In an attempt to stop the legendary Barbary Pirates of North Africa from hijacking American ships, William Eaton set out in 1805 on a secret mission to overthrow the government of Tripoli. The operation was sanctioned by President Thomas Jefferson, but at the last moment he grew wary of "intermeddling" in a foreign government, and Eaton set off without national support. Short on supplies, given very little money and only a few men, Eaton's mission seemed doomed from the start. But he improbably triumphed, recruiting a band of European mercenaries in Alexandria, along with some Arab cavalry and Bedouin fighters, and leading them on a march across the Libyan Desert. The success of the event is immortalized in the Marines' Hymn, but Jefferson never allowed Eaton the fame he craved.--From publisher description.