The 'Original Six' frigates were commissioned by the new-born US Navy at a staggering cost of nearly $700,000. Designed to be light and fast, these warships enabled America to project its power across the globe. Among the ships Mark Lardas examines is USS Constellation: the first ship to be commissioned by the United States Navy. Alongside stirring accounts of engagements during the Barbary Wars, the author explores the design and development of these frigates, explaining the shortcomings that led to their replacement by larger, heavier 44-gun models by 1800. Packed with contemporary illustrations of US frigates and their British and French rivals, this book follows the escalation of the naval 'arms race' during the 18th century.
Read an extract of American Light and Medium Frigates 1794–1836