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School Library Journal
Adult/High School -The Whydah had a short life. Built in 1715, she made a single voyage to Africa, where her hold was loaded with a cargo of slaves, and she sailed to the Caribbean. She was captured there and became the flagship of "Black Sam" Bellamy, one of the most successful pirate captains of the time. Two months later, the treasure-laden Whydah sank off Cape Cod during a violent storm. The wreckage was discovered in 1984, and the artifacts brought to the surface and restored are now the basis of a touring exhibit, to which this book is a companion. The first and last chapters succinctly discuss the slave trade and the recovery efforts respectively, but the majority of the volume is devoted to describing the life and culture of 18th-century pirates. Common myths are debunked: pirates did not bury their loot, and there is only one recorded instance of anyone "walking the plank." The authors' main argument, however, is that the pirate subculture was both multiethnic and democratic, and thus was an attractive alternative to a life of hard manual labor or slavery. Amply illustrated with black-and-white and color drawings, photographs, and maps, this is a lively and informative look at the real pirates of the Caribbean.-Sandy Schmitz, Berkeley Public Library, CACopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.