Hellfire in TripoliA prolific author of naval history, Hoyt wrote at least one novel of historic naval fiction. Hellfire in Tripoli (1974) is a novelization of Stephen Decatur's exploits in the first war against the Barbary Pirates. The action culminates in Decatur's daring raid to burn the captured frigate, USS Philadelphia in Tripoli harbor, an action which caused him to become the first great naval hero of the post-revolutionary American republic (a status reinforced by his taking of HMS Macedonian in the war of 1812). Along the way, Decatur woos a beautiful Sicilian countess and runs afoul of a swinish lieutenant in the Royal Navy, with whom he fights a duel. Of course, he prevails. (The historic Decatur was killed in a duel in 1820.) Hoyt makes much of the virtues of American democracy and egalitarianism. Decatur always keeps his officers and crew informed of his plans and listens to their advice. In return, he commands their undying loyalty -- although he runs a tight ship, there is never a flogging because the men obey out of regard for their young captain. A short book -- the paperback is only 150 pages -- but a good read. I recommend it to aficionados of historic naval fiction.

Description of: Hellfire in Tripoli

Author: Edwin P. Hoyt

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