Book Review: Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates, by Brian Kilmeade & Don Yaeger


Click the image above or the following link to view and purchase Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates by Brian Kilmeade

I love to read and intend to publish a brief blog article about any book I complete that is worth recommending. I tend to gravitate towards personal and business development books for some strange (and nerdy) reason, but lately have had a renewed interest in reading books about American history and the ideals upon which The United States of America was founded.

This particular book by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger is one I can wholeheartedly recommend to anyone with a curious interest in learning about what I would consider a lesser known "war" in America's infancy; shortly after her establishment. In the late 1700s and early 1800s, American passenger and merchant vessels were increasingly being targeted and terrorized by pirates from North African countries; the Barbary States. 

The majority of the action and subject matter for this book takes place, not off the east coast of America, but rather in the waters off of southern Europe and northern Africa. The illustrated maps in the book are helpful and add more realism to the true events as they are told by the authors, and the geographic border of the nations in that time period.

It was both fascinating and disheartening to read about the real struggles faced by these early Americans and the unfortunate treatment they received after being captured by the pirates. This is not a book of in-depth details of the many tragedies of this conflict; it would have not been possible to elaborate on every point of issue. Yet enough information is shared to gain an understanding of what transpired and how important it was for America to protect it's citizens and it's budding economy and trade routes. 

While George Washington would have nobly preferred, according to the book, to not meddle with foreign affairs, nor to maintain a Navy, it became quickly apparent to Thomas Jefferson and others that showing strength on the seas and a willingness to go to war, if necessary, was important in securing the safety of America's people and in maintaining the freedoms that were so hard-fought to establish.

I think the thing that really inspires me about the series of events described by this book, is the evidence that had America not taken a stand against these pirates in the manner that they did, and had they not come out triumphant in the end, the American story as we know it today could have turned out to be a very different one. Those early years in the Country's establisment were utterly critical in the sense of creating security for the citizens while demonstrating to other world powers that we would not simply sit idly by while groups or governments sought to exercise control or coercion over our people or our economy. 

It was a keen awareness of the dangers that existed on the open seas, the social, political and economic ramifications of these dangers, and the importance of proper planning in order to mitigate future risks and, more importantly, to free those who had been captured by the barbaric pirates of the Barbary Coast. 

The bravery and wisdom demonstrated by many involved in this unique conflict is to be admired and respected. While others who could have made a strong impact and contribution will unfortunately go down in history as nothing more than selfish cowards who were not fully dedicated to the cause. This book illustrates compelling examples from both ends of that spectrum. 

The first deployment of "Marines" was also described in this war and they played a crucial role in the outcome as well. This book is a fun and educational read that feels more like an adventure novel than a piece of historical non-fiction.

I wanted to quote a few paragraphs from the end of the book because I liked them so much and feel that they help to embody what the conflict was all about.

"Individually and collectively, pressidents Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe (and future president John Quincy Adams) had come to recognize that, at times, military force was necessary to ensure national dignity and to protect the nation's interests. They had learned that in some quarters and at certain times, diplomacy alone was simply not sufficient to maintain peace. And they had learned that it was worth spending money on a military, since American lives were at stake.

Many men and women suffered in captivity before America's intervention rid the world of North African piracy, but their suffering was not in vain. After centuries of piracy along the Barbary coast, only the exercise of military strength had succeeded in ending the state-santioned practice of terror on the high seas. The lesson was not lost on America. The young nation gained from this chapter the courage to exercise its strength in the world, and it would remember that lesson in the future when other innocent lives were at stake."

I am proud to be an American and deeply grateful for the countless men and women that have worked and fought to establish, preserve and defend the incredible freedoms that we enjoy each day.

Since completing this book I've purchased copies of Kilmeade's "George Washington's Secret Six" as well as some books on the War of 1812. If you have any excellent American history books to recommend, please share them in the comment section below and I will add them to my reading list. Mahalo!

Click below or on the following link to view and purchase Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates by Brian Kilmeade

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Munro Murdock is an Entrepreneur, Athlete, Real Estate Broker, Blogger, Father, Author, World Traveler and Podcaster. He resides on West Oahu in Hawaii with his wife and three children. You can Contact Munro by email here.

Ko Olina Beach Villas Vacation Rentals Featured on Hawaii Mom Blog

aerial view of ko olina beach villas in kapolei hawaii


It was a real pleasure for our Team to have prolific writer and owner of, Gem N., to have her family come and enjoy a weekend getaway at the Beach Villas at Ko'Olina. I'm grateful that we had the chance to introduce Gem and her family to the positive aspects of vacation rentals, given it was their very first experience ever staying in one. Her article, which you can read here, does a wonderful job summarizing their experience in the beautiful Ko'Olina Resort, and helping other would-be vacation rental Guests, to know what to expect. 

Like many Guests who have yet to experience a vacation rental first-hand, and who may be more accustomed to staying in hotels and resorts, there are a lot of questions and uncertainties that can naturally arise during the process. As human beings we do have a natural tendency to gravitate towards what we know and are familiar with. We sometimes have to fight that constant pull to remain in our comfort zones. My experience has been that once someone steps out and decides to try a vacation home or condo and have a different kind of vacation adventure, they often wouldn't go back to hotels if they could help it. 

Yes, there are concerns about whether or not the "owner/manager" is legitimate and will scam you, if the the property is truly as it is shown in the photos or if it is totally misrepresented. There are many questions a Guest could have and that a Guest should ask and get the answers to, especially if it is a first-time experience. Any professional vacation rental owner or Property Manager will be accustomed to guiding a new vacation rental Guest through the process, patiently answering many questions and helping to verify and reassure the Guest of the realities the vacation rental has to offer. The majority of owners and managers are legit and trying hard to accurately represent their properties. However, it is still a good idea to vet them, read reviews, speak with them by phone…and just make sure everything "feels" right. If something seems off or perhaps too good to be true, I would advise that you take a step back and re-evaluate.

Never wire funds or send checks until you are absolutely certain you are dealing with an above-board operation. Use credit cards when you can as they do afford you additional fraud protections should something go awry. Also, purchase travel insurance in the event something prevents you from making your trip as cancellation policies on vacation homes are usually more strict than those used at hotels and resorts. 

The overall experience enjoyed by Gem and her family accurately portrays what a well setup and managed vacation home experience should  be like. Things can happen and it is not a perfect world that we live in, but even if something goes wrong during a stay, most owners and professional managers are anxious to be on top of things, to provide excellent Guest service, as there is always an opportunity for Guests to leave an online review, and positive reviews are invaluable in this business. 

For anyone who has yet to try out the vacation rental experience, I would encourage you to give it a whirl and expand your horizons. There are literally millions of potential options throughout the world, and if you find yourself headed to the sunny Hawaiian Islands, contact Amber at and she can assist you with pricing and availability at one of the beautiful vacation homes we manage.

Click here to read the full blog article on the Hawaii Mom Blog. 

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Munro Murdock is an Entrepreneur, Athlete, Real Estate Broker, Blogger, Father, Author, World Traveler and Podcaster. He resides on West Oahu in Hawaii with his wife and three children. You can Contact Munro by email here.

Ko Olina Resort Poised to Nearly Double in Size Through Proposed 514-acre Kapolei West Annexation

ko olina resort development land purchase and expansion

ko olina resort development land purchase and expansion

View of Lagoons 1 and 2 adjacent Four Seasons, Disney Aulani and Beach Villas at Ko'Olina (Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii)

When it comes to Ko'Olina Resort development plans and project updates in Kapolei on West Oahu, typically rumors and speculation long precede any formal announcement. However, this time around there was little room for that with the announcement and subsequent Honolulu Star Advertiser article (linked below), quoting master Ko'Olina developer, Jeff Stone, stating that the 514 acres of land between Ko'Olina and the Kapolei Commons shopping center would potentially be annexed into the 642-acre oceanfront resort.

The 514 acres was recently purchased from James Campbell Co. by China Oceanwide Holdings, Ltd. for a reported $103 million. China Oceanwide also acquired two oceanfront parcels in the Ko'Olina Resort on either side of the Beach Villas at Ko'Olina, with one parcel in between Disney Aulani and Beach Villas at Ko'Olina, with both Lagoon 1 and Lagoon 2 access points, and the other parcel situated between Beach Villas at Ko'Olina at Lagoon 2 and Marriott's Ko'Olina Beach Club, at Lagoon 3, with future access to these two lagoons. It is expected that approximately $3 billion would be invested in developing these two separate oceanfront locations. 

Click HERE to download and read the full article from the Honolulu Star Advertiser about Jeff Stone's announcement related to the possible Ko'Olina Resort expansion in coming years. 

If this annexation plan becomes a reality the Ko'Olina Resort would nearly double in size to 1,156 acres, and would add up to 2,500 resort residences as well as a second golf course. This expanded resort boundary could go as far as Target and the Regal Kapolei Commons Theaters in Kapolei. The 514-acre area is fittingly being called "Kapolei West" and would serve to link the existing Ko'Olina Resort, somewhat separate and distinct from central Kapolei, to the heart of the city and provide other access points to both Farrington Highway as well as Campbell Industrial Park through the additional road connections envisioned to be a part of these new phases of development.

Despite ongoing criticism over the years, both in print and online, aimed at Oahu's "Second City" of Kapolei, for its alleged lack of Second-City-ness, this burgeoning region continues to unveil surprises and unexpected announcements, each helping to bring the city one step closer to ultimately realizing that ideal. The Ka Makana Ali'i Mall had it's grand opening in Kapolei Oct. 21, 2016 and is now recognized as the third largest shopping center in the Hawaiian Islands.

Kapolei Lofts have added significantly to the housing inventory in central Kapolei. C.S. Wo & Sons opened a 60,000 square foot retail location in October 2016, home to HomeWorld, SlumberWorld, Red Knot and Ashley Homestore. 24-Hour Fitness has built a large facility next to the new mall, as have Hampton Inn & Suites, by Hilton. Embassy Suites Kapolei, also by Hilton, is under construction as of November 2016, next to Kapolei Lofts. Entertainment has come to Kapolei in an even bigger way in 2016 with the grand opening of the Regal 12 Kapolei Commons theater as well as Consolidated Theaters' Olino entertainment complex as part of the Ka Makana Alii mall project. I could go on and on as this doesn't even include the many restaurants and shops added to the Kapolei area and the Ko'Olina Resort in 2016 alone. Not to mention the rail transit hub, UH West Oahu and so much more!

I think it is safe to say at this point: "The Second City, it is here…and it is only going to continue to grow!"

Click HERE to download and read the full article from the Honolulu Star Advertiser about Jeff Stone's announcement related to the possible Ko'Olina Resort expansion in coming years. 

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Munro Murdock is an Entrepreneur, Athlete, Real Estate Broker, Blogger, Father, Author, World Traveler and Podcaster. He resides on West Oahu in Hawaii with his wife and three children. You can Contact Munro by email here.