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Evan ThomasThis first book by Toll, a former financial analyst and political speechwriter, is a fluent, intelligent history of American military policy from the early 1790s, when Congress commissioned six frigates to fight the Barbary pirates, through the War of 1812. But the book's real value, and the pleasures it provides, lies in Toll's grasp of the human dimension of his subject, often obscured in the dry tomes of naval historians. The battle depictions are worthy of Patrick O'Brian.
—The New York Times