General History of the Pyrates

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Immensely readable history by the author of Robinson Crusoe incorporates the author's celebrated flair for journalistic detail, and represents the major source of information about piracy in the early 18th century. Defoe recounts the daring and bloody deeds of such outlaws as Edward Teach (alias Blackbeard), Captain Kidd, Mary Read, Anne Bonny, many others.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Despite varying titles, these are essentially the same book. Published in 1724, Defoe's chronicle of the scourges of the sea was a smashing success, finding a wide audience eager for tales of those cutthroat sailors who flew the skull and crossbones. The Dover edition is more scholarly, including several essays on Defoe, indexes (ships, names, and places), photos, and a postscript. If you don't need any of that, save a couple of bucks and go with the Carroll & Graf edition. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
<:st> Cited in An affordable, unabridged version of this classic history. Defoe's lively tales of Blackbeard, Mary Read, and other seafaring rascals are a blend of fact and fiction<-->incorporating journalistic details with those gleaned from interviews with surviving pirates. The editor provides a lengthy introduction as well as a postscript offering insight into the recent popularity of pirates. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780486404882
  • Publisher: Dover Publications
  • Publication date: 1/26/1999
  • Series: Dover Maritime Series
  • Pages: 800
  • Sales rank: 291,537
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Editor's Introduction
A Note on the Text
Sailing Ships
I. A Description of a Ship with all her Tackling
2. Definitions of Old Sea-Craft
Volume I A General History of the Pyrates
The Preface
The Contents of Volumes I and II
The Introduction
Chap. I Of Captain Avery and his Crew
  II Of Captain Martel and his Crew
  III "Of Captain Teach, alias Black-beard"
  IV Of Major Stede Bonnet and his Crew
  V Of Captain Edward England and his Crew
  VI Of Captain Charles Vane and his Crew
  VII Of Captain John Rackam and his Crew
      The Life of Mary Read
      The Life of Anne Bonny
  VIII Of Captain Howel Davis and his Crew
      "A Description of the Islands of St. Thome, Del Principe, and Annobono"
  IX "Of Captain Bartho, Roberts and his Crew"
      "A Description of Brazil, &c."
      The Tryals of the Pyrates
  X Of Captain Thomas Anstis and his Crew
  XI Of Captain Worley and his Crew
  XII Of Captain George Lowther and his Crew
  XIII Of Captain Edward Low and his Crew
  XIV Of Captain John Evans and his Crew
  XV Of Captain John Phillips and his Crew
  XVI Of Captain Francis Spriggs and his Crew
  XVII Of Captain John Smith and his Crew
      A Relation of five Men setting up for a Company of Pyrates
      "An Account of the Pyracies and Murders committed by Philip Roche, &c."
      "An Abstract of the Civil Law and Statute now in Force, in Relation to Pyracy"
Volume II
Chap. I Of Captain Mission
  II Of Captain Tew and his Crew
  III Of Captain William Kid
  IV Of Captain John Bowen
  V Of Captain Halsey and his Crew
  VI Of Captain Thomas White and his Crew
  VII Of Captain Thomas Howard and his Crew
  VIII Of Captain David Williams and his Crew
  IX Of Captain Samuel Burgess and his Crew
  X Of Captain Nathaniel North and his Crew
  XI A Description of Magadoxa
  XII Of Captain Condent and his Crew
  XIII Of Captain Bellamy and his Crew
  XIV Of Captain Lewis and his Crew
  XV Of Captain Cornelius and his Crew
  XVI Of Captain William Fly and his Crew
  XVII Appendix to the First Volume
  XVIII The Tryal of the Pyrates at Providence
Commentary and Notes
Postscript to the Dover Edition
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pyrates

    Daniel Defoe (or whoever the author is...the book is pseudonymous) reports, embellishes, and occasionally invents the lives of 35 of the most notorious pirates from the "golden age of piracy" in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. The entertainment value and coherence of the stories varies throughout the book. Some are described vividly with a lot of attention to detail, some read like a boring police blotter or ship's log, One (Captain Misson) is completely fictitious, and some are interwoven in such a haphazard manner that it is hard to follow.

    The five accounts that I found the most colorful/detailed and therefore most interesting were: Edward Teach (aka Blackbeard), Jack Rackam (aka Calico Jack), two of Calico Jack's companions - Mary Read and Anne Bonny, and William Fly.

    Despite the occasional boring section, this book is well worth a read if you have any interest at all in pirates. It provides a great glimpse into the brutality, drunkenness, violence, courage, and tragedy that surrounded these men. John Robert Moore rightly says of this book: "It is hardly too much to say that the author of the History has created for us the modern conception of pirates."

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 5, 2014



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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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