thomas_jefferson_andWe hope you can join us for tonight’s (Thursday, November 17, 2016) All Good Books club’s discussion of “Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War That Changed American History” by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger.

Remember, this is the month the group meets on the 3rd not the 2nd Thursday. We’ll meet at 7 PM in the Community of Christ Church Library (7842 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS).

You can always find a schedule of upcoming book discussions at

Below are a few possible discussion questions for this evening.

  1. What did you know before reading “Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates” and what did you learn by reading the book about the Tripoli Pirates and the Barbary Coast nations during the late 1700s and early 1800s?
  2. What is the meaning or story behind the words “From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, we fight our country’s battles in the air, on land, and sea” (quoted from the Marine Corps Hymn)?
  3. There has been both praise and criticism of the book; most centering on whether it is historically accurate or propaganda. Here’s an example, what are your thoughts?

    “…this is terrible history, not by what it includes but because of what it leaves out. Which either means the authors don’t know American history very well or are being intentionally dishonest to sell a story.  The intent seems to be to cast Jefferson as a modern Republican or Fox News pundit….They have tried to create Jefferson in their own image and it’s very convincing…as long as you don’t know actual history.

    “I wouldn’t care that much if I hadn’t read so many positive reviews about the book with people super impressed how the book is supposedly such an amazing perfect fit for our current war with Islam…see, they say, it’s always been like this and we need leaders like Jefferson. Not realizing that Jefferson was basically an atheist and anti-military. Hardly a guy who would get air time on Fox and Friends.

    “However, a lot of people don’t seem to want actual history but prefer it in their own image.” from

  4. On the flipside, here is another review; what’s your comment on this point of view?

    “Interesting slice of history in which, unfortunately, most Americans – well, with the exception of U.S. Marines – are unfamiliar. Understanding how the pirates from North Africa’s Barbary coast (Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Libya, aka Tripoli) operated and how their actions affected early American commerce (1785-1815) helps to explain Muslims’ contempt for the West, especially the United States. Kilmeade’s (and Yaeger’s) book is a well-written, 200-page easy read. It does a good job explaining why appeasement doesn’t work; more important, why it’s impossible to even negotiate with people who believe their religion justifies the plunder, enslavement and even killing of non-Muslims. Although it might have been 200 hundred years ago, the Barbary Wars serve as a clear harbinger of what radical Islamists want to impose on the West. [From the Halls of Montezuma/to the shores of Tripoli . . . ]”

  5. Which episode in the book did you find most interesting?
  6. What do you know about Thomas Jefferson’s life outside the details covered in the Kilmeade and Yaeger book?
  7. One of the most unsettling aspects covered in the book is the issue of captive sailors and slavery. What do you know about slavery in the time of Jefferson and today?
  8. Would you recommend this book to friends and other readers?