Extended Audio Sample

Download Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy, by Ian W. Toll Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1,152 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ian W. Toll Narrator: Stephen Lang Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2006 ISBN: 9780743565295
Regular Price: $17.95 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $12.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

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." Download and start listening now!

BK_SANS_000766

Quotes & Awards

  • “Toll provides perspective by seamlessly incorporating the era's political and diplomatic history into his superlative single-volume narrative—a must-read for fans of naval history and the early American Republic.” 

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Not confined to sea battles, Toll’s history of the U.S. Navy’s formative decades… rounds out affairs by anchoring the nascent navy to its financial supports…Toll makes an impressive debut.”

    Booklist

  • “As we hear of how USS Constitution earned her nickname of ‘Old Ironsides’ and the audacity of the raiders led by Lt. Stephen Decatur to burn USS Philadelphia in Tripoli, we are treated to Lang’s smooth baritone, subtle expression, and seemingly effortless delivery.” 

    AudioFile

  • “A welcome contribution to the small library of early American naval history, deserving a place alongside one of the last such books—by a pre-presidential Theodore Roosevelt.” 

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Winner of the 2007 Colby Award

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brian | 2/20/2014

    " This book tries to seeks to cover three areas of American naval history in its earliest period. It covers the very beginning which includes the debates on whether or not to build vessels and what type they should be. This book seeks to tell an overview of the three parts of the story without going into exhausting detail on anyone part. The debates between the federalists and the republicans are legendary and while not captured fully here enough of the story is told. The second section is dedicated to the fighting on the shores of Tripoli. This tales covers the time from the destruction of the Philadelphia through the heroic efforts to keep the marauders at bay. The final section of the book is dedicated to the War of 1812 and truly shows how Jefferson's party had no idea what to do with a navy. Their ignorance was truly shocking and the war was misconduct from the start. The book reminds us of the victories that were occurring on the sea and make the War of 1812 a little less bleak. That being said we were hopelessly outmatched by British sea power and this book captures it well. Highly enjoyable read for those who want to see the early history of the United States from the perspective of the navy. This is a great addition to the literature. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 danny | 2/18/2014

    " A wonderfully readable book on maritime/US naval history. A primer on the political scene during America's formative years as well as a masterful retelling of America's rousing naval victories at the commencement of the War of 1812. If you have an appreciation for Patrick O'Brian's prose, you will love this book. In fact, author Ian Toll excerpts O'Brian's "The Fortune of War" to describe the USS Constitution's sinking of the HMS Java. You'll feel right at home... Good, good, good stuff. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Darren | 2/8/2014

    " Great book on the founding of the US Navy and the political world of our country in its begining. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John | 2/7/2014

    " Interesting history of the early US Navy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jerry Landry | 1/28/2014

    " An impressive attempt at detailing the founding and early days of the US Navy up to 1815 and the end of the War of 1812, Toll's Six Frigates is a book that I would recommend to novices (such as myself) in naval history. While it did take me some time to get through this book due to my lack of prior knowledge of naval history/terminology, I think that Toll did a good job at making the story of the beginning of our navy accessible to the average reader. The only reason that this book did not earn five stars is some glaring historical inaccuracies at the beginning of the book (for example, on page 70, he refers to Secretary of State Thomas Pickering instead of the correct Timothy Pickering). With a little more editing, this book would have ranked five stars in my estimation. As it is, it has fueled my interest in American naval history and in such historical figures as Edward Preble, Stephen Decatur, and William Bainbridge. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Randall | 1/13/2014

    " Real history. Read this and you will understand the commerce of our foundling republic, the Barbary Wars, and the rise in the power of the executive branch. Even if you have no interest in the Navy, you must read this to understand our country. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alan | 1/2/2014

    " This is the sort of project to which every history geek with a writing fantasy aspires. The author's love of the subject comes through every chapter and he tells a good story. The book is well-researched, but is as exciting a read as any Patrick O'Brien novel. Toll mixes the technical aspects of naval science and engineering with the human and cultural details that keeps everything interesting. The book begins just after the US achieves independence from Great Britain and follows the acrimonious debate over whether to build a naval force to protect against the rising danger from France and Britain's ongoing conflict. It details the disputes with the Barbary powers of North Africa and finishes with the War of 1812 and its aftermath. This is a great popular history "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Becky Napoleon | 12/31/2013

    " I added this to my list in Steve's honor :D FRIIIIIGAAAAAATESSSSSSSSSS (because I just like the word). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Harry Miktarian | 12/27/2013

    " I love seamen in a wooden boat, I love seamen who don't float, I love seamen off the shore of tripoli, I love seaman who just be. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matthew Robus | 11/8/2013

    " Well-written book about the early days and exploits of the US Navy. Turns out that many of the glorious victories against the Brits were influenced by the larger size and armament of the ships built by the US. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ed | 10/27/2013

    " Fun. Covers the oddball and contradictory personalities and politics of the beginning of the American Navy. People are people, no matter when. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Charlie | 9/28/2013

    " Excellent overview of the start of the US Navy, and the magic six frigates that changed the building of sailing warships. Fun, easy read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve | 7/11/2013

    " Excellent read on the history of the United States Navy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Richard Foy | 4/16/2013

    " Great insight into what price was paid by a 'start up' US Navy and our founding fathers "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Grant | 1/5/2013

    " If you like American History you will enjoy this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gary Graybill | 11/26/2012

    " What a great book. Brings the early days of our country and the US Navy to life in an exciting way. I highly recomend this book! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eric | 4/15/2012

    " I loved this book because it was engaging, well written, spent 20 years in the US Navy, and I live in an area that had musch to do with the beginnings of the US Navy. I really appreciate this wonderful work of history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shyam Parekh | 10/26/2011

    " A very interesting account of the origin and growth of our nation's early seafaring power. I doubt many people would now how tenuous the existence of our early Navy really was, and how many politicians wished to banish the navy altogether. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Markt5660 | 5/1/2011

    " An excellent, thorough and balanced portrayal of both political and military challenges facing the early navy. Great descriptions of the various personalities involved. It was also nice to see links between reality and fiction with references to the writings of Patrick O'Brian. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John | 3/18/2011

    " Interesting history of the early US Navy. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Becca | 2/23/2011

    " Have to wonder if Toll actually did any research, or if it's all just paraphrased from other secondary sources. Many, many factual errors, and very little primary research to back it up. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 2/12/2011

    " Excellent and very readable history of the founding of the U.S. Navy. I would give it 3.5 stars if possible. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tom | 2/7/2011

    " A great history of the early U.S. Navy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rhett | 1/10/2011

    " I really liked this book. It's a slower read, but I gained a lot of history knowledge. "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations