate Coast: Thomas Jeff...

The Best Reviews

In the early nineteenth century, Tripoli ruler Bashaw Yussef uses a force of pirates to terrorize the seas (nation sponsored terrorism even in early 1800s).

Jun 01 2005 | Read Full Review of The Pirate Coast: Thomas Jeff...

The Wargamer

Richard Zacks, author of The Pirate Coast, subtitles the book ‘Thomas Jefferson, the First Marines, and the Secret Mission of 1805.’ To be honest, there is just a smattering of Jefferson to be found in this book, but that’s a good thing.

Aug 23 2011 | Read Full Review of The Pirate Coast: Thomas Jeff...

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