Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates
Courtesy of Sentinel

Thinkfactory Media has acquired the rights to the bestselling book “Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War That Changed American History” with an eye to adapt the nonfiction story into a television event, Variety has learned exclusively.

Thinkfactory CEO Leslie Greif will serve as executive producer on the project. The book was penned by Fox News host Brian Kilmeade and bestselling author Don Yaeger.

“Brian and Don’s book is a riveting page-turner — a hugely significant yet little-known story in American history — that makes it ideal for an epic television event,” said Greif in a statement. “Their book illuminates the roots of America’s challenging relationship with the Muslim world that is still playing out in today’s war on terror. Its adaptation will not only be compelling, but relevant for modern audiences.”

Kilmeade added, “From the first day we began researching Thomas Jefferson’s War with Tripoli, I just new it would make a great movie or miniseries and now it’s happening. I am truly honored that a company as esteemed and successful as Thinkfactory has signed on to make it happen. Just the opportunity to work with a true patriot and pro like Leslie Greif assures me this All-American victory will be told accurately and have audiences riveted to their seats.”

The book focuses on President Thomas Jefferson’s war against pirates from North Africa’s Barbary coast, who, at the time he took office, were regularly attacking U.S. merchant ships, holding American sailors for ransom. In response, Congress built the U.S. Navy and the Marine Corps. After failed diplomacy with these four Muslim nations — Tripoli, Tunis, Algiers, and Morocco — President Jefferson decided to stand up to intimidation, sending the Navy and Marines across the Atlantic to wage a coordinated land-and-sea attack. The American heroes of this war include naval officers Edward Preble and Stephen Decatur, as well as General William Eaton, who crossed 500 miles of African desert to capture a city and for the first time raise the American flag over foreign soil. The First Barbary War (1801-05) would subsequently inspire the Marine Corps hymn, “From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, we fight our country’s battles in the air, on land and sea.”

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