The End of Barbary Terror: America's 1815 War against the Pirates of North Africa

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Oxford University Press, May 1, 2006 - History - 256 pages
3 Reviews
When Barbary pirates captured an obscure Yankee sailing brig off the coast of North Africa in 1812, enslaving eleven American sailors, President James Madison sent the largest American naval force ever gathered to that time, led by the heroic Commodore Stephen Decatur, to end Barbary terror once and for all. Drawing upon numerous ship logs, journals, love letters, and government documents, Frederick C. Leiner paints a vivid picture of the world of naval officers and diplomats in the early nineteenth century, as he recreates a remarkable and little known episode from the early American republic. Leiner first describes Madison's initial efforts at diplomacy, sending Mordecai Noah to negotiate. But when the ruler refused to ransom the Americans--"not for two millions of dollars"--Madison declared war and sent a fleet to North Africa. Decatur's squadron dealt quick blows to the Barbary navy, dramatically fighting and capturing two ships. Decatur then sailed to Algiers. He refused to go ashore to negotiate--indeed, he refused to negotiate on any essential point. The ruler of Algiers signed the treaty--in Decatur's words, "dictated at the mouths of our cannon"--in twenty-four hours. The United States would never pay tribute to the Barbary world again, and the captive Americans were set free. Here then is a real-life naval adventure that will thrill fans of Patrick O'Brian, a story of Islamic terrorism, white slavery, poison gas, diplomatic intrigue, and battles with pirates on the high seas.

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User Review  - Shrike58 - LibraryThing

An informative little narrative that looks at the America's second campaign against the Barbary States and how it helped to set the tone for much of Antebellum American foreign policy, cemented ... Read full review

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User Review  - juliayoung - LibraryThing

A remarkably detailed account of the war. Perhaps a bit too detailed; I had difficulty getting through some of it. There's no denying, though, that this was well-researched and that the author is very ... Read full review


The Odyssey of the Edwin
At War with Algiers
Fitting Out the Squadrons
Mediterranean Triumph
Unfinished Business
The Return
The British Bombardment and an Occular Demonstration
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About the author (2006)

Frederick C. Leiner is a lawyer and historian who lives in Baltimore, Maryland. He is the author of Millions for Defense: The Subscription Warships of 1798, which David McCullough praised as "first rate--well researched, well written, and very welcomea fascinating chapter in American naval history."

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