Thomas Jefferson's overlooked war against pirates, the monumental career of Eisenhower, the tense Cold War between Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev, and the amazing biography of Founding Father Benjamin Franklin. The Archive is giving all of these fantastic presidential and historical books away to one lucky winner. If you're a U.S. history buff, or you just like to read exhilarating and epically true stories, this giveaway is an absolute must-enter!
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About the Prize
Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates
This is the little-known story of how a newly independent nation was challenged by four Muslim powers and what happened when America’s third president decided to stand up to intimidation.
When Thomas Jefferson became president in 1801, America faced a crisis. The new nation was deeply in debt and needed its economy to grow quickly, but its merchant ships were under attack. Pirates from North Africa’s Barbary coast routinely captured American sailors and held them as slaves, demanding ransom and tribute payments far beyond what the new country could afford.
Over the previous fifteen years, as a diplomat and then as secretary of state, Jefferson had tried to work with the Barbary states (Tripoli, Tunis, Algiers, and Morocco). Unfortunately, he found it impossible to negotiate with people who believed their religion justified the plunder and enslavement of non-Muslims. These rogue states would show no mercy—at least not while easy money could be made by extorting the Western powers. So President Jefferson decided to move beyond diplomacy. He sent the U.S. Navy’s new warships and a detachment of Marines to blockade Tripoli—launching the Barbary Wars and beginning America’s journey toward future superpower status.
Three Days in January
In Three Days in January, Bret Baier masterfully casts the period between Eisenhower’s now-prophetic farewell address on the evening of January 17, 1961, and Kennedy’s inauguration on the afternoon of January 20 as the closing act of one of modern America’s greatest leaders—during which Eisenhower urgently sought to prepare both the country and the next president for the challenges ahead.
Those three days in January 1961, Baier shows, were the culmination of a lifetime of service that took Ike from rural Kansas to West Point, to the battlefields of World War II, and finally to the Oval Office. When he left the White House, Dwight Eisenhower had done more than perhaps any other modern American to set the nation, in his words, “on our charted course toward permanent peace and human betterment.”
On January 17, Eisenhower spoke to the nation in one of the most remarkable farewell speeches in U.S. history. Ike looked to the future, warning Americans against the dangers of elevating partisanship above national interest, excessive government budgets (particularly deficit spending), the expansion of the military-industrial complex, and the creeping political power of special interests. Seeking to ready a new generation for power, Eisenhower intensely advised the forty-three-year-old Kennedy before the inauguration.
Baier also reveals how Eisenhower’s two terms changed America forever for the better, and demonstrates how today Ike offers us the model of principled leadership that polls say is so missing in politics. Three Days in January forever makes clear that Eisenhower, an often forgotten giant of U.S. history, still offers vital lessons for our own time and stands as a lasting example of political leadership at its most effective and honorable.
The Crisis Years
This bestselling history takes us into the tumultuous period from 1960 through 1963 when the Berlin Wall was built and the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis brought the United States and Soviet Union to the abyss. In this compelling narrative, author Michael Beschloss, praised by Newsweek as “the nation’s leading Presidential historian,” draws on declassified American documents and interviews with Kennedy aides and Soviet sources to reveal the inner workings of the CIA, Pentagon, White House, KGB, and politburo, and show us the complex private relationship between President John F. Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev.
Beschloss discards previous myths to show how the miscalculations and conflicting ambitions of those leaders caused a nuclear confrontation that could have killed tens of millions of people. Among the cast of characters are Robert Kennedy, Robert McNamara, Adlai Stevenson, Fidel Castro, Willy Brandt, Leonid Brezhnev, and Andrei Gromyko. The Bay of Pigs invasion, the Vienna Summit, the Berlin Crisis, and what followed are rendered with urgency and intimacy as the author puts these dangerous years in the context of world history.
In this authoritative and engrossing full-scale biography, Walter Isaacson, bestselling author of Einstein and Steve Jobs, shows how the most fascinating of America's founders helped define our national character.
Benjamin Franklin is the founding father who winks at us, the one who seems made of flesh rather than marble. In a sweeping narrative that follows Franklin’s life from Boston to Philadelphia to London and Paris and back, Walter Isaacson chronicles the adventures of the runaway apprentice who became, over the course of his eighty-four-year life, America’s best writer, inventor, media baron, scientist, diplomat, and business strategist, as well as one of its most practical and ingenious political leaders. He explores the wit behind Poor Richard’s Almanac and the wisdom behind the Declaration of Independence, the new nation’s alliance with France, the treaty that ended the Revolution, and the compromises that created a near-perfect Constitution.
In this colorful and intimate narrative, Isaacson provides the full sweep of Franklin’s amazing life, showing how he helped to forge the American national identity and why he has a particular resonance in the twenty-first century.