Customer Reviews for

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

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2008

    A very good story told in a marginal audio recording.

    A very good story told in a recording that could have been done better. Ian Toll has written a very enjoyable and instructive account of the first six frigates built by the U.S. Navy. Laymen like myself with an interest in the Age of Sail, the Quasi-War with France, the Barbary Pirates, and the War of 1812 should enjoy it. A nice book to listen to on your way to visit USS Constitution. Mr. Toll covers bits of the political background of events, snapshots of key figures, and recounts of many of the famous actions of these frigates. He says enough about each of those topics to be interesting and to keep the story going by quickly. It can be appreciated without constant reference to a map which is very nice since most of us purchase audio books for times during which reading is impractical. The reader speaks at a good speed and is clearly understandable although some of the early chapters are read in a monotonous tone. The audio recording leaves much to be desired, however. Most of us purchase audio books for times during which reading is impractical. For me, that is exercising on the treadmill. So any issues with the recording tend to be quite a nuisance. Most of the chapters start in the middle of a track, making it clumsy to find a stopping and restarting point. The last track on each CD starts and runs for several minutes of nothing before finally switching to the next CD ¿ it distracts you into doing something and then resumes the reading on the next CD just before you could do anything. The audio level is not consistent between many tracts, requiring frequent readjustment of the volume. The first audio book I purchased had at least two bad tracks on the second CD but Barnes and Nobel did exchange it for me with one that worked. It is a great story but don¿t expect the quality of its recording to match.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2007

    When We Got Our Sea Legs

    If you are a war history buff suffering from a nagging lack of knowledge about America¿s role in the Mediterranean in the age of the Barbary Coast corsairs, the ineptitudes of elected officials, the run-up and engagement in the war of 1812, or the early history of the US Navy read this book. Add to that the evaporation of zeal in some of our early statesmen, the false confidences in heroes, the stumbling tactics of politicians and the steadfast confidence in the righteousness of a nation new to freedom, and you have a great book. So far as the Mediterranean was concerned, passing through the straits of Gibraltar took us into a strange, little known enclave of mysterious religion, piracy, bribery 'tribute' and other means of assuring safe passage for trade. Six frigates is not just about our early Navy. It uses the vessels around which to build a narrative taking us from our fledgling days as a nation to a world maritime powerhouse. It seemed that Britain had learned nothing about us during the recent war that gave us our liberty. That nation still looked upon us as colonial upstarts, not really worthy of serious concern to a country that considered itself `rulers of the waves.¿ Along came the war of 1812, where we defeated HMS capital ships, one after another, to the point where upturned British noses could no longer be pacified by starched handkerchiefs. Up turned hulls were more likely. We learned that we, too, were a nation dependent on the sea and that we had as much claim on the broad expanse of the Atlantic as did the British. On land, we were surprised that the Brits could humiliate us from Canada, pillage Washington and that they would suffer a colossal defeat outside of New Orleans. They, of course, had much more seniority in ruling the sea but that would not last. We, however, had infinitely more coastline and were an ocean and a continent away. Through it all, we prevailed and the story is enlightening. We learn much more about our early years than just about how to build a navy. We learn, stumbling at times along our way, how to build a nation.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 3, 2012

    Recommened - IF you enjoy detail about a favorite subject

    The 'Six Frigates' is both a look into Early Naval History of the United States and explains in great detail the building of a Frigate of the late 1700's. Plus the gathering of the resources in order to build a Frigate cause's one to pause and become aware of the mountains of labor needed and the tansporting of resources to the building site. Creating the Leadership and Organiization by the "New" U.S. Government to build a Navy - is a story in itself. Where does one start? The early Battles are well written and gives good account of Battle. Enjoyable read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2006

    Great Maritime History of the Early Republic

    This is a great book tracing the origins of the American Navy by focusing on the first Frigates built and launched under the new Nation's flag. After an engaging narrative describing the funding and construction of the first Frigates, the author weaves his tale through three distinct conflicts: the Quasi-War with France, the Barbary Pirates War, and finally the War of 1812, all of which were naval-centered wars. The author does a great job teaching us about John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and the nations¿s first naval heroes, such as Stephen Decatur. The book should appeal to a wide range of early American History buffs, but maritime history buffs will find it a real gem. The author includes maritime language of the era in his narrative leaving the reader to discern the meanings of words through context clues. I found this really engaging, and it reminds us of an era which has faded away leaving a vocabulary of familiar expressions to us, such as ¿Jury Rigging¿ which today means to fix something quickly with what parts you have on hand. In that era it meant to fabricate sells from available materials to create a makeshift sell in times of dire need out at sea. There are many more examples, and the best way to enjoy this book is to loose yourself in the narrative like a novel, so sit back and enjoy the waves splashing in your face and happy reading.

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    Posted June 9, 2011

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