Monday, February 24, 2014

The Week in Books

I finished listening to the unabridged version of The Pirate Coast, Thomas Jefferson, the First Marines, and the Secret Mission of 1805 about the Barbary Pirates.  Apparently, early on in our nation's story, the Barbary Pirates would extract tribute from nations in exchange for not attacking their ships.  We actually fought a war with them over this.  

While all this was going on, the US engaged in a covert campaign to replace the current leader of Tripoli with his brother, Hamet.  The person Jefferson put in charge of this operation was a guy by the name of Captain William Eaton.  He was headstrong, opinionated, and never seemed to ever compromise, ever.  

He was also an alcoholic and gambling addict.

The story of his trek through the desert with Hamet alone is worth reading the book.

It's a long slog and (dare I say it) fairly boring much of the time, but if you're into this kind of thing, it's worth pressing onwards and getting through it.  I found the story of the US's first covert campaign to replace a head of state pretty much fascinating.  I'm not a huge fan of Eaton, but if nothing else, the story shows how our government managed to play both sides of an issue even within the first generation of its founding.

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