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    Raiders and Rebels: The Golden Age of Piracy
    by Frank Sherry
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 September, 2000)
    list price: $23.95 -- our price: $23.95
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    Reviews (5)

    5-0 out of 5 stars An entire musuem between two covers.
    "Raiders and Rebels" heeds the advice of telling an entire story from background to climax while being kind enough to remove all the unnecessary parts.We learn about the conditions of miniscule earnings, rotten food, and brutal merchant captains that turned ordinary sailors into authority-hating pirates.We learn truth from myth without losing an ounce of the wonder that made the stories of pirates into centuries-old legends.

    Told in a linear narrative from 1692 to 1725, "Raiders and Rebels" succinctly establishes the sea settings and major players of the era and moves us along the rise and fall of piracy's golden age replete with anecdotes of captured prisoners' heads set afire, Spanish monks made to run in circles while being whipped and stabbed by the entire pirate crew, and daring escapes and defiant last stands and a famous beheading of a legend.

    In 1692, sailors were harshly treated, malnourished, minimally paid, and essentially enslaved to the boat and its profitting captain and owners.The ships themselves were evenly matched (even if outgunned) with naval warships in technology and seamanship, making rebellion possible.And the Navigation Acts dating from 1651 had forced the American colonies to trade only with England, artificially driving up prices and making fine goods a rarity in the colonies.These Acts created a huge demand and subsequent black market in the colonies for illegal goods.This was the world that sailors toiled in when the outbreak of privateering struck the maritime world.

    Privateering was the practice of one country issuing a license to a private ship to attack and plunder merchants from an enemy country.In an instant, privateers swarmed the seas, each ship promising its crew better pay than the more honest sailors would ever earn.

    But when peace was declared, these hardened privateers were essentially asked to return to their shackles and sentences aboard merchant ships.Many rebelled and turned to privateering without licenses, the lack of which made them official pirates.

    Pirates flourished, gained freedom and fame, corrupted governors, built island kingdoms in Madagascar, the Bahamas and even off the American coast, they established anarchic towns of debauchary, and threatened the burgeoning shipping industry to the point of collapse.Truly democratic, pirate societies gave the promise of freedom and power to desperate men.Heroes arose among the pirates and the pirate-hunters and Frank Sherry gives due account to both.

    Most interesting to me, however, was that piracy was not possible without atrocious conditions in the merchant business and a willing market in the Americas to deal in pirated goods.While pirates certainly committed evil acts, they were not without their root causes.A lesson that rings true today.

    A fascinating read, I found myself compulsively taking notes throughout the entire book.An excellent account of history with a touch of artistic sensitivity to keep it grounded and readable.Read. Enjoy.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Reference Book about Pirates and Piracy!
    I beg your pardon, Mr. Bruce Rex, top 500 Reviewer!Your review was well-written and accurate except for one HUGE ERROR!You commented that the pirates, Anne Bonny and Mary Read, were lesbians?!!!That, sir, is far from the truth.As the author of RAIDERS & REBELS states, Anne Bonny was the young wife of James Bonny, a n'er-do-well sailor.After a few months of marriage, she ran away to sea with the notorious but handsome Calico Jack Rackham.(Mr. Sherry states Anne had many lovers before Jack, but I wonder where he got that information.I never read anything of the sort except in fictional novels!)As for Mary Read: She had worn men's clothing most of her life, fought in the War of the Spanish Succession, and fell in LOVE with a fellow soldier!!! She and her soldier married, were discharged from the army, and ran a pub in the Nederlands before her husband died.After his death, she again donned men's clothing, went to sea on a merchantman, and eventually ended up sailing on Calico Jack's ship where she and Anne became best friends.It is believed Anne had two children by Calico Jack.And Mary was pregnant with a child of her new love (an unnamed pirate aboard Rackham's ship) when they were captured in Negril Bay off the west coast of Jamaica. Frank Sherry included an index and bibliography as well as chapter notes in his wonderful book!I recommend it for everyone.I also recommend a children's novel that has photos and accurate information about pirates including Anne Bonny and Mary Read: The Diary of a Slave Girl, Ruby Jo includes a scene about Blackbeard and his men in 1718 Charles Town, SC.Also, a must read for any age!

    5-0 out of 5 stars "Will Ye Join Us, Brother?"
    This is the single best overall book available on piracy's Golden Age.Sherry organizes his material very well, telling a straight chronological history of piracy's evolution from early buccaneers to king's privateers to outright pirates.He devotes separate chapters to the most famous captains, elucidating their personal histories and careers in a clear and concise manner-Henry Morgan, Edward Teach (Blackbeard), Edward Low, Bartholomew Roberts (Black Bart), Calico Jack Rackham (and his lesbian pirate associates, Anne Bonney and Mary Read), the ill-fated Captain Kidd, and more.He also renders a wonderful biography of Woodes Rogers, the privateer-turned-governor of Nassau, a fascinating character whose actions, perhaps more than anyone else's, most damaged the cohesion of piracy-helping it fall apart of its own accord, due to disorganization and lack of discipline and foresight.

    Sherry does not write merely about piracy as seagoing theft, but about the short-lived and surprisingly democratic "Maritime Nation."Few people realize that the "Brethren of the Coast" (as they styled themselves) were one of the earliest "countries"-and certainly the only one of their age-to institute accident and disability insurance and elected leadership, not to mention equal opportunity employment and what essentially amounted to equal-share company stock options.Sherry does an expert job of illustrating the brutality and oppression of the age, making it clear why so many sailors voluntarily joined ranks with the seafaring rebels-whose primary battle cry was not "death to all," but "Will ye join us, Brother?"

    Many myths are explored and deflated, and many others shown to have a great deal of validity.There is only one recorded instance of anyone being made to walk the plank, for instance, (even if the pirates played on that prevalent myth to their own advantage), though marooning was indeed the favored form of pirate capital punishment.

    Most importantly, Sherry does a fine job of making the reader feel what daily life was like for the pirates-and for their suffering cousins in the merchant marines and the Royal Navy-and portrays them in a sympathetic and understanding light.He doesn't soft-pedal the darker side of piracy, but he does put it into perspective.

    Equally recommended is David Cordingly's "Under the Black Flag," though Sherry's "Raiders and Rebels" is better organized and actually more thorough. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0595144128
    Sales Rank: 442748
    Subjects:  1. History    2. History - General History    3. History: World    4. Maritime History    5. Modern - 17th Century    6. Modern - 18th Century    7. World - General   


    Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life among the Pirates
    by David Cordingly
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (15 September, 1997)
    list price: $14.00 -- our price: $10.50
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    Editorial Review

    Though literature, films, and folklore have romanticized pirates as gallant seaman who hunted for treasure in exotic locales, David Cordingly, a former curator at the National Maritime Museum in England, reveals the facts behind the legends of such outlaws as Captain Kidd, Blackbeard, and Calico Jack. Even stories about buried treasure are fictitious, he says, yet still the myth remains. Though pirate captains were often sadistic villains and crews endured barbarous tortures, were constantly threatened with the possibility of death by hanging, drowning in a storm, or surviving a shipwreck on a hostile coast, pirates are still idealized. Cordingly examines why the myth of the romance of piratehood endures and why so few lived out their days in luxury on the riches they had plundered. ... Read more

    Reviews (58)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Readable Detail on Pirates, their Life and Famous Pirates
    Well written, easy read on Pirates detailing how they lived, how they formed and details of the different types depending on where they originated such as Corsairs, Buccaneers and of course Pirates. The book gives a global perspective of Pirates along the China Sea, the Barbary Coast and detailed attention on the Caribbean. The author includes a nice glossary for basic nautical terms for the landlubber but it also contains pirate terms or terminology for the period. Cordingly uses reference works from early and accurate pirate histories along with discussion on classical writers such as Daniel Defoe. Until reading this book I had not realized that Robinson Crusoe was based on a real individual marooned on a desert isle for five years. Aside from discussing the more famous Pirates such as Captain Kidd (who had the worst of luck or limited competence), Henry Morgan and Black Beard, the book references a number of lesser known along with those that commit some fantastic feats such as Mrs. Cheng who along with her husband commanded a pirate fleet in the West Indies. And of course, many countries notably England used privateers such as Drake and Hawkins to directly attacktheir enemies' ships by providing them a percentage of the take in a undeclared war.Fascinating account of how the Pirates recruited or forced men to join there ranks, along with a few infamous female pirates, and used their large numbers, sleek ships, and numerous cannon to attack or intimidate their prey. The authors discuss their hideouts, their careening of ships to clean them for speed and he challenges the Treasure Island theory of pirates burying their treasure or making individuals walk the blank. From this book it is apparent that pirates had a short, indulgent and violent life. The author brings you up to date on literature on pirates that although some contain many accuracies from actual testimonies, he points out the liberties they take with the truth such as buried treasure. In addition, he also reviews the movies that often depict pirates on large galleons not because it was true but because the size provided a Hollywood stage. As the author notes, when countries such as England set their mind and resources to it, they could fairly eradicate the pirate population. The results were often a hanging and the horrid suspension of the body upright and hanging in the harbor. A great read to learn about pirates or a wonderful vacation book to read about the romantic and wild men who were sometimescruelly violent often ending with an appropriate violent demise of their own.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Under the Black Flag & Loving It
    I really loved this book! It was so detailed and gave exclusive accounts of pirates stealing from pirates and of how they had trials, and were executed, marooned, tortured, fought in battle, and anything you could think of. Cordingly explained things so easily and in great detail that he kept you reading and wanting to know more. It was non stop action and of course some romance, but most importantly Cordingly told the facts, and not made up stories.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Fine Overview on the History of Western Piracy
    Throughout history, pirates have been the scourge of the seas. Attacking helpless ships laden with cargo while flying the infamous skull & crossbones flag is imbedded in our consciusness as cowboys with their distinctive hats riding freely on the prairie. "Under the Black Flag: The Romance & the Reality of Life among the Pirates" bridges the gap between myth & reality by describing the lives & experiences of these most despiseful but fascinating of men. David Cordingly, author of several works on maritime history, narrates in clear & simple prose the workings of a subculture which terrorized nations in a short period of time & passed on into legend. Many of the important subjects related to piracy are touched on: why some men ( & a few women ) turned to piracy; their times & the social conditions they lived in; how pirate ships looked & functioned; how pirates fought; what they wore; where they rested & refitted; how they acquired & spent their loot; how they treated victims; how they were punished by the authorities; how society saw them; how they created a system of democracy in a time of marked class divisions; & how their time ended; etc.

    Tales of the famous & infamous abound in this book. The daring & succesful Henry Morgan, who sacked prominent Spanish cities in the Caribbean & became the most successful buccaneer of all time. The theatrical & monstrous Blackbeard, who lighted incendiary objects hung from below his hat to give him a fiendish look in battle. The diabolic L'Ollonais, who cut the heart out of live victims & ate it in front of horrified prisoners & crewmen. The famous Captain Kidd, with the legends of hidden treasure & a highly publicised trial which uncovered the backdoor politics of the time. Calico Jack & his consorts Anne Bonny & Mary Read provide perhaps the strangest & most distinctive tale in these bloodstained annals. Pirates from the Orient are briefly touched on, like the unique Mrs. Cheng, who commanded thousands of pirates & dominated the China seas for a short period during the early 19th-Century. The author quotes from famous works like Exquemelin's "The Buccaneer's of America", Daniel Defoe's "A General History of Pyrates", & the logbooks of sea captains, official records, & eyewitness accounts.

    One gets the feeling of superficiality in the book, a sense that the work could have been more comprehensive. Further details could have added more depth to the chapters.

    Informative & well-written, "Under the Black Flag" is a commendable history on a livelihood of crime that thrived & peaked centuries ago. Read & understand what made these people tick & whose legacy lives on to our time. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0156005492
    Subjects:  1. Boating - General    2. Earth Sciences - Geography    3. History - General History    4. History: World    5. Maritime History    6. Pirates    7. Sailing - Narratives    8. Science    9. History / General   


    The Pirate Dictionary
    by Terry Breverton
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (04 September, 2004)
    list price: $14.95 -- our price: $10.17
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    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A unique and impressively informative linguistic study
    Left together on ships for months or years, pirates developed their own expressions which moved into common usage: just consider sea terms such as 'don't rock the boat', or 'know the ropes', to understand the impact of pirate lingo on even today's life. The words and phrases described herein offer a healthy set of insights into word origins and pirate history alike. Pirate Dictionary is a unique and impressively informative linguistic study which is recommended for Language Studies reference collections, as well as simple browsing by the non-specialist general reader with an interest in the evolution of popular English and American slang.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Helpful and Fun Title for Lovers of Pirate Lore
    "The Pirate Dictionary" is an entertaining and well-written book offering, in alphabetical order, definitions of the words and phrases we have come to know and associate with pirates. The entries launch with "Aback" and drop anchor with "Zee-Rover" (which is Dutch for "pirates," and in English is "sea-rovers"). Many of the entries are words everyone knows, but author Terry Breverton ("Black Bart Roberts: The Greatest Pirate of Them All") has managed to include enough information about them to make each entry worth reading. More illustrations would have been useful and helpful. A handy, valuable historical reference written for the general public. Recommended. ... Read more

    Isbn: 1589802438
    Sales Rank: 565364
    Subjects:  1. History    2. History - General History    3. History: World    4. Maritime History    5. Reference    6. World - General   


    The Pirates Own Book : Authentic Narratives of the Most Celebrated Sea Robbers
    by Marine Research Society
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (24 May, 1993)
    list price: $12.95 -- our price: $10.36
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    Reviews (3)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Semi-Narrative History
    After you've read a few dozen books on pirates and piracy, you start to notice that they, mostly, repeat the same stuff over and over again. There IS material in here that I have not seen in other books; however, a good portion is rewritten from Captain Charles Johnson's A General History of Pirates.

    The book is reprinted from the 1837 version and an entertaining read. It is not generally a children's book. As to the factual nature of the narratives, it's hard to say. Like several of the other pirate books I have reviewed, this one is an important part of balanced view of what piracy is really about. P-)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Classic on Piracy of all Times, and in the Seven Seas...
    "The Pirates Own Book" is written in old, Nineteenth Century English, which provides the reader with an archaic atmosphere that allows a better undestanding of the characters and their times. Its illustrations are worth mentioning because they are beautiful and imaginative engravings that have been reproduced in some of the most important works on Piracy. The book covers a wide period in History: from the Medieval Norman and Danish Sea Robbers to the cases of piracy in the first half of the Nineteenth Century. Even though, it lacks to mention the ancient Mediterranean Piracy in the times of Alexander and, later on, in the Roman Times.Something really interesting of this book is that it includes narrations of pirates from all five continents, demonstrating that piracy has existed in all the seas since Maritime Commerce was applied. The lives of some of the least known pirates, such as the Chilean Vincent Benavides and the Spanish Benito de Soto are covered in this volume. "The Pirates Own Book" is highly recommendable for all readers interested in piracy, for it is mentioned as first hand source in many works.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A good book...but beware!
    This is a good read, but you better be ready for the original 18th and 19th century language. It is authentic, and is often more disturbing than romantic (as we've come to expect of pirate books). ... Read more

    Isbn: 0486276074
    Sales Rank: 76716
    Subjects:  1. History - Military / War    2. History: American    3. Military - General    4. Pirates    5. Sailing - Narratives    6. World - General    7. Travel / Adventure   


    The Buccaneers of America
    by Alexander O. Exquemelin
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (26 February, 2000)
    list price: $10.95 -- our price: $8.76
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    Reviews (5)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Early History of the Pirates of the Caribbean
    This work by the Dutchman Alexander Exquemelin (or Esquemeling) was first published in the Netherlands in 1678 as "De Americaensche Zeerovers" and later translated into English as "The Buccaneers of America" of which this book is a reprint. Exquemelin was himself a buccaneer and claimed to have collected these tales of piracy on the high seas as an eyewitness. It has proven to be one of the only accounts of the 17th century buccaneers of the Spanish Main.Here collected for the first time were the tales of such famous (and infamous) buccanneers like Pierre LeGrand, Francis L'Ollonais, and Henry Morgan.

    The buccaneers started out fairly innocuously enough as hunters on the Spanish controlled island of Hispanola. But as they grew more numerous, they were ruthlessly persecuted by the Spanish authorities and driven onto the island of Tortuga. This treatment fuled an unparalled hatred for the Spanish and gave rise to some of the cruelest acts of violence in the history of piracy. Of the pirates discussed here, many, like the dread pirate L'Ollonais, were known for their almost unrivaled cruelty in the treatment of captives. L'Ollonais was said to have cut out the hearts of Spanish captives and eaten them to frighten the others into revealing information he wanted. Of all, Captain Henry Morgan is by far the most famous and remembered of the buccaneers. Morgan was known for his daring acts against the Spanish and for his capture and sack of Panama, then the rendezvous point for the Spanish gold fleet. Later, he went on to fame and fortune as the governor of Jamaica.

    The buccaneers passed into history with the close of the 17th century. The Golden Age of piracy was to peak in the early 18th century, by which time the older buccaneers had faded away, and with them the days when the Spanish ruled the New World. But Exquemeling's work will forever capture the spirit and adventure of these days long gone. Highly recommended.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Enthralling Tale of the Brutality of the Pirates.
    This first person account of life amoung the buccaneers stands as one of preeminate volumes on the Golden Age of Piracy.Exquemelin (sometimes spelled Esquemling) takes us aboard a pirate sloop as the pillaging, plundering and debauchery reaches ever-increasing levels of depravity.If you really want to experience what the brutal life of a pirate was truly like, then this book is a must read.Forget what you've seen in the movies.This book is a perfect introduction to historical piracy.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Pirate Reference
    I study pirates as a past time hobbie and almost all modern pirate histories use this as their source book. I have yet to find another book with actual accounts other then speculations. ... Read more

    Isbn: 048640966X
    Sales Rank: 84086
    Subjects:  1. Buccaneers    2. Caribbean & West Indies - General    3. Caribbean Area    4. Early works to 1800    5. History - General History    6. History: World    7. Maritime History    8. Pirates    9. Ships & Shipbuilding - History    10. Spanish Main    11. Transportation / Ships & Shipbuilding / History   


    A General History of Pyrates
    by Daniel Defoe, Manuel Schonhorn
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 February, 1999)
    list price: $19.95 -- our price: $13.57
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    Reviews (9)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fast fun reading
    This book contains short biographies of pirates.It was first published in 1724, but these stories read fast despite the antiquated language.The biographies focus on the most interesting parts of each pirate's life instead of dry facts.There are plenty of more "serious" facts here, but the biography goes into more detail just when the reader is getting curious.So we are told any interesting anecdotes about each pirate in the course of reading their biographies.

    For example the biography of Anne Bonny tells about her life and exploits as a pirate.But we also are treated to a description of the bedroom farce by which Anne's mother, a household servant, was discovered by the lady of the house to be having an affair with the man of the house.She caught the maid accidentally because of a prank involving spoons hidden in the bed sheets.This event doesn't take place during Anne's life.(It involves her conception, and leads into why her father left for the New World.)But really we are told about it because it is a good entertaining story.

    So this book is highly readable and entertaining despite the language.This is a good book for you if you are into pirates, history, or the adventure genre (this book is factual, but it inspired many fictions).

    4-0 out of 5 stars To clear some things up on the issue of the author...
    The original text WAS written by Captain Charles Johnson in 1724.In 1932, John Robert Moore announced that the real author was Daniel Defoe.He was so certain that he wrote a book about it (Defoe in the Pillory and Other Studies).He was so convincing that most libraries/ publishers changed the cataloging.However, in 1988, P. N. Furbank and W. R. Owens proved him wrong, also in book form (The Canonisation of Daniel Defoe), based on the fact that there wasn't a single piece of documentary evidence that Defoe wrote the book.Long story short, Johnson wrote the book, not Defoe.

    5-0 out of 5 stars To the below reviewer:
    Yes, Kevin, it was written by Captain Johnson.And Defoe.Johnson was one of Defoe's pennames.

    This book truly is the definitive work; while there is a lot of 18th century mythology sprinkled without, it's easy to pick through.Many of the characters in this book lived during Defoe's lifetime, making their stories fairly recent to his ears.It's fascinating to read about these pirates in the context in which they were presented to their contemporaries. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0486404889
    Sales Rank: 81673
    Subjects:  1. Early works to 1800    2. History    3. History - General History    4. History: American    5. Maritime History    6. Pirates    7. Ships & Shipbuilding - History    8. United States - Colonial Period   


    Captain Kidd and the War Against the Pirates
    by Robert C. Ritchie
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 March, 1989)
    list price: $18.95 -- our price: $18.95
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    Reviews (10)

    4-0 out of 5 stars A different view of Captain Kidd.
    Ritchie does an extremely able job of refocusing the story of Captain Kidd away from being a personal drama. Instead, he builds an image of the world where Kidd was one of many trying their luck at this (then) semi-legal trade. Piracy was the only place left for a sailor who loved the sea but not the navy.

    As a reader, it was interesting to see Kidd transformed from the pirate figure of legend into a semi-competent adventurer who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time in British history. Ritchie also provides a fascinating look at the 17th-18th century justice systems.

    Ritchie is less of a writer than a historian, unfortunately. There were a number of places at the beginning of the book where I felt lost as to where he was trying to go. However, as another reader notes, this improves later on in the book.

    Recommended for readers with a particular interest in pirates.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Guilty Until Proven Innocent
    A scholarly treatment of the William Kidd case and times. The author switches back and forth between presenting biographical information about Captain Kidd and an evolution of the declining use of privateers and pirates as tools of foreign policy. The writing is smooth and well thought out, providing an entertaining read.

    I found the information on the attitudes toward pirates during the late 17th and early 18th centuries interesting and chock full of little know tidbits. The biography of William Kidd was eventful and conforms with what I have read in other sources. The author takes the story from early accounts to Kidd's first appearance in the Caribbean to the arrival in New York and on through the fateful trip that sealed his fate. Ritchie uses the general information on the attitude toward pirates to reinforce the conclusion that Kidd was doomed from the moment he surrendered in New York, and to provide some insight into why Kidd did surrender.

    My one complaint revolves around the author's conclusion that Kidd was actually guilty of piracy and should have been convicted. It is not that the author reaches that conclusion, after all the evidence can point to that conclusion, however, I had the feeling from the first page that the author's intent was to prove Kidd guilty. Casting off the guise of impartial historian that early in the book has to raise the question - has the author's attitude spilled over into the data presented? That said, it is important to read multiple views to get a better understanding of the history, and I did find this book to be both entertaining and informative.

    For an alternate view of the William Kidd story try The Pirate Hunter by Richard Zacks. P-)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Was William K. a Scapegoat?!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    This is a serious biography for all history buffs. The author has expertly woven world history, specifically British history, and the Golden Age of Piracy's pirates (Blackbeard, Bartholomew Roberts, Anne Bonny, etc.)into the background of William Kidd's life. William Kidd began his illustrious career as an honest trader and ended with the financing of his ship by unscrupulous English businessmen.He began his final journey to the Indian Ocean with one mishap after another and ended it by being arrested for piracy. Did he deliberately comit acts of piracy?Or was he a scapeboat for a business deal gone bad?This is an excellent well-researched and well-written book.I have read many nonfiction historical books, and this is one of the best. It has detailed footnotes and index.I recommend any book about pirates by David Cordingsly and Frank Sherry.My son also read a children's novel that is well-researched, has pirate photos, and nonfiction information.The author is K.J. McWilliams, and the book is The Diary of a Slave Girl, Ruby Jo. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0674095022
    Sales Rank: 337705
    Subjects:  1. Biography    2. Biography/Autobiography    3. General    4. History - General History    5. Kidd, William,    6. Modern - 18th Century    7. Naval History (General)    8. New York (State)    9. Pirates    10. d. 1701   


    The Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd
    by Richard Zacks
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (June, 2002)
    list price: $25.95 -- our price: $17.13
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    Reviews (46)

    4-0 out of 5 stars More about politics, less about piracy...
    I read this book several months ago, and I liked this book very much not only because this book contained a lot of interesting anecdotes of sailors and pirates, but also because it helped me to understand British politics in late 17 century. For example, stories about man-eaters in Andaman Islands and tailed people in Nicobar Islands were fascinating enough, though I am still not sure whether there were really tailed people in Nicobar Islands in the 17th century.
    But the focus of this book is on the British politics of the times. Captain Kidd was not a pirate, but a pirate hunter or a privateer. And he was a decent man according to the standard of the times. The King of England was one of his sponsors. He was actually doing King's business. But he became a pirate quite mysteriously. His biggest mistake was that he endangered the interest of British East India Company by seizing a merchant ship of a prince of Mogul Empire. The ship was carrying a French pass, and France was at war with England. Seizing the ship was, therefore, a perfectly legal operation according to the law of the times. But the Emperor of India thought that British East India Company should be responsible for it. And the company had to compensate for it thereby setting a bad precedent.
    Captain Kidd was from Scotland, but he wanted to become an admiral of British Empire. Blinded by his ambition, he could not understand the political current of the times. So his entire life was ruined. Compassion for this unfortunate man!

    3-0 out of 5 stars Great Subject - Okay Writing
    This is a fascinating subject - what's the real story of Captain Kidd? I was so excited to get this book - and disappointed in the writing style.Mr. Zacks writing is factual, but unfortunately he jumps around and is not engaging to the reader.Read it if you must find all the details -- but for the overall story -- Stick with "Under the Black Flag", "The Pyrates" by Daniel Dafoe and "The Pirates own book".

    5-0 out of 5 stars Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction
    The Captain Kidd who comes down to us through oral tradition bears no resemblance whatsoever to the true Captain Kidd, and as is almost always the case with the mythologies of historical persons, the truth is even more fascinating than the myth.

    Richard Zacks has written a marvelous reconstruction of the rise and demise of Captain William Kidd. Zacks' depth of research and attention to detail fully immerses the reader in the period. It is the late 17th Century, the American Republic is, as yet, still two generations away. The British Empire consists only of a tentative foothold in Bombay, scurvy is still the scourge of sea travel, and ships are steered at the rudder rather than via the more familiar wheel.

    Some readers may be overwhelmed by the level of detail Zacks includes, but without this detail The Pirate Hunter would have been little more than a minor work; a hobby topic. I found Zacks' style of writing to be quick and quirky, while his construction of historical events read like an adventure novel. The reader completes The Pirate Hunter with not only a deep knowledge of the life and motivations of Captain Kidd, but also a strong understanding of this period in history.
    ... Read more

    Isbn: 0786865334
    Sales Rank: 94852
    Subjects:  1. 1701    2. Biography    3. History    4. History - General History    5. History: World    6. Kidd, William,    7. Maritime History    8. Modern - 17th Century    9. New York (State)    10. Pirates    11. Reference    12. History / Reference    13. Kidd, William    14. Biography & Autobiography    15. Adventurers & Explorers   


    Sack of Panama, The
    by PeterEarle
    Hardcover (05 March, 1982)
    list price: $16.95
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    Isbn: 0670614254
    Sales Rank: 763060
    Subjects:  1. History / General    2. Morgan, Henry   

    The Pirate Wars
    by Peter Earle
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (01 April, 2005)
    list price: $24.95 -- our price: $16.47
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    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Avast Ye Hearties! A Bold Tale for Intelligent Readers
    What a delight! A respected academic who can write with zip and zest.

    Peter Earle likes pirates to a fond degree, and he makes that clear in his entertaining introduction gently poking fun at modern writers who prefer political correctness to accuracy (Bad news, fairly few pirates were disabled lesbians of colour). From there it steps lively, shipmates, and keeps going. Nobody writes novels any more entertaining than Dr Earle's command of history.

    Most pirates began as merchant seamen or privateers, given letters of marque by governments, permitting them to ravage the shipping of the government's enemies or competitors. So they got trained at taxpayer expense then began to bite the hand that fed it. But then they had a lot of fun when they got ashore. Rather, if they got ashore, because governments spent a lot trying to get their rascals back on a leash or send them to the bottom of D Jones' Locker.

    Parenthetically, it reminds one of today's problems of terrorism, since the terrorists (like the pirates) were trained by governments to attack enemies, and only later they 'went bad.' Think of how many terrorists received US or Pakistani or Saudi training, weapons and money to help Afghans battle the Soviets. The terrorists, however, seem less endearing and less easily distracted by wine and wenching and gold doubloons. Pirates, however, captured the world's imagination from the start.

    Pirate Wars is good enough to warrant buying two copies, one to read and then lend, and one never to lend at all -- I keep mine safely locked in a sea-chest with my pieces of eight. Arrrrrr. Load the blunderbuss, Mister Hands! Hoist the mainsail! Tie that dog to the yardarm! ... Read more

    Isbn: 0312335792
    Sales Rank: 61242
    Subjects:  1. 19th century    2. Great Britain    3. History    4. History - Military / War    5. History, Naval    6. Maritime History    7. Military    8. Military - Naval    9. Pirates    10. United States    11. History / Military / Naval   


    Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea : Merchant Seamen, Pirates and the Anglo-American Maritime World, 1700-1750 (Canto original series)
    by Marcus Rediker
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (25 June, 1993)
    list price: $18.00 -- our price: $18.00
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    Reviews (6)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Sailing Socialism
    Rediker is hardly the only man to notice-though he is one of only a very few to have written on the topic at length-that the Anglo-American Maritime world of the early to mid 18th Century was a socio-political hotbed of burgeoning revolution.To criticize the author for being a Marxist is absurd-the era about which he is writing, and the sailors and specific cultural events of that era, were socialist themselves, though they wouldn't have had the insight to realize it at the time.

    Political scientists and economists should find this book of even more interest than historians, as many of the same events in the rise of Capitalism as Rediker writes about are now coming full circle and repeating themselves, with NAFTA and GATT creating the same social conditions that led to widespread-and often remarkably effective (in the case of piracy)-rebellion between 1700 and 1750.As Rediker points out, our very word "strike," in its labor union connotation, originated with merchant mariners striking sail on their ships and halting the movement of their cargoes.

    Rediker is a remarkably thorough researcher, backing his thesis with the best possible sources and representing both the Capitalist and Labor points of view from contemporaneous documents.His masterful rendering of the world of "Jack Tar," an average mariner of the age, ably demonstrates that the social upheaval witnessed during the Golden Age of Piracy was an inevitability-as was its eventual downfall.Rediker is not a Marxist apologist, as his critics claim, but a keen and competent observer of statistical trends and social events, which he elucidates with extreme precision.He is less advancing any kind of argument, than simply putting the merchant marine world of three centuries ago into clear focus, and to some degree comparing and contrasting it with our modern landscape.

    This is a truly fascinating book, as much for its brilliantly vivid portraiture of the age as for the validity of its social and economic arguments.It would make an excellent textbook for political science, economics, or sociology classes.

    2-0 out of 5 stars No Quarters given
    First off, before you even think about buying this book,understand that is a socioeconomic study of the maritime profession from 1700 to 1750.The book was written by a Marxist who has succumbed to Hollywood's romantic characterization of the Pirate as a misunderstood individual who only wanted his unalienable rights which were withheld by the running dog lackeys of the capitalist pigs who ran the shipping business and the Navy. Even if he had to murder people to get it.

    If you want a semi-legitimate justification of piracy,you may find enough here to keep you happy.Most of the study is a legitmate presentation of maritime economics and the danger of the trade in the early part of the 18th century.Yes, most ship owners and captains were capitalist pigs who would man a ship with a minimum crew and pray they lost no crew members to the many dangers that were common to shipping at that time.Not the least of which was piracy.

    His arguements begin to fall down when he describes the commraderie and equalitarian brotherhood that pervailed on board a pirate ship.He intimates that slaves captured were treated as equals.(there is documentation to indicate otherwise including the sinking of a pirate ship which the crew members escaped,but the captured slaves were allowed to drown.

    If you are reading this for the economic history of the shipping industry or for information of the quaint Naval custom of impressing their crew (both the Americans and British were known for grabbing able bodied saling men off the docks and encouraging them to join - they'd untie them when they were far enough out to sea) then this book is excellent.

    If you are looking for information on a typical sailor's life,I'd suggest "Before the Mast" in conjuntion with this.But if you are looking for real information on pirates and piracy,This book does not provide much.there is is more accurate information regarding piracy in "Under the Black Flag" with a more varied discussion of the possible causes of the choice of piracy, backed by statements taken from court records of the time.

    I would not recommend Between the Devel and the Deep Blue Sea as a history to most people as the author is attributing many modern sociological and psychological causes to historical events about which we have only in some cases, the account books for reference.

    3-0 out of 5 stars A Review
    This text is interesting and engaging, but Rediker's bias ruins the credibility of his arguments. Rediker is a Marxist historian and therefore provides an extremely slanted view of seafaring men.His thesis is centered on the seaman as a member of the working class, and his struggle to rise in a capitalist system.One example of how his bias has clouded his analysis is in his discussion of alcoholism.Rediker assumes that the resort to alcohol is caused by alienation- this draws obvious parallels to Marx's own work focussed on the alienation of the workers (200).A particularly appalling example of his bias is when Rediker discusses the cruel treatment of seaman by their masters.Rediker then asserts that "when Karl Marx noted that the modern wage labor system could not have emerged without the bloody assistance of the lash, he may well have had the early modern shipping industry in mind" (213 n19).Clearly there is no basis for this statement save his personal beliefs. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0521457203
    Sales Rank: 387188
    Subjects:  1. 18th century    2. General    3. Great Britain    4. History    5. History - General History    6. History: American    7. Merchant mariners    8. Modern - 18th Century    9. Navigation    10. North America    11. Seamanship    12. Social History    13. United States - Colonial Period    14. History / United States / Colonial Period (1600-1775)    15. Maritime history    16. USA    17. United Kingdom, Great Britain    18. c 1700 to c 1800   


    Sodomy and the Pirate Tradition: English Sea Rovers in the Seventeenth-Century Caribbean
    by Barry R. Burg
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 February, 1995)
    list price: $21.00 -- our price: $21.00
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    Reviews (16)

    3-0 out of 5 stars I simply cannot believe...
    ... that no one has mentioned Seaman Staines, Roger the Cabin Boy or Master Bates.

    For years these cartoon characters entertained children on BBC TV. Then someone pointed out that the names were, not to put too fine a point on it, obscene. Semen stains and masturbates you've probably already figured out, but 'roger' is a synonym for intercourse...

    The BBC said nothing but never showed the program again...

    2-0 out of 5 stars Dry and speculative
    While there are certainly some interesting tidbits here and there, WAY too much of the book is of the form "since no records survive to show X is false, and those records that do exist are compromised in the following ways ..., we may assume that X is true."

    Chapter One is a 40-page example of this; it can safely be skipped, as it is summarized in the first few words of Chapter Two: "Seventeenth-century Englishmen on all status levels were remarkably indulgent with homosexuality."

    Those with only a casual interest in the subject should skim Chapters Two and Three and read the last two chapters, Buccaneer Sexuality and The Buccaneer Community. These chapters hold most of what you're probably reading the book for. Here are the bits about pirates and sex. Unfortunately, they are usually only a sentence or two long. Burg uses the little stories to construct an argument, not a narrative.

    This last comment is not a criticism; he's clearly not setting out to tell a tale of high-seas adventure. (If you want this, go back to Melville.) A criticism: Burg often seems to overreach in the conclusions he draws from his sources (or lack of sources).

    What looks to be a more satisfying read is "Gay Warriors," edited by the same author. This is an anthology of original sources from Homer to the present day, on the topic of "gays in the military."

    2-0 out of 5 stars Dry and speculative
    While there are certainly some interesting tidbits here and there, WAY too much of the book is of the form "since no records survive to show X is false, and those records that do exist are compromised in the following ways ..., we may assume that X is true."

    Chapter One is a 40-page example of this; it can safely be skipped, as it is summarized in the first few words of Chapter Two: "Seventeenth-century Englishmen on all status levels were remarkably indulgent with homosexuality."

    Those with only a casual interest in the subject should skim Chapters Two and Three and read the last two chapters, Buccaneer Sexuality and The Buccaneer Community. These chapters hold most of what you're probably reading the book for. Here are the bits about pirates and sex. Unfortunately, they are usually only a sentence or two long. Burg uses the little stories to construct an argument, not a narrative.

    This last comment is not a criticism; he's clearly not setting out to tell a tale of high-seas adventure. (If you want this, go back to Melville.) A criticism: Burg often seems to overreach in the conclusions he draws from his sources (or lack of sources).

    What looks to be a more satisfying read is "Gay Warriors," edited by the same author. This is an anthology of original sources from Homer to the present day, on the topic of "gays in the military." ... Read more

    Isbn: 0814712363
    Sales Rank: 428039
    Subjects:  1. 17th century    2. Caribbean Area    3. England    4. Gay Studies    5. Gay/Lesbian Nonfiction    6. History    7. Homosexuality, Male    8. Men's Studies - Masculinity    9. Pirates    10. Sexual behavior    11. Sexuality    12. Social Science    13. Sociology   


    The Book of Pirate Treasures: Being a True History of the Gold, Jewels, and Plate of Pirates, Galleons, Etc., Which Are Sought for to This Day
    by Ralph Paine
    Paperback (01 November, 1991)
    list price: $15.00 -- our price: $12.75
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    Isbn: 0873801776
    Sales Rank: 1223649
    Subjects:  1. History: World    2. Treasure-trove   


    Buccaneers 1620-1700 (Elite Series, 69)
    by Angus Konstam, Angus McBride
    Paperback (01 June, 2000)
    list price: $16.95 -- our price: $11.53
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    Isbn: 1855329123
    Sales Rank: 622051
    Subjects:  1. History    2. History - General History    3. History: World    4. Maritime History    5. Military - General    6. Modern - 17th Century    7. Crime & criminology    8. Naval forces & warfare    9. Special & elite forces    10. c 1600 to c 1700   


    Pirates 1660-1730 (Osprey Military Elite Series, 67)
    by Angus Konstam
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 December, 1998)
    list price: $16.95 -- our price: $11.53
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    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Illustrations
    Angus Konstam creates a vivid picture of the true history, but the illustrations of Angus McBride steal the show.While the book is full of historic sketches, paintings, and cuttings it is the color plates which capture the look and feel of the "Golden Age of Pirates".The book itself does a marvelous job of debunking some of the "Hollywood Myths" about pirates, but is not quite as thorough as it could be.Konstam's "The History of Pirates" is much more comprehensive as it covers all genres and era of piracy.Overall a terrific buy for anyone interested in the real stories of pirates.The plates are very useful for costume and prop design as well.

    5-0 out of 5 stars AHOY!
    This is a great book to anyone interested on this period and in piracy.Angus Konstam's text is both concise and accurate,while Angus McBride's illustrations are certainly some of the best I have ever seen.Thebook is mostly about British pirates which should be expected,since Ospreyis from Great Britain,and British sailors were always inclined towardspiratical activities.The sections on pirate warfare and pirate codes areparticularly nice,and you get biographies on such pirates as Blackbeard andCaptain Kidd as well.The only thing I miss is a color cut-away illustrationof a pirate ship.Even though,I must say It's an A+ job from front to backcover. ... Read more

    Isbn: 1855327066
    Sales Rank: 470744
    Subjects:  1. History    2. History - General History    3. History: World    4. Military - General    5. Modern - General    6. Naval History - Modern    7. Crime & criminology    8. Irregular or guerrilla forces & warfare    9. Maritime history    10. Mutiny    11. Naval forces & warfare    12. c 1600 to c 1700    13. c 1700 to c 1800   


    Privateers & Pirates 1730-1830 (Elite, 74)
    by Angus Konstam
    Paperback (01 June, 2001)
    list price: $16.95 -- our price: $11.53
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    Isbn: 1841760161
    Sales Rank: 524849
    Subjects:  1. History    2. History - Military / War    3. History: World    4. Military - General    5. Sailing - Narratives   


    Treasure Island (Everyman's Library Children's Classics)
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (03 November, 1992)
    list price: $16.95 -- our price: $11.53
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    Editorial Review

    Climb aboard for the swashbuckling adventure of a lifetime. Treasure Islandhas enthralled (and caused slight seasickness) for decades. The names Long John Silver and Jim Hawkins are destined to remain pieces of folklore for as long as children want to read Robert Louis Stevenson's most famous book. With it's dastardly plot and motley crew of rogues and villains, it seems unlikely that children will ever say no to this timeless classic. --Naomi Gesinger ... Read more

    Reviews (196)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Treasure Island
    This was a really good book!!!! I would higly recommend this book!!!! Although the vocabulary is a little tough, it is very exciting and worth while to read! The book makes you feel like you are actually present at the scene. I could picture everything I read in my mind. For anyone who likes adventures and the high seas, this is the book for you.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Classic story telling. Let your imagination do the rest.
    This book is great. It is not fast-paced and pure adventure and excitement by current day standards, but it is excellent in it's own way. This is a simple story being told through the eyes of the protaginist, Jim Hawkins. It is rich and lush with descriptions of the seas and of the bizzare and treacherous characters. From the simpleness of the book, I could place myself into the roll of this young boy and my imagination did the rest. It was an extremely exciting book; but, not because of the action packed descriptions. It was exciting because it was a pure adventure on the high seas, and I really felt like I was looking for the treasure and listening to rugged pirates.

    The villians were perfect. They were not hard-core grotesque characters, but just balanced with self-preservation and greed. They were not rapists and excessive killers, just evil enough to fear them on the open waters.

    This book is wonderfully told. If you do not really get into books or don't enjoy excercising your imagination, this book is probably not for you. Otherwise, prepare for a wild adventure on the high seas.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Its entertaing
    Treasure Island Is a good book with many twists. It has its moments at the end of the book. If you like Pirates and Sword action than this is the book for you. Overall 4 out of 5 stars. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0679418008
    Subjects:  1. Adventure and adventurers    2. Buried treasure    3. Children's 4-8    4. Children: Grades 4-6    5. Classics    6. Fiction    7. Juvenile Literature    8. Literary    9. Pirates    10. Fiction / Literary   


    Master and Commander (Aubrey-Maturin (Paperback))
    by Patrick O'Brian
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 November, 1990)
    list price: $13.95 -- our price: $10.46
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    Editorial Review

    The opening salvo of theAubrey-Maturin epic, in which the surgeon introduces himself to the captain by driving an elbow into his ribs during a chamber-music recital. Fortunately for millions of readers, the two quickly make up. Then they commence one of the greatliterary voyages of our century, set against an immaculately-detailed backdrop of the Napoleonic wars. This is the place to start--and in all likelihood, you won't be able to stop. ... Read more

    Reviews (210)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book, A must-read
    Excellent Book, A must-read for fans of seafaring literature; next to Horatio Hornblower, this series is one of the best.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beat to quarters!
    After going to see the movie (twice, and tonight will be the third), and spending this fall sailing around the Potomac river, I had to buy this book to complete the picture. I was not disapointed - this book was amazing. However, I did have to shift gears a bit in order to better enjoy it. At no time was I without a dictionary, and a big thick one with lots of old archaic words in it, and even then, certain words and phrases managed to elude my best efforts to decipher. Nevertheless, I approached this book the way I approach Science Fiction, which is to say that though I don't know exactly how a Tri-beta Implosion Drive works, I nevertheless trust that it does work and keep reading. The following is a list of good and bad points to the book (and the good far out-weigh the bad, if you ask me).
    Good points:
    1) The historical accuracy, or what I'd like to believe is accurate, is incredible. I learned more about naval life, 19th century life, the scientific mindset and the origin of words in this one book than in all the hundreds of other books I've ever read. Admittedly, this is only my second "historical" novel, the first being The Alienist by Calib Carr (excellent book too!).
    2) The action, the battles! The Strategery! This was amazing, and finely captured by the movie.
    3) The "feel": I loved the feeling I got when he got his boat, how he walked around looking for ways to improve it, the need to test it out and "see what this baby can do". I loved the creaking of the timbers and the groan of yardarms under sail, the smell of gunpowerder and slow matches, and most importantly, the smell of blood, the hunt and the triumph of the kill. And yeah, I did feel a little guilty about wanting those other boats to get shot up, knowing that people were going to die - not to mention silly for feeling this way about a book. Realialistic, eh?
    4) Another thing I liked was the way the men looked up to Jack and Stephen for their amazing luck and skill, respectively. It was kind of interesting to see how a person becomes a master of men. Dammit, this book was just plain interesting altogether.
    5) A lot of reviewers deride the book because it doesn't seem to have a plot - I say good riddence! This book doesn't need a plot - or rather, the whole book is the plot, and they can't see the forest for the trees. All Jack Aubrey does is cruise around the French/Spanish Coast looking for trouble, and I'm oh-so-fine with that. There's also a lot of getting to know the characters going on, and that'll be important for the next nineteen books.
    1) One thing I didn't like was the unexpected jumps in time. One minute Jack is eating dinner, the next he's 200 miles away in Malta - or worse, heading BACK from Malta, having finished whatever he was doing.
    2) I'm a big fan of the archaic words and terms, however, when the plot is about to twist in an important direction or there's a necessary transition that the audience really should be aware of, I really wish Patrick O'Brien would forgive my American Public School education for just a paragraph or two so that I could catch on to what he's trying to convey. The good news is, I've either caught up with his style or he's dumbed Post Captain, the next book, down since writing the first. It reads a whole lot easier, and I'm still expanding my vocabulary a bit - but I'll save that for my next review.
    3) The book ended - that was kind of a bummer.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Just brilliant
    I read master and Commander as quickly as possible, and was well and truly stumped.
    I liked the characters, found the detailed portrayal of life aboard ship to be extremely interesting, and enjoyed much of the humor of the book.But there was something really curious and elusive about the storytelling.In the first place, the heroes are mere observers of the climactic sea battle, having been captured earlier, which seemed especially curious for an adventure story.Even more disconcerting was the sense that I lacked much of the background information that the author expected the reader to bring to the novel.It seemed as if O'Brian expected you to already be familiar with much of the early 19th century naval terminology, with the intricacies of the Napoleonic Wars, and with the culture, customs and language of the day.It was like listening to a comedian and only understanding one out of every two or three jokes--you titter nervously and you can follow along thanks to context, but it's a tad humiliating.I did like it enough to read the next though, Post Captain, and as I did, the joke finally dawned on me.

    Patrick O'Brian writes these novels so that they could be read, understood, and enjoyed by the characters who populate them.The reason that they so effectively transport us to another time and place is because they seem to have been written there and then.His mission here is not to explain that epoch to us, but to present it for our consideration, nearly unadorned by modern sensibilities.He writes as if he were actually a contemporary of his heroes and the books have the quality, not of historical novels at all, but instead of classic tales newly rediscovered.Thanks to this unusual style, O'Brian is more often compared to Jane Austen than to C. S. Forester.

    I don't mean to mislead anyone; the books aren't for all tastes and, even if you love them, O'Brian'smanner can be frustrating--you sometimes wish you had an interpreter.But once you figure out what he's doing, if you accept the technique, you're in for a real treat.The writing is outstanding.The setting is endlessly interesting.Aubrey, the bluff and hearty sea captain, and Maturin, the vulpine doctor and spy, make for a classic pairing of steadfast opposites, in the tradition of Holmes and Watson.It is not easy reading but it is rewarding and once you read a couple, you'll be hooked.And be warned, before he died earlier this year, O'Brian had completed twenty novels in the series, so you'll be hooked for a good long time.

    ... Read more

    Isbn: 0393307050
    Subjects:  1. 19th century    2. English Historical Fiction    3. Fiction    4. Fiction - Historical    5. Great Britain    6. Historical - General    7. History, Naval    8. Sea & Ocean    9. Historical fiction    10. Reading Group Guide   


    Expedition Whydah: The Story of the World's First Excavation of a Pirate Treasure Ship and the Man Who Found Her
    by Barry Clifford, Paul Perry
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (16 May, 2000)
    list price: $15.95 -- our price: $15.95
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    Reviews (19)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Engrossing! Piratical!
    Like pirates? Like pirate history? Run right out and buy this book ASAP! I *loved* this book, and read it straight through in two sittings. It follows the trials of Barry Clifford in his decades long search for the Whydah Galley shipwreck off the coast of his Cape Cod home, and final outstanding success in his quest. The book offers *so* much engrossing information about both modern privately-funded marine archaeology (sometimes dismissively referred to as "treasure hunting" by academics) and the life of Black Sam Bellamy, Captain of the Whydah. The book is peppered with maps, photographs from the search and excavation, and careful line-drawings of the artifacts exhumed with accompanying descriptive text.

    This is not to say the book is without fault. At times it is painfully obvious that Clifford's skills lie in other realms than the writing world and the guiding hand of co-writer Perry is either absent or inebriated--at times the prose can be a bit amateur and elementary. I question the quality of editing that went into the work as well, since in places a topic will be "introduced" as if it were new to the reader, when in fact it had already been mentioned in an earlier chapter. And, Clifford's private-archaeology cheerleading can at times seem a bit shrill in his repeated justifications of his work in the face of extreme criticism by the academic realm [1]. And,... the book is a bit dated in its claims of "the only pirate ship ever recovered", since the discoveries (largely by teams led by Clifford) of a number of other pirate shipwrecks have happened since its publication.

    Despite these flaws, the book remains an engrossing read. Clifford and Perry have imbued the text with Clifford's infectious enthusiasm and passion for the life of Bellamy and the search for the Whydah. The story of the search, discovery, and excavation of the wreckage (as well as the financial and legal woes that plagued them from the beginning) is interwoven with legends and factual details about Bellamy and the Whydah crew from the exhaustive research of the Whydah team's staff historian. The book offers an interesting interpretation of the pirate crews of the era as renegade democracies, pioneering a 'rule by the people' culture in revolutionary dispute of crown rule several decades before the American Revolution (at times this verges on a sort of fannish apologist tone, which didn't bother me too much as a reader, being a fannish pirate-apologist at times myself). The book becomes a bit sensationalist toward the end when it delves into a few 'pirate ghost' encounters that Clifford and his crew experienced, but by that point I believe his dedication in relating the story and I think his dedication to the importance of legend and myth as being as integral a part of the appeal of the golden age of piracy as the cold-facts history, that it doesn't come off as corny or insincere.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Treasure Hunter
    Barry Clifford discovered the only wrecked pirate ship ever found, then recovered much of the gold, jewels, and silver aboard the vessel as well as important historical artifacts.As a small boy, Clifford had listened to tales of the pirate ship WHYDAH and its master Black Sam Bellamy told to him by his uncle.Although he grew into adulthood and became a successful marine salvager, thoughts of the WHYDAH and her ill-fated crew, as well as all the treasure rumored to have gone down aboard her, wouldn't leave Clifford's mind at rest.For years he assembled information and research regarding the ship's activities, the sailors and captain aboard her, and the loot WHYDAH had seized.Gradually, as he exhausted all the knowledge that was to be gleaned from histories, journals, and survey maps, Clifford eliminated conflicting data and re-interpreted facts and figures until he was certain he knew where the ship had gone down, taking the captain and most of the crew with her.Armed with his facts and figures, Clifford journeyed to Denver and sold shares in the venture to raise a quarter million dollars investment capital to start searching for the wreck.Within months, he had located the first of the treasure, and the real fighting began with the state agency that tried to take a lion's share of the recovered assets.

    Barry Clifford was a marine salvager by trade and became an expert in piracy by interest.In addition to two non-fiction novels, EXPEDITION WHYDAH and THE LOST FLEET:THE DISCOVERY OF A SUNKEN ARMADA FROM THE GOLDEN AGE OF PIRACY, Clifford also established the Whydah Learning Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts.He's gleaned a lot of support from historical preservation societies and boards.

    Although Clifford's narration of his own book in audio form comes across as less polished than probably could have been done by a professional voice, the dramatic tension involved in the story keeps the listener intent on the tale.In fact, the laconic, laidback way Clifford narrates his story sounds like a guy sitting across the table spinning his story over a cup of coffee.The choice Clifford made to overlap his own findings with the history of the pirates aboard WHYDAH drives the dramatic tension of both stories.Separating those events by putting them in different sections of the book would have diluted both, and made them too episodic.Clifford was making history as he was uncovering it.Even in the abridged form offered in the audiobook, Clifford conveys tons of material relating to the work involved in claiming, finding, and bringing up a significant historical find-especially one laden with gold, silver, and jewels.The history of piracy and the pirates on board WHYDAH when it went down are spooned into the narrative in just the right amounts to keep revealing new details while still leaving the listener for more.

    EXPEDITION WHYDAH is an excellent audiobook to listen to in the car.The bits and pieces that are presented episodically lend themselves to the start and stop of a workday drive.In addition, Clifford's details on the expedition and piracy in general bring a lot of intensity to armchair explorers.

    3-0 out of 5 stars A Story of Would-Be Adventure
    This book bases itself on the premise of Pirates- blood thirsty ones with peg-legs, eye patches and parots on thier shoulders. Well, not exactly. Turns out that piracy wasn't exactly the stuff from the movies, and this book does a great job clearing up some of those myths and describing what life was like on the high seas. It also has a fantastic account of the final hours before the Whydah ran aground off Cape Cod, and the morning after as villagers searched the bodies washed ashore for valuables. The history here is great, but ironically enough, the author himself seems to be the point of controversy here. How you percieve Barry Clifford has everything to do with how much you will like this book. In stark contrast to the gripping accounts of pirates, shipwrecks and trials for treason, we meet the author and find out first hand how boring the legal stuff can be regarding shipwrecks and searching for them. The controversy lies in the rhelm of archeology. The question is, who is Barry Clifford, an average guy, to decide that he can go in search of a potentially important scientific discovery for his own profit? Of course, this is a common question when it comes to treasure hunters. To his credit, Clifford did find the ship which no one else had been able to find, and did create a public museum for the display of Whydah artifacts. At what cost? Years of finding nothing, blowing millions of dollars invested in his search and pleading for more, and eventually his marriage. I get the impression from the book that Clifford is a man consumed with finding his burried treasure. I also feel that this book is another attempt to cash in on his findings. "Expedition Whydah" is a good read, but be warned that it is more the story of an obsessed treasure hunter than a scientist looking for clues to the ways of piracy. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0060929715
    Sales Rank: 275128
    Subjects:  1. Cape Cod    2. Clifford, Barry    3. History - General History    4. Maritime History    5. Massachusetts    6. Ships & Shipbuilding - Shipwrecks    7. Shipwrecks    8. Special Interest - Adventure    9. Travel    10. Whidah (Ship)   


    Fatal Treasure: Greed and Death, Emeralds and Gold, and the Obsessive Search for the Legendary Ghost Galleon Atocha
    by JedwinSmith
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (28 March, 2003)
    list price: $24.95 -- our price: $16.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
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    Reviews (12)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The definitive book on the 'Atocha' treasure hunt....
    A lot has been written on the search for the legendary treasure galleon 'Atocha.' Unfortunately, not much of it makes for very entertaining reading. Too many writers have taken a great story of persistence, tragedy and faith and turned it into a clinical and boring historical tome. This book however by Jedwin Smith is a great look at Mel Fisher and his 16-year quest to find the mother lode. The author helped dive on the wreck numerous times starting in May 1985 and then several years later. It is this intimate familiarity with the cast involved that brings the story closer to home for the reader.
    Mel Fisher is profiled here in all his larger-than-life glory; huckster to his investors, devoted father to his family, and dreamer extraordinaire. Beyond just the glory of July 20, 1985 when his divers uncovered the bulk of his $400 million dollar prize, we learn of all the tragedies that led up to that moment. From the loss of his eldest son, daughter-in-law and another diver in a boating accident ten years to the day before. To the loss of others involved in the 16-year search along the way. It also becomes obvious to the reader that Mel uncovered A LOT of "dry holes" off of Key West over the years in his long and arduous search. Frustration and utter despair would've crushed most treasure hunters. And where those failed, a collapse in the financing would've taken over, but Mel Fisher is portrayed as a forever optimist with his famous saying: "Today's the day."
    It is easy to see from 'Fatal Treasure' how his infectious dream and optimism motivated others to help him in his ultimately successful quest. Great annecdotes are also provided here by the author including one about how Jimmy Buffett came aboard Mel's boat the day of the big find to perform 'A Pirate Looks At Forty.' He (Fisher) wasnamed 'President in Perpetuity of Key West' because he so embodied the laid back, drop out of the rat race lifestyle. A little known fact presented is that the author's brother along with Fisher's son Kim and others have continued the quest for the even richer stern section of the ship right up into the present day. Although the pictures in this book are in black and white, the reader gets a good feel for the massive amount of gold, silver and emeralds found. It is over-the-top with regard to bringing this fascinating true adventure to life!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A vicarious adventure
    Reading Jedwin Smith's book, Fatal Treasure, is like going on an exciting and dangerous underwater mission, but with someone else taking all the chances. It is a vicarious experience I'll never forget. This is a wonderful book, a treasure about finding treasure.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Not worth the time
    Poorly written rehash of better work by others--too much space dedicated to author's many phobias ... Read more

    Isbn: 0471158941
    Sales Rank: 137618
    Subjects:  1. Buried treasure    2. Earth Sciences - Geography    3. Florida    4. History: American    5. Maritime History    6. Nuestra Senora de Atocha (Shi    7. Science    8. Ships & Shipbuilding - Shipwrecks    9. Shipwrecks    10. Transportation    11. Treasure-trove    12. United States - State & Local - General    13. History / General    14. USA   


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