Bandits at Sea: A Pirates Reader / Edition 1

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The romantic fiction of pirates as swashbuckling marauders terrorizing the high seas has long eclipsed historical fact. Bandits at Sea offers a long-overdue corrective to the mythology and the mystique which has plagued the study of pirates and served to deny them their rightful legitimacy as subjects of investigation.

With essays by the foremost scholars on these countercultural "social bandits"—as Lingua Franca recently dubbed them—this collection examines various aspects of the phenomenon in the three main areas where it occurred: the Caribbean/Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and East Asia. We come to understand who pirates were, as well as the socio-economic contexts under which they developed and flourished.

Comparisons between various types of piracy illustrate differences in practice and purpose between pirates of different areas; social histories, including examinations of women pirates and their historical significance and circumstances, offer similar insight into the personal lives of pirates from diverse regions. Far from serving as dens of thieves, pirate ships were often highly regulated microcosms of democracy. The crews of pirate vessels knew that majority rule, racial equality and equitable division of spoils were crucial for their survival, marking them as significantly more liberal than national governments.

Scholars, students and a general audience ever intrigued by tales—and now truths—of piracy on the high seas will welcome Bandits at Sea.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Technically well produced, with a generous allowance of illustrative plates and a good index."

-S. D. Smith,International Journal of Maritime History

"A thoroughly worthy and groundbreaking addition to the historiography of crime at sea."

-Sea History

"Each of the twelve authors deftly plumb the depths of documentary sources, literary analyses, personal observations, biographical and historical accounts to improve vastly on the seemingly two-dimensional nature of the pirate."

-The Great Circle: Journal of the Australian Association for Maritime History

"Bandits at Sea provides the first comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach to piracy. From history to geography, economics to sociology, sexuality to politics, Pennell's anthology brings together the best of current scholarship."

-Peter Galvin,Author of Patterns of Pillage: A Geography of Caribbean-based Piracy,1536—1718

"Long overdue! Stunning in breadth and depth, Bandits at Sea is the pirate historian's who's-who rendesvous. Pennell has pulled together for the first time the best and most recent scholarly work on piracy in the context of the wider world. A fresh look at an old topic. Highly recommended!"

-Kris Lane,College of William & Mary

Publishers Weekly
The 16 scholarly essays of Bandits at Sea: A Pirates Reader deliberately set out to explode myths and stereotypes. C.R. Pennell...has gathered foremost experts on these most romanticized of murderous predators.
No Quarter Given
Bandits at Sea is a thought-provoking collection, and would be an excellent addition to any serious pirate student's library.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814766781
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 7/16/2012
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 360
  • Sales rank: 638,775
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.02 (h) x 1.09 (d)

Meet the Author

C. R. Pennell is al-Tajir Lecturer in Middle East History and Senior Lecturer at the University of Melbourne and author of Morocco since 1830, also available from NYU Press.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction: Brought to Book: Reading about Pirates 3
2 The Pirate and the Emperor: Power and the Law on the Seas, 1450-1850 25
3 The Geography of Piracy: Northern Morocco in the Mid-Nineteenth Century 55
4 The Origins and Regulation of Eighteenth-Century British Privateering 69
5 Piracy and World History: An Economic Perspective on Maritime Predation 82
6 Pirates and Markets 107
7 Corsairing as a Commercial System: The Edges of Legitimate Trade 125
8 The Seaman as Pirate: Plunder and Social Banditry at Sea 139
9 Outlaws at Sea, 1660-1720: Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity among the Caribbean Freebooters 169
10 Black Men under the Black Flag 195
11 The Buccaneer Community 211
12 The Practice of Homosexuality among the Pirates of Late Eighteenth- and Early Nineteenth-Century China 244
13 Cheng I Sao in Fact and Fiction 253
14 Women and Piracy in Ireland: From Grainne O'Malley to Anne Bonny 283
15 Liberty beneath the Jolly Roger: The Lives of Anne Bonny and Mary Read, Pirates 299
16 Women among the Uskoks of Senj: Literary Images and Reality 321
Contributors 335
Permissions 339
Index 341
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