Cindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer
P.O. Box 425, Keller, TX 76244-0425
Books for Adults - Nonfiction
“A swashbuckling history of adventure on the high seas,” this book explores maritime piracy from ancient times to the present day, as well as pirates in popular culture. It begins with a top ten list on what you’ll learn by reading this book, then presents twenty-one chapters about the history and culture of pirates. A host of notorious pirates are introduced – some well known, others rarely heard of.
The book’s organization is basically chronological, but there are a few chapters where the information presented is subject specific. For example, Chapter 15 concentrates on women pirates through the ages, while the next chapter examines pirate havens. The main text is enhanced with four types of highlighted tips. Pieces of Eight provide facts; Shiver Me Timbers defines piratical and nautical terms; Scuttlebutt concerns issues about pirates; and Sea Rovers highlight specific rogues. Each chapter begins with a brief introduction of the contents therein and ends with a lead-in to the next chapter. Appendix A is a glossary, while Appendix B is a compendium of famous pirates. Appendix C contains Piratespeak and Appendix D is list of books for further reading. There is also an extensive index.
There are a few minor glitches, (Barbarossa means “red beard,” rather than “Father Aruj;” the relevance of the quartermaster versus the lieutenant on a pirate ship; the date of Stede Bonnet’s execution; Jean Laffite was the youngest of two brothers, not the oldest; the substitution of Walter Kennedy’s name for Joseph Thwaites) but most readers won’t even notice these missteps, and on a grand scale in comparison to the book’s value, they are insignificant.
Similar to the Complete Idiot guides in format, I found myself enjoying this presentation more. It’s straightforward and easy to read. This book is a good introduction to the topic, and the inclusion of the recommended reading list allows readers to delve further into piracy. Subheadings make it easy to locate information, and the layout doesn’t strain the eyes. What makes The Everything Pirates Book a gem is the tidbits of information it contains. I applaud the inclusion of Chinese pirates, Bermuda as a pirate haven, and modern maritime piracy, which are often overlooked or skimmed over in similar books. The authors delve into why pirates favored Cuba and devote an entire chapter to clothing – a subject readers often ask about, but usually gets short shrift. Kudos also go to this book because Karg and Spaite stepped away from the normal “X marks the spot” explanations to concentrate on the true treasures – pirate and Spanish galleon shipwrecks and the lost city of Port Royal. The Everything Pirates Book delivers what it promises – a swashbuckling history of pirates in history, as well as today.
Review copyrighted © 2008 Cindy Vallar
Home Pirate Articles Pirate Links Book Reviews Thistles & Pirates
Click on the Cannon to Contact Me