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Download The Pirate Coast: Thomas Jefferson, the First Marines, and the Secret Mission of 1805 Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Pirate Coast: Thomas Jefferson, the First Marines, and the Secret Mission of 1805, by Richard Zacks Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (725 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Richard Zacks Narrator: Raymond Todd Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A real-life thriller—the true story of the unheralded American who brought the Barbary Pirates to their knees

After Tripoli declared war on the United States in 1801, Barbary pirates captured three hundred US sailors and marines. President Jefferson sent out navy squadrons, 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 and leading them on a brutal march across five hundred miles of desert. After surviving sandstorms, treachery, and near death, Eaton achieved a remarkable victory on “the shores of Tripoli,” gaining freedom for the American hostages and new respect for the young United States. But as Eaton dared to reveal that the president had deserted him, Jefferson set out to crush him. Richard Zacks brings this important story of America’s first overseas covert operation to life.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Richard Zacks has produced a brilliant account of our first covert action overseas and of the great struggle between Thomas Jefferson and the colorful adventurer William Eaton who pulled it off.”

    Walter Isaacson, #1 New York Times bestselling author

  • The Pirate Coast is a thrilling and fascinating book, a historical page-turner with guts, glamour, and gore.”

    Anthony Swofford, bestselling author of Jarhead

  • “A tale of high ideals, derring-do, extraordinary courage, and victory against imposing odds.”

    New York Times

  • “Lively popular history.”

    Washington Post

  • “An amazing tale.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Zacks recounts the misadventures of Eaton (and the fledgling Marine Corps) with an enthusiastic flair…Entertaining.”

    New Yorker

  • “An excellent book.”

    Associated Press

  • “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

  • “[Has] the verve and suspense of an espionage thriller…Provides real-life thrills, including forced desert marches, byzantine plot twists and turns, and heroic triumph against long odds.”


  • “Zacks excels is in his research, quipping asides, and loving grasp of the subject.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Klundeen24 | 2/16/2014

    " History is far stranger than any fiction. Fascinating story of political and military power plays during the Jefferson administration. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Matt Sparling | 2/10/2014

    " Good book about a little known chapter in US history. Only complaint is that author is a bit too detailed and tends to spend too much time on thing that ate not particularly relevant or interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Betty Adams | 1/20/2014

    " I didn't know a lot about this period of American history and, althought I have sung the Marine Corps Hymn through the years I wasn't aware of the back story details of "the shores of Tripoli." Good read! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Damon Henrichs | 1/11/2014

    " This book was pretty good. This is an incident hardly anyone knows about, but was the inspiration for the Marine line " . . .to the shores of Tripoli". Funny how this piece of history has been largely forgotten and written out of our texts. Basically, the muslims on the Barbary Coast were pirates extorting money from the US and other western nations for tribute in exchange for being left alone by their pirates. This book is about a US boat that was captured, and how the very very early US marines mounted an expedition to go to Tripoli and put together an insurgecny army to force their release from literal slavery. Very interesting, if a little dry in the actual writing. "

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