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Pirate Book

The History of Pirates
by Angus Konstam

The History of Pirates is a well organized primer on pirates from ancient times to the present day.

» Full review
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What Readers
are Saying

“S.R. Staley transports you back to a time when the flapping of canvas, the roar of ships' cannons, and the flash of cutlasses are seen through the smell of gunpowder and smoke. The Pirate of Panther Bay, the young Isabella, prowls the seas. She is dogged by a Spanish man-o-war commanded by a dashing young Spaniard who also commands her heart. A great adventure romance!”
-- Robert, Chapel Hill, NC

Book Review

Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates
by David Cordingly

3 stars
Under the Black Flag may be the best general introduction to pirates currently in print.

In Brief...

We liked:
  • Information, information, information
  • Organized for reference
  • Facts and figures on pirate attacks, hangings, and ships
  • Balanced look at pirates, pirating, and popular culture

Things we weren’t so keen on:
  • Dense writing style—definitely for adults
  • Focus almost exclusively on major pirates of the day
  • Exclusive focus on pirates and pirating from the British perspective

Our Review

Under the Black Flag may be the best general introduction to pirates currently in print.

David Cordingly focuses primarily on pirates in the Caribbean, North America, Africa, and England, and provides an excellent overview of the personalities, activities, and strategies used by the major pirates and pirate hunters, from Henry Morgan to the public hanging of John Upton in 1729. This book has an essential place in the library of anyone looking for a handy reference.

We would, however, have liked to see more discussion of minor pirates. More than 2,000 pirates likely plied the waters of the Caribbean in the 18th century, yet we don’t learn much about the character and personalities of minor figures during this period.

While Cordingly is rightfully regarded as one of the world’s foremost experts on pirates, this book provides little insight into how countries other than England (e.g., Spain or France) dealt with pirates attacking their shipping.

We would also have liked a bit more discussion of how the “glory days” of pirating compares to contemporary periods.

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