• The Pirate Coast

  • Thomas Jefferson, The First Marines, and the Secret Mission of 1805
  • By: Richard Zacks
  • Narrated by: Raymond Todd
  • Length: 13 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 01-07-05
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.3 (3 ratings)


After Tripoli declared war on the United States in 1801, Barbary pirates captured 300 U.S. sailors and marines. President Jefferson sent navy squadrons to the Mediterranean, but he also authorized a secret mission to overthrow the government of Tripoli. He chose an unlikely diplomat, William Eaton, to lead the mission, but before Eaton departed, Jefferson grew wary of the affair and withdrew his support. Astoundingly, Eaton persevered, gathering a ragtag army, including eight U.S. Marines, and leading them on a brutal march across 500 miles of desert. After surviving sandstorms, treachery, and near death from thirst, Eaton achieved a remarkable victory on "the shores of Tripoli", as commemorated in the Marine Corps Hymn. His triumph gained freedom for the American hostages and newfound respect for the young United States, but for Eaton, the aftermath wasn't sweet. When he dared to reveal that the president had abandoned him, Jefferson set out to crush him.
©2005 Richard Zacks (P)2005 Blackstone Audiobooks
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Critic reviews

"Zacks has researched thoroughly, writes entertainingly, and shows a knack for sea stories and characterization. This is the book that Captain Eaton has long deserved." ( Publishers Weekly)
"Zacks does an expert job of explaining the diplomacy and machinations of the U.S. government....Where Zacks excels is in his research, quipping asides, and loving grasp of the subject" ( Kirkus Reviews)
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Regular price: £22.39

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Ali on 23-12-12

Very interesting book, some narration problems

I found this book very interstin and Richard Zacks clearly has heavily resaerched the diaries letters and documents of the people involved which provided a great deal of insight into a barely covered period. A slight flaw is that Zacks has a tendency to over amplify the importance of the events impact which is apparent when you realise he is talking about the actions of a US Navy that is in its entirity smaller then then fleets that fought at the contemporary Battle of Trafalgar or a rebellin that relied on a doxen US marines at the same time as Napoleon was leading the Grande Armee to Austerlitz.

In truth the only real problem is that Raymond Todd the narrator does not know how to pronounce topgallant, forecastle, boatswain or cockswain in the correct navel way, instead he simply reads the word as it is written, ordinarily this would be a minor point but in a book so heavily concerend with ships and naval warfare it becomes very distracting and prevented this good book being 5* to me.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Stewart Kennedy on 12-08-05


I am a huge fan of the Patrick O'Brian novels and have been looking for authors that write about that time period fiction or non fiction. This book hit the mark. It is well researched and well written. The authors meticulous research and writing style will lend itself well to educating future generations. He brings the story alive! The narrator is not the best (he is actually hard to listen to) but after you get into the story you do not notice or care.

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12 of 12 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Eric on 31-07-07


Unbelievable detail. Those who love history will thoroughly enjoy this book. You come to know the main character of this non-fiction in vivid detail. The stories of courage and patriotism during the birth of our nation is refreshing.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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