The Last Days of Black Beard the Pirate: Within Every Legend Lies a Grain of Truth


History remembers the infamous Blackbeard (also Black Beard) as one of the greatest, most successful pirates who ever lived—a paragon of pirates. When Black Beard arrived in North Carolina in 1718, he commanded one of the most powerful pirate fleets in history—400 men aboard four ships, including his prized, cannon-studded flagship, Queen Anne's Revenge. But in a stunning reversal of fortunes, everything suddenly went wrong. Six months later, when Black Beard was cornered and killed at Ocracoke Inlet, North ...

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History remembers the infamous Blackbeard (also Black Beard) as one of the greatest, most successful pirates who ever lived—a paragon of pirates. When Black Beard arrived in North Carolina in 1718, he commanded one of the most powerful pirate fleets in history—400 men aboard four ships, including his prized, cannon-studded flagship, Queen Anne's Revenge. But in a stunning reversal of fortunes, everything suddenly went wrong. Six months later, when Black Beard was cornered and killed at Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina, he was in the company of just 20 men and the only treasure found in his possession was some sugar, cocoa, cotton and a mysterious letter.

What happened during Black Beard's last days that precipitated his demise? Who, truly, was Edward Teach, aka Black Beard, and from whence did he come? What was his true name? And what happened to his treasure?

For more than 35 years, researcher, author and filmmaker, Kevin Duffus has followed the wake of the pirate captain's journey through history. Along the way, Duffus observed that many historical accounts describing the pirate's last days—the six months following the wreck of the Queen Anne's Revenge at Beaufort Inlet—were inaccurate, insufficiently researched, and, as it turned out, not nearly as interesting as the truth.

Duffus posed the question: "Is it possible to go back to the trodden ground of original sources—trial depositions, minutes of colonial councils, governors' records, deed books, wills and inventories, and log books and letters of the British Admiralty—and learn something new about a popular historical figure? After so long, is it possible to learn somethingnew about the pirate known as Black Beard?"

After conducting research at the archives of Great Britain, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina, and exploring the pirate's favorite haunts at Bath, Ocracoke, and Philadelphia, and his supposed birthplace of Bristol, England, Duffus discovered the answer was, yes, it is possible to learn something new. And the true facts about Black Beard's last days promise to substantially change his story—and history.

In the new book, The Last Days of Black Beard the Pirate, author Kevin Duffus discloses new information about how Black Beard was cornered and attacked at Ocracoke in 1718, why he tried to escape rather than fight back, and how his life might have been spared had he lived for three more weeks. New research reveals the true meaning of a mysterious letter found in Black Beard's possessions, and that many of the 25 pirates who remained with Black Beard after the wreck of the Queen Anne's Revenge were sons of North Carolina families. Duffus also proves that most of Black Beard's captured crew members were not hanged in Virginia and that one of them—10 years after purportedly being executed—became a respected and wealthy landowner and was the grandfather of heroes of the American Revolution and a governor of Tennessee.

Also for the first time, Duffus exposes the truth behind many of the enduring Black Beard myths—his Bristol, England, birthplace; his 14 wives, including Mary Ormond; the burning of fuses in his hair to frighten his victims; and the countless tall tales of buried treasure, secret tunnels, and the shocking origins of the legend of his silver-plated skull used as a drinking cup by a secret society.

In addition to dozens of new discoveries one revelation promises to stand-out as the most amazing. With the help of ground-breaking research by three courageous genealogists, Kevin Duffus shares long-forgotten clues to the potential identity of Black Beard, beginning with a age-old myth about his sister, Susannah. The conclusions are staggering and certain to be controversial.

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Editorial Reviews

Christine Lampe

In his new book, Kevin Duffus has managed to take a lot of old puzzle pieces, and put them in their correct spots. He has also uncovered many new jigsaw pieces. Looking at the partially solved puzzle, it is a lot easier now to make out the image of Blackbeard. While I am not convinced about all of Kevin Duffus’ conclusions, I do highly recommend this book to everyone interested in the "Devil of the Sea".
No Quarter Given Magazine

Janet Pittard

Searching out the facts in libraries and archives here and abroad, Kevin Duffus pieces together a page-turning story of North Carolina’s most famous pirate, methodically sorting myth and fact and discarding many long-held assumptions as blatant inaccuracies. The book is extremely readable, and is full of maps and beautiful photographs. Almost every other page contains new information on Black Beard. Duffus unravels one mystery after another to find the "grain of truth" behind the legend!
Our State Magazine

Mary Ellen Riddle

From Blackbeard's name, beard and temperament, to his education, parentage and childhood pals, the author examines, theorizes, and discovers enough to fill a fat, exciting new book on a figure that today is an insignificant miscreant to some Ocracokers and a moneymaking commodity to others. But to the kid in all of us, Blackbeard continues to be a fascinating character in history that — despite his worldwide popularity for centuries — Duffus has made even more interesting.
The Virginian-Pilot

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781888285277
  • Publisher: Looking Glass Productions, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/15/2011
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Best Book on Black Beard

    Great book on the lost history of Black Beard. In addition to being entertaining and enlightening ... the book is beautiful, full of excellent photographs and maps ... a fabulous gift for yourself or someone else.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2008

    An Incredible Must Read for Fans of Blackbeard & Pirates!

    Reading The Last Days of Black Beard the Pirate was like stumbling upon the lost years of Jesus! This is the historical account on Blackbeard that I¿ve been waiting to read! The Last Days of Black Beard the Pirate fills in so many historical potholes, rendering this the most plausible historical account ever written about The Pirate King. The research and conclusions are so logical that it's hard to believe that we have all accepted the given history of Blackbeard as all we could have known of him historically. While reading it, I felt as though the ghost of Blackbeard was the one leading author Kevin Duffus on his quest ¿to divine the true history of Blackbeard¿. It was as if Blackbeard himself were saying that his real history is every bit as important as all of his myths. I was a little hesitant that the book wouldn¿t live up to my own expectations, but Kevin Duffus¿ meticulous detective work and poetry of language breathed new life into the last days of the world¿s most famous pirate. The Last Days of Black Beard the Pirate blazes controversial new trails, using the well-known histories and myths as clues to The Pirate King¿s real history. I loved that Duffus brings the reader along on the journey rather than telling us what he found, so that we are right there with him as he follows the myths and legends while retracing the boot prints of Blackbeard¿s life. I felt as though I was right there as Duffus stumbled upon his revelations, whether I was in an archive room at ECU, exploring cobbled paths of Bristol and Philadelphia, wandering the sands and maritime woods of Ocracoke, or sailing the magical waters of NC with Blackbeard. Duffus shines new light on Blackbeard¿s real name, birthplace, where he grew up, his family tree, his sister Susie, his final resting place, his 14 wives, and his deep alliances with Bath, NC (among other things). The Last Days of Black Beard the Pirate reads like a treasure map that ultimately leads us to Blackbeard¿s Treasure ¿ the real history of Black Beard the pirate. I loved that the book looked into the political climate of the time, as well as Blackbeard¿s own political affiliations, giving new meaning to his naming of ¿The Queen Anne¿s Revenge¿ and why he became a pirate. Profound evidence is offered that Blackbeard¿s North Carolina blood runs thicker than previously thought. The book is filled with rich, beautiful photos, copies of historical documents, and maps and drawings to help illustrate Kevin Duffus¿s findings. The image of the tracts of land belonging to James Beard, Charles Eden and Tobias Knight of Bath, NC on pgs 84 & 85 was the most damning bit of visual evidence for me ¿ notice Duffus¿ unique spelling of Black Beard. I highly recommend this book as an incredible historical mystery for anyone interested in Blackbeard and pirates.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2008

    Turns conventional history on its head!

    How refreshing to read an historical account of the man who was argueably the most famous pirate who ever lived ¿ and one that doesn't just rehash the same old, tired myths! Kevin Duffus has obviously done his research on this one and the results turn the conventional history completely on its head. In this book, Duffus turns to official documents from the colonial era to piece together the most thorough account of the 'Last Days of Black Beard' ever written. Loads of new information and insight including: * Black Beard's real identity * The North Carolina roots of Black Beard's 'Bath Town Pirates' * How Black Beard's faith and heritage may have impacted 'and limited!' his actions as a pirate * How Virginia/North Carolina politics may have played a role in the bounty on Black Beard's head * Corrects the historical account of Black Beard's final battle and his murder at the hands of Robert Maynard I absolutely recommend the book, as it is equally informative and entertaining.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2010

    Finally, pirate fans get to meet the REAL Black Beard

    I was very excited to read Kevin Duffus' latest book, The Last Days of Black Beard the Pirate. This book is undoubtedly one of the most interesting, refreshing, and eye opening non-fiction books I've had the pleasure of reading in a long time. The author is obviously passionate about his subject, and this passion is evident on every page as he informs his audience of who the real Black Beard truly was. Throughout the book, I was enlightened by information the author's well-documented research revealed such as Black Beard's ties to the Carolinas, the inadequate proof that he was a vicious murderer, and that the Lisbon myth was debauched.
    The book flows like water through a sieve and the breath taking photography, also taken by Kevin Duffus, adds to the mood in that the reader feels drawn into the life of the most famous pirate in history. Not only did I feel taken in to his life, but also felt like I was along for the ride and ready to be part of the crew. I gasped aloud when Duffus told how, in his pursuit of the grave of Sister Susie, he fell into a hole containing very old bricks and thinking it the foundation of an old house, quickly realized that he had mistakenly "plunged his head into the gaping, soulful eye-sockets of a rotting human skull." Though bone chilling, imagery at its best. Kevin Duffus' search that began with falling into that not so 'magical hole', led to the myth busting devices of reality that make Black Beard less ominous, more personable, more human, and hence, less mythological. Were I Black Beard, I would want the truth of my story to be told, rather than allowing a legend of lies to describe my life. Having been fascinated with pirates since child hood, I was delighted with this book's revelations. Mr. Duffus begins Chapter One with, "What if the storied historical figures of the world were not who we think they were?" He continues to answer this question about Black Beard throughout the book, and by the book's end, I felt about and believed completely differently towards the notorious pirate also referred to as Edward Teach; my original opinion of whom that pirate was had drastically changed.
    The author's language is poetic and his style of intertwining some fiction into the book as he recreates probable scenarios from historic moments in the life of his protagonist, along with other characters important in this historical recount, is so well done that the fiction and the truth create a marriage of synchronic unison.
    I also found parts of the book to be very touching, which is a delight to discover when reading most non-fiction books. One example of this comes at the end, after all the archives had been closed and research completed, Duffus poignantly visits the graveyard of Black Beard's real sister, and leaves behind a rose for her in memory of her brother. There is no doubt the author is not only passionate about his subject, but true to him and his family to the very end.
    I highly recommend enjoying this book. I was left knowing that there was no need to question or disagree with the new information provided because of the presentation of historical research, archived documents, the links in the chain that are seemingly unbreakable, and again, because of the author's passionate tone throughout the book that proves to this reader, "Of course this is how it just feels right." Aye, wishin' another pint for Mr. Beard, and well done, Mr. Duffus, well done.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2009

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