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The History of Maritime Piracy

Cindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer
P.O. Box 425, Keller, TX  76244-0425


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Cover Art: Drake: For God, Queen, and
          Plunder

Drake: For God, Queen, and Plunder
By Wade G. Dudley
Brasseyís, 2003, ISBN 1-57488-406-9, $19.95

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To the English he was a national hero who played a pivotal role in thwarting Spainís attempts to invade England. To the Spanish he was El Draque, a heretic and pirate who plundered without mercy. Sir Francis Drake, a commoner at birth, entered the ranks of the nobility as one of Queen Elizabethís most fearsome Sea Dogs and became a legend in his own time.

Born around 1540 when religious strife pitted upstart Protestant England against devout Catholic Spain, Drake became an ardent supporter of the new religion. With Henry VIIIís death, Catholicism reared its head again in England, and like other Protestants who feared reprisals for their beliefs, Drakeís family left their successful farm to reside in the hulk of a ship in near poverty. Yet, this move brought Drake into close proximity with seamen and ships, which opened a new world to him. As a teenager, he fostered with the Hawkins family, who owned several ships. Drake worked his way through the ranks from ordinary seaman to captain of his own ship, and in the process made a name for himself as an accomplished mariner, trader, and soldier.

His seafaring ventures brought him wealth and success as a merchant. His seizure of the Spanish ship, Cacafuego--the richest treasure galleon ever plundered--and his circumnavigation of the globe brought him prestige. In spite of becoming a knight of the realm, Drake didnít achieve the acceptance he sought. Some members of the nobility considered him no better than a pirate because of his ill-gotten gains.

Although brief in pages, this succinct biography of Sir Francis Drake is a marvelous introduction to both the man and the myth. Wade Dudleyís knack for examining the totality of time and place within its historical setting provides the reader with a focused understanding of the events that influenced Drakeís life and beliefs. A consummate storyteller, the author holds the readerís interest while teaching him to look at history with a fresh eye and urging him to explore the subject in more detail.

Book Review Copyright ©2003 Cindy Vallar


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