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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.
Posted October 18, 2011
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."
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Posted November 26, 2010
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