The History of Pirates is a global survey of pirates, pirating, pirate ways, and pirate from the Greeks to modern day drug smuggling. We found its sweeping perspective refreshing as well as enlightening. Want to know how pirates prowled the waters in Roman times? Chapter One delves into the details. Want to know how pirates ply their trade now? Chapter Eleven will give you an excellent overview.
Konstam’s book, unlike many other histories, is organized by region. This has the advantage of giving readers a truly worldview of pirating. While Caribbean piracy gets, in effect, three chapters, Konstam doesn’t neglect the Europe, Africa, the Indian Ocean, or China and the Far East.
Readers will also be treated to a skillful bevy of pirate biographies. We counted at least 25 full pirate bios, ranging from Uluj Ali on the Barbary Coast (North Africa) to Bartholemew Roberts to Jean Laffite (remember New Orleans?) and Shap-‘ng-Tsai in Hong Kong.
Pirate hunters are not ignored either. We particularly enjoyed the story of Pompey the Great who commanded 120,000 Roman troops and 500 ships to clear the entire Mediterranean Sea of pirates in 67 BC. He accomplished his goal in a mere 40 days.
Providing glimpses into every detail of this book would be impossible, but its rich array of maps, pictures, ship cut-aways, and images from the times provides an entertaining and accessible resource. There is enough information and breadth in this book to justify its place in the library of any serious pirate enthusiast.
What do you think?