Cindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer
P.O. Box 425, Keller, TX 76244-0425
Books for Adults - Nonfiction
What if we got it wrong? What if the accepted version of Edward Teach’s life contains elements of the truth, but also incorporates inaccuracies? This is the premise of Kevin Duffus’ book, and he lays out his hypothesis in careful detail. Lest the reader think this is entirely supposition, the author backs up his claims, when possible, with primary evidence and readily admits he hasn’t connected all the dots yet. In places where this occurs, the text appears in italics.
Duffus’ quest begins with Sister Susie, a tale oft told in eastern North Carolina. As the chapters unfold, he presents evidence that illuminates his hypothesis, and at times he’s most convincing. He believes that contrary to what history has led us to believe, Blackbeard was not from Bristol, England, but from North Carolina. Nor was his last name Teach or Thatch, which is why the author spells Blackbeard as two words rather than one.
The story is as fascinating to read as Duffus’ vigilant attention to its presentation. In the publishing industry, this book is what used to be called a coffee table book. Beautiful color photographs abound. Maps assist the reader in following the trails of various pirates and events.As a writer of historical fiction, I particularly enjoyed reading Chapter Two, which is an intriguing look at how we’ve come to know what we know, or think we know, about Blackbeard. It was also refreshing to find an author who plainly explains why Blackbeard named his flagship Queen Anne’s Revenge. Duffus’ research involved tracking down little-known historical documents in archives as far away as England, a journey that makes for compelling reading.
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