A handful of sea stories define the American maritime narrative. Stories of whaling, fishing, exploration, naval adventure, and piracy have always captured our imaginations, and the most colorful of these are the tales of piracy. Called America’s real-life Robinson Crusoe, the true story of Philip Ashton—a nineteen-year-old fisherman captured by pirates, impressed as a crewman, subjected to torture and hardship, who eventually escaped and lived as a castaway and scavenger on a deserted island in the Caribbean—was at one time as well known as the tales of Cooper, Hawthorne, and Defoe. Based on a rare copy of Ashton’s 1725 account, Gregory N. Flemming’s vivid portrait recounts this maritime world during the golden age of piracy. Fishing vessels and merchantmen plied the coastal waters and crisscrossed the Atlantic and Caribbean. It was a hard, dangerous life, made more so by both the depredations and temptations of piracy. Chased by the British Royal Navy, blown out of the water or summarily hung when caught, pirate captains such as Edward Low kidnapped, cajoled, beat, and bribed men like Ashton into the rich—but also vile, brutal, and often short—life of the pirate. In the tradition of Nathaniel Philbrick, At the Point of a Cutlass expands on a lost classic narrative of America and the sea, and brings to life a forgotten world of ships and men on both sides of maritime law.
|Publisher:||University Press of New England|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
GREGORY N. FLEMMING is a former journalist who holds a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He lives with his family in New England. His website is www.gregflemming.com.
Table of Contents
Prologue: July 19, 1723
To the Azores
The Bay of Honduras
As One Coming from the Dead
Pirate Executions and Pirate Treasure
What People are Saying About This
“More than just a meticulously researched account of an epic survival story, and more than a surprisingly intimate look inside the lives of the victims of 18th century pirates and the politics of piracy, At the Point of a Cutlass is a thrilling voyage with plenty of ‘Arghh Matey!!’ and grog to go around.”
“A dark and fascinating tale. At the Point of a Cutlass takes us into corners of the pirate life we haven’t been before. …one of the most harrowing survival stories of the colonial era.”
“Gregory Flemming’s account of Philip Ashton’s fascinating odyssey is superb. A deeply religious cod fisherman, Ashton survived capture by depraved pirates and months alone on an uninhabited Caribbean island. Eventually rescued, he returned to Marblehead, Massachusetts, to tell his incomparable tale, which gained the attention and admiration of Cotton Mather, his disciple John Barnard, and Daniel Defoe.”
“Pirates have begun to attract serious and talented scholars and writers in recent years; Gregory N. Flemmingexemplifies the trend inAt the Point of a Cutlass. Here is the powerful story of Philip Ashton's life-and-death encounter with the notorious sea-robber Ned Low and his swaggering band of pirates. Flemming's dramatic history of real pirates is vastly better than the Hollywood version!”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Fast-paced true story of a New England pirate captive, the pirate crew that captured him, and how he survived by escaping.
A few (very few) interesting moments. This book was so dull that I may keep it as a sleep aid. I am sorry that I shelled out my hard earned money for the hardcover.