“Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates” (2015)

Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates by Brian Kilmeade is a great book! It’s a fascinating slice of history, and a wonderful study of leadership. What it is NOT is a detailed book about Thomas Jefferson.

Kilmeade tells the story of pirates operating in the Mediterranean Sea who plagued European and American shipping for years, forcing President Thomas Jefferson to deal with the problem in the early 1800s.

It is such a great book on leadership because it talks about navy captains, diplomats, and presidents who need to deal with a situation that is much bigger than they can comfortably manage. How do they accomplish the seemingly impossible? Some of them couldn’t, which makes the successes all the more interesting.

This was a very fast read–at times the action seemed like something pulled from a movie or a TV show. The writing by Kilmeade was top notch.

Interestingly, Jefferson is not the central figure in the book, but he is easily the most famous, so I guess that explains the title.

Overall, this was a great book! I’m glad I read it.