"A fluent, intelligent history...give[s] the reader a feel for the human quirks and harsh demands of life at sea."" New York Times Book ReviewBefore the ink was dry on the U.S. Constitution, the establishment of a permanent military became the most divisive issue facing the new government. The founders" particularly Jefferson, Madison, and Adams" debated fiercely. Would a standing army be the thin end of dictatorship? Would a navy protect from pirates or drain the treasury and provoke hostility? Britain alone had hundreds of powerful warships.
From the decision to build six heavy frigates, through the cliff-hanger campaign against Tripoli, to the war that shook the world in 1812, Ian W. Toll tells this grand tale with the political insight of Founding Brothers and the narrative flair of Patrick O'Brian.
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Ian W. Toll is a writer and independent scholar. He is the author of three highly regarded works of American military history: Six Frigates, Pacific Crucible, and The Conquering Tide. The latter two titles are the first two volumes of a nonfiction trilogy about the Pacific War. The third and concluding volume, Twilight of the Gods: War in the Western Pacific, 1944-1945, will be published in 2018.
Six Frigates was the 2007 recipient of the Samuel Eliot Morison Award for Naval Literature, the William E. Colby Military Writers Award, and was placed on the New York Times “Editor’s Choice” list. Pacific Crucible received the Northern California Book Award for Nonfiction in 2012. The Conquering Tide was a New York Times bestseller and was also selected for that newspaper's “Editor’s Choice” list.
Toll has been widely published in newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Naval History. He is a regular reviewer for the New York Times Review of Books. His books on the Pacific War have been translated into Japanese and published in that country by the publishing house Bungeishunjū, and are being translated into Chinese for publication in mainland China. Toll has spoken at venues and institutions throughout the United States, including the Pentagon, the U.S. Treasury Department, the Naval Observatory (official residence of the vice president), the the U.S. Naval War College, and the U.S. Naval Academy. Toll has also been interviewed on many national and local television and radio programs, including NPR’s Diane Rehm Show, WAMC’s Roundtable, CSPAN’s Book TV, and innumerable commercial radio programs throughout the U.S.A.
Prior to beginning work on Six Frigates in 2002, Toll was a Wall Street analyst (1997-2001), a Federal Reserve financial analyst (1995-1997), and a political aide and speechwriter (1989-1993).
Toll received an undergraduate degree (B.A.) in American History at Georgetown University (1989) and a Masters in Public Policy (M.P.P.) from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government (1995). Toll and his family live in New York City.