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The Pirate Coast by Richard Zacks



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

In 1803 the American warship USS Philadelphia ran aground in Tripoli harbor, and the Barbary pirates captured three hundred U.S. sailors and marines. Faced with a hostage crisis and a war, President Thomas Jefferson made the bod decision to authorize a secret mission to overthrow the government of Tripoli. The operation leader, William Eaton, with almost no supplies or money, led a mercenary army on a death-defying march across the Sahara desert to surprise attack the enemy. Backed by the cannons of the U.S. Navy, the achieved a remarkable victory by capturing the Moslem nation’s third largest city. Eaton, the conquering hero, was poised to move on when he discovered that Jefferson had no appetite for foreign conquest.

A historic drama that still resonates today, The Pirate Coast is the story of America’s first overseas covert operation, and one of the most compelling adventures ever undertaken for love of glory and country.

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