High-seas misadventure, pirates, ransoms! Those may sound like the plot points of Tom Hank's latest blockbuster movie "Captain Phillips." But according to American Slaves and African Masters: Algiers and the Western Sahara, 1776-1820, American sailors have faced peril at the hands of Africans who sought to capture them since the nation's earliest days. "Sailing was one of the better paid jobs at the time, but it was really dangerous," says author Dr. Christine Sears, associate professor of history at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. "One sailor, John Foss, was captured in 1793 and released in 1796, only to have his ship pulled over by privateers another five times before making it home!"