Pirates of Barbary: Corsairs, Conquests and Captivity in the Seventeenth-Century Mediterranean

Overview

It's easy to think of piracy as a romantic way of life long gone—if not for today's frightening headlines of robbery and kidnapping on the high seas. Pirates have existed since the invention of commerce itself, but they reached the zenith of their power during the 1600s,
when the Mediterranean was the crossroads of the world and pirates were the scourge of Europe and the glory of Islam. They attacked ships, enslaved crews, plundered cargoes, enraged governments, and swayed ...
See more details below
Audiobook (MP3 on CD - MP3 - Unabridged CD)
$22.49
BN.com price
(Save 10%)$24.99 List Price
Other sellers (Audiobook)
  • All (5) from $15.07   
  • New (3) from $15.07   
  • Used (2) from $15.07   
Sending request ...

Overview

It's easy to think of piracy as a romantic way of life long gone—if not for today's frightening headlines of robbery and kidnapping on the high seas. Pirates have existed since the invention of commerce itself, but they reached the zenith of their power during the 1600s,
when the Mediterranean was the crossroads of the world and pirates were the scourge of Europe and the glory of Islam. They attacked ships, enslaved crews, plundered cargoes, enraged governments, and swayed empires, wreaking havoc from Gibraltar to the Holy Land and beyond.

Historian and author Adrian Tinniswood brings alive this dynamic chapter in history, where clashes between pirates of the East (Tunis, Algiers, and Tripoli) and governments of the West (England, France, Spain, and Venice) grew increasingly intense and dangerous. In vivid detail, Tinniswood recounts the brutal struggles, glorious triumphs, and enduring personalities of the pirates of the Barbary Coast, and how their maneuverings between the Muslim empires and Christian Europe shed light on the religious and moral battles that still rage today.

As Tinniswood notes in Pirates of Barbary, "Pirates are history." In this fascinating and entertaining book, he reveals that the history of piracy is also the history that shaped our modern world.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Ian W. Toll
Above all, Pirates of Barbary reminds us that history, whatever else it is, is also a genre of literature. It always has been, ever since it was first written down by the ancient chroniclers. You can scour it all you like for insights, arguments and conclusions. But it's still worth reading if only because it's bloody good ­entertainment.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Forget the pirates of the Caribbean: their Old World brethren were an altogether more colorful and fearsome lot, according to this swashbuckling study. Historian Tinniswood (The Verneys: A True Story of Love, War, and Madness in Seventeenth-Century England) revisits the kleptocratic heyday of the Barbary states--Tripoli, Tunis, Algiers, bits of Morocco--which offered fortified harbors to pirates and in turn built their economies around the sale of stolen cargoes and captives. The buccaneers, who kidnapped whole villages as far north as Ireland and Iceland, were denounced as the scourge of Christendom. Yet most of the "Turkish" pirates Tinniswood highlights were British, Dutch, or Italian renegades who sometimes bought pardons and obtained naval commands from their native countries. The million Christians sold into bondage often converted to Islam and became pillars of the North African economy. The author makes this story an entertaining picaresque of crime, combat, and moral compromise; fierce sea battles and daring escapes alternate with corrupt hagglings as European governments vacillate between gunboat diplomacy and offering tribute for the release of their enslaved countrymen. Tinniswood gives us both a rollicking narrative and a rich brew of early modern maritime history. Illus., map. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
"Tinniswood gives us both a rollicking narrative and a rich brew of early modern maritime history." —-Publishers Weekly
Library Journal
English writer/historian Tinniswood (www.adriantinniswood.co.uk) tells the fascinating story of the 17th-century pirates of the Barbary Coast, who were at the height of their influence at a time when the Mediterranean served as a major commercial roadway. He focuses on the clashes between pirates of the East (Tunis, Algiers, Tripoli) and the governments of the West (England, France, Spain), also exploring how the pirates' conquests continue to inform the conflict between Christianity and Islam. Clive Chafer's acting chops shine in his impressive narration of this work that well educates listeners on the crimes, fierce sea battles, corrupt government haggling, and gunboat diplomacy that characterized this era of world history. For scholars, historians, and students, all of whom will be fascinated by how closely piracy of the 1600s resembles today's ongoing experience with crime on the high seas. [The Riverhead hc was described as shedding "new light on an overlooked portion of 17th-century history," LJ 12/10.—Ed.]—Dale Farris, Groves, TX
Kirkus Reviews

Exciting history of 17th-century piracy among African city-states.

Prolific British historian Tinniswood (The Verneys: A True Story of Love, War, and Madness in Seventeenth-Century England, 2008, etc.) demonstrates an excellent grasp of obscure sources in crafting a comprehensive synthesis. He argues that the notorious, reviled "Barbary corsairs" have been historically misunderstood: "An underlying racism and a more overt anti-Islamism make it hard to imagine Captain Blood or Jack Sparrow as North African Muslims." The author theorizes that piracy was state-supported and a key economic requirement for the development of Tunis, Algiers and Tripoli (allied with the Ottoman Empire) and independent Morocco, and further was encouraged as a "sea-jihad," an Islamic counterweight to European ambitions in the Mediterranean. While the British and other European powers belittled the Turks and Moors as savages, the situation was ethically muddied by their intermittent encouragement of privateering during various wars—these governments routinely issued "letters of marque" that essentially gave captains the right of piracy over ships flying enemy colors. Furthermore, both European and Barbary states routinely enslaved and ransomed captives; the specter of white slaves being held by African Muslims inflamed British society and contributed to numerous campaigns. Some of the European attempts blockade Barbary ports became comedies of error; others turned tragic or brutal, such as the French mortaring of Algiers. The pirates themselves were a diverse lot, especially following a 1612 amnesty. Many were British subjects who "turned Turk" (sometimes claiming coercion later when captured), while others were fearless Islamists who viewed attacking European ships as both good business and a strike against infidel encroachment (Tinniswood emphasizes the parallels with contemporary geopolitics only in the preface, regarding Somali piracy, but they are apparent.) This approach was epitomized by a 1631 raid on the Irish coastal town of Baltimore, which enslaved dozens. Throughout, the writing is precise and mordant but also witty, allowing the reader to feel empathy for the rough and absurd lives of these long-ago mariners, and agree with the author's conclusion that whatever the corsairs' faults, a lack of courage was not among them.

Rigorous and sophisticated.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400169245
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/17/2010
  • Format: MP3 on CD
  • Edition description: MP3 - Unabridged CD
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author


Historian Adrian Tinniswood is the author of more than a dozen books, including The Verneys: A True Story of Love, War, and Madness in Seventeenth-Century England, which was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction.

Clive Chafer is a professional actor, director, and producer, as well as a theater instructor. He is the founder of TheatreFIRST, Oakland's only professional, season-producing theater company, where he served as artistic director until 2008. He teaches classical dramatic literature and other subjects at the University of San Francisco.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)