Cindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer
P.O. Box 425, Keller, TX 76244-0425
Books for Adults - Nonfiction
Note to readers
As of January 2012, I recommend that you contact the publishers of these magazines if you're considering subscribing to them. I know that Pirates Magazine is broke, but hopes to publish one last issue. Pyrates Magazine is supposedly going to be available online for free. Subscribers receive print copies of the magazine, but only once the publisher has the money to pay for the printing and mailing. As to No Quarter Given, I have not heard from the publisher, but will update this page once I do.
Whenever I review, I attempt to provide readers with a candid and fair evaluation of the item. Normally, I do not have any association with what I’m reading, but that is not the case with any of the magazines below. I’ve been a long-time subscriber and a contributor to No Quarter Given. Mark “Cap’n Slappy” Summer recently interviewed me, as well as two other ladies, for his Summer 2007 column “Profiles in Pirattitude” that appears in Pirates Magazine. I recently became one of the content editors, as well as a contributor to, The Pyrates Way. I felt you should be aware of my ties with these magazines before you read my reviews.
No Quarter Given Pirates Magazine The Pyrates Way
A Final Reviewer's Note
No Quarter Given
Editor, Christine Markel Lampe
Publisher, Michael Lampe
Bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, November
Annual Subscriptions: US $12 ($18 for First Class delivery)
Canada and Mexico $20 (US), Elsewhere $30 (US)
Single Issue Price: $2.50
Around since 1993, No Quarter Given is in its fourteenth year of publication. Each issue is twenty pages long and printed in black ink on parchment-colored paper. The cover art1 always depicts a pirate – fictional or real – or a piratical scene that shows these rogues in their true colors. Pages are designed like tattered scrolls common in earlier centuries. Advertisements are placed on separate pages throughout the magazine.
The various sections of the magazine have appropriate names: Letters from the Sea (Letters to the Editor), Ship’s Bill of Lading – List of Cargo (Table of Contents), Notes from the Helm (Editor’s Note), Flotsam & Jetsam (Pirate News), On the Horizon (Calendar of Events), and Smugglers Market (Ads). The staff, artists, and contributors are always given credit. Contact information for the magazine and how to acquire contributors’ guidelines and advertising rates is provided. Each issue also includes a list of “Crews to Sign With,” although the list of re-enactor groups has become so long that each issue lists a different region each time. The complete list can be found at the magazine’s website.
Those who contribute articles include historians, authors, re-enactors, artists, actors, and others with a passion for piratical times. While most articles discuss some aspect of the people, life, and weaponry of the Buccaneers and Golden Age, contributions also cover other periods. Some writers include bibliographies or resources so readers can seek additional information on the topics.
Sampling of Articles“Books for Buccaneers” reviews the latest non-fiction and novels for adults and children and “Music for Marauders” informs readers about the latest CDs. Films and games are also reviewed. Over the years a number of stories have appeared in No Quarter Given. They are always piratical in nature and are run as serials, much like magazines of yore did.
Avoiding an Embarrassing Failure to Fire by Tom Crudbeard, Gunner on P/V Must Roos Boarding Weapons at ISMAC by Gareth Thomas, Director of Historic Maritime Combat Association Close Fights at Sea: Boarding Ship-to-Ship 1630-1730 by Benerson Little, author of The Sea Rover’s Practice Further Tales of a Caribbean Pirate by Jerry Reyes, an actor who appears in Pirates of the Caribbean Guidelines for Flying Pirates by Claire Britton-Warren2 Modern Piracy by Cindy Vallar, Editor of Pirates and Privateers
Aside from the articles and reviews, “Flotsam & Jetsam” is one of the treasures of this magazine. It keeps the reader up-to-date on all manner of piratical news. Some are provided by the editor, but she also includes newsworthy items from readers. Many are about upcoming events and entertainment news of interest to pirates. Some contributions also provide readers with information about places to visit or treasures to buy when gold fills their pockets. A few tidbits provide intriguing historical tidbits, such as Cap’n Lane’s short piece on how bosoms were measured in times past.
According to Christine Lampe (also known as “Jamaica” Rose Barton), No Quarter Given is “the clearinghouse for those interested in pirates, privateers & nautical history. Whether ye be interested in the buccaneers and privateers of the Caribbean Sea, the Elizabethan Sea Dogs, the Barbary Corsairs or Laffite’s pirates of Barataria, we’ll be havin’ something of interest to ya. We bring you the history, lore, romance, and sheer adventure of bein’ a pirate or privateer.” Without any reservations, No Quarter Given lives up to all these claims. It is a treasure trove of material for anyone with a passion or interest in pirates. It is also the matriarch of the pirate magazines available today, having gotten its start when she and Michael “belonged to a local pirate crew.” When you open an issue, you know what's inside will delight, entertain, inform, and enlighten. Past issues, which are still available individually or as sets, contain more information than one of the Spanish galleons laden with gold, silver, and gems that made pirates’ hearts race and brought tears to their eyes as they dreamt of riches beyond their reckoning.
No Quarter Given has a professional look that immediately captures your imagination beginning with each cover. It easily transports you to another place and time. The amount and quality of the material packed into each issue make it a bargain for even the poorest of pirates. If the magazine itself isn’t enough, you can also subscribe to a regular newsletter delivered via e-mail with updates between issues, and the website has a wealth of information to plunder – from events and crews to merchants and books to tall ships and ports of call. It also maintains a list of buccaneers for hire. Perhaps the No Quarter Given website says it best:Come hear the thunder of the big guns, and blasts of the muzzleloaders,…feel the creakin’ deck roll under yer feet and yer cutlass bangin’ aginst the back of yer knees. We’ll tell you when, where, and how. Or, if you prefer to do yer sea-rovin’ from yer armchair, we’ll supply you with plenty o’ tales to spice yer imagination.1Of the issues examined, the artists whose works appear on the covers are Don Maitz, Richard Becker, and Tony Fanning.
2This is one of several articles that dealt with the subject of flying with cutlasses, pistols, and other weaponry used by pirates of the past. It stems from an incident involving one re-enactor who was arrested by airport security.
Managing Editor, Mike George
Publisher, Kim Cross
Quarterly: Summer, Autum, Winter, Spring
Annual Subscriptions: US $26 ($50 for two years), Canada $38 (US; $62 for two years);
Prices vary outside the United States, but the magazine notifies potential
subscribers with the actual cost prior to processing charges.
Single Issue Price: $9.95
In its premiere issue, Pirates Magazine announced it “is dedicated to pirate enthusiasts, re-enactors and those who love pirate stories and tales of the sea.” Within the full-color glossy pages they delve “into the history behind the myths, the literature and art” pirates inspire. They also cover maritime museums, historic shipwrecks, pirate festivals and re-enactors, and the finest artisans of pirate clothing, weaponry, and accessories. Each issue offers feature articles and interviews, a variety of regular features, and lots of artwork.
From the start, a number of well-known pirates and mariners have been associated with the magazine: Jamaica Rose, Pat Croce, and Jean-Michel Cousteau to name a few. Each issue features a calendar of piratical events around the world, “Scroll Quest” (a treasure hunt), Cousteau’s column, Cap’n Slappy’s “Profiles in Pirattitude,” poetry and fiction, spotlights on vendors, John Rasmus’ “A Pirate’s Journal,” “Know yer Knots,” and reviews of books and games. New to the Winter issue is “Scuttlebutt” and “Seadawg News,” which provide tidbits on events and items of interest to pirates. Advertisements appear throughout the magazine.
Sampling of Articles
- The Wreck of the Queen Anne’s Revenge
- Baltimore Knife & Sword
- Pat Croce’s Pirate Soul by Mariam George
- Games Pirates Played by Jamaica Rose
- The Great Pirate Roberts (1682-1722) by Mike Ezell, a screenwriter and former US Marine and police officer
- Don Maitz
- Face to the Wind: The Curious History of Ships’ Figureheads by Joelle Mellon and Richard Hunter
- The Allure of Pirates; Or, Why We Love Men with Bad Teeth by Nancy Berman
- The Pirate Wore Calico: John “Calico Jack” Rackham by Cliff Long
- Treasure of Many Colors: The Calico Trade in the 1700’s by Leslie Dotson
Between the first and second issues, Cliff Long joined the staff as the new managing editor.* He redesigned the magazine and improved its layout. The editing has improved, although additional copyediting would help eliminate the duplication of words and correct misspellings. While later articles usually list the author, few of them include any pertinent information that would explain the writer’s knowledge of the subject. I also spotted an error or two in my readings. The historical contributions now include resources so readers know where to find additional information, although one or two cited articles from Wikipedia, a somewhat dubious resource since it has no editorial control. While the staff wants to hear your ideas and contact information is provided, the magazine is not forthcoming in contributors’ guidelines.
The cover art, which highlights one of the articles featured in the issue, and inside photography are stunning. Seeing the products the artisans craft is helpful to those seeking art, weaponry, ships, costumes, and other wares to add to their outfits and collections. The magazine does have a website, but at present it consists mostly of announcements of issue releases, subscription and advertising information, and the magazine’s store. It eventually will launch its own piracy forum, but for now provides links to four established forums.
As the magazine has evolved, its goal has altered somewhat. Now the staff at Pirates Magazine wish to “provide a magazine which is thought provoking, fun, scholarly, informative, and more important than anything, something you will look forward to from season to season.” For the most part, I believe they achieve this while catering to both pirates and mariners. It is not, however, a magazine that will suit everyone. The focus is definitely geared toward those who want to learn more about the history of piracy and the artisans who help re-enactors and others keep the swashbuckling romance of pirates alive. Pirates Magazine is still in its infancy and as it ages, I suspect it will evolve until it becomes a fine wine to savor.
* Since this review was published, there has been a change in managing editors. The current editor, Mike George, assures me that they will continue to publish Pirates Magazine, even though they missed one issue.
Summer 2007 Issue
The Pyrates Way
Managing Editor, Kevin Arrington
Publisher, Steve “The Black Fox” Kimball
Quarterly: Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer
Annual Subscriptions: US $22 ($40 for two years)
Canada $34 (US; $64 for two years), Elsewhere $50 (US; $96 for two years)
Single Issue Price: $5.95
The seed that sprouted into The Pyrates Way began in October 2005, but a year passed before the first issue of “A Magazine FOR Pyrates Created BY Pyrates!” appeared in print. The wait, and the trials and tribulations encountered, were well worth it. Steve is the first to admit that he gears the magazine toward the pirate enthusiast and that it has a PG/R rating. His experience in Art Direction and his training in Publication Design show through from cover to cover in this glossy, full-color magazine.
The magazine is divided into two sections: Ship’s Articles (features) and This Issue’s Treasure (columns). Some of the articles are courtesy of organizations, businesses, and places. Authors of individual articles are sometimes identified with the article, but are always credited in “Pillaged Sources,” which lists the resources consulted in the writing of the features. Sometimes the author’s credentials are also included. One article each quarter is devoted to rum.
Sampling of Articles
Among the regular segments of the magazine are Pyrate Scratch (Letters to the Editor), Crew Quarters (Who’s Who and staff bios), Pyrate Events Calendar (worldwide with those the magazine will attend highlighted), Wenches of the Quarter (pirate ladies vying for top honors), Pyrate Media Reviews (DVDs, books, and CDs), Lollygag (crossword puzzles, jokes, and cartoons), Thank Ye, ’tis Classified Mate, and Final Salvo (Commentary from The Black Fox). Each issue also alerts readers to what’s coming in the next issue. Festivals are spotlighted. Sometimes submission information for photos, articles, stories, and art is also included. Advertisements appear throughout the magazine.
- Captain Hook: The Man Behind the Myth by Steve Kimball
- Fells Point: When Pyrates Ruled Baltimore by Steve Kimball
- Tattoos and Pyracy: The Ink Lynk by Cynthia Rouz
- Bartholomew Roberts: A Most Unlikely Pyrate by Kevin Arrington
- Stede Bonnet: The Phantom Menace by Daniel R. Baker
The professional layout is graphic intensive and the print size is easy on the eyes. The magazine has several editors and proofreaders, but on rare occasions I found misspellings, wrong words, or duplicate words as I read. “Pyrate Scratch” includes letters for and against the magazine with responses from the editor. The reviews aren’t always of recently published items, which is rare, and after the first issue, they provided a lot more information about the media being reviewed and opinions about it. There is also a parrot-rating system at the end of each review. In the issues I read there was no consistency in the presentation of the quarterly pirate events, although I liked the additional information that was provided for each festival in the Autumn one and knowing where the magazine would appear in the Spring one. The artwork is vivid, realistic, and entertaining. It take readers to places they might not be able to visit in person.
One special note about the Wenches of the Quarter. While I’m not a particular fan of the word “wench” – possibly because I’m a more scholarly pirate – it is a term the rogues used. Lady pyrates are invited to submit their best photo of themselves to the magazine. In each issue there are several pages of these lovely ladies for readers’ perusal. Then you’re invited to visit the The Pyrates Way website and vote for the wench deserving a page on “The Pyrates Way Calendar” and a chance to be named “Hottest Wench of the Seven Seas” in an annual contest. Quarterly winners receive a free subscription and the annual winner receives real treasure. Some readers find this one of their favorite sections of the magazine. Others hate it. Some photos are tasteful, in my opinion, and others show a bit too much flesh – so readers are forewarned. According to “Pyrate Scratch,” they only received one “anti-wench” letter, but as the editor explains, “As we’re a pyrate magazine, wenches in all of their glory are a huge part of the entertainment factor of each issue. Although I try to keep the photos from putting our magazine in the higher-adult racks, we are trying to appeal to the pyrate in everyone.” Of course, if wenches and pirates are indelibly entwined as history says, why aren’t there Pyrates of the Quarter, too?
Although the website would benefit from a larger font size, it is an informative site that seems to be updated regularly. It contains the usual information for subscribing and advertising, as well as how to purchase back issues, voting for the Wench of the Quarter, pirate news, Pyrates Way Radio, Wikipedia Pyratica, locations where you can purchase the magazine in person, the Pyrates Way blog, and more. Perhaps one of the more interesting reads is the history of The Pyrates Way.
Were I a pirate of yore, this might well be the magazine I would want with me on those tedious, boring days at sea when there’s no prize in sight and no wind to fill our sails. It’s fun. It’s entertaining. It’s informative. Most importantly, it’s a pyrate’s magazine that brightens your day, no matter how bad it is. It will only get better with age.
A Final Reviewer’s NoteEach of these magazines is a worthy addition to a pirate’s collection, but you must decide which best suits your needs. No Quarter Given is the best for the history and how-to’s. It may not have the flash the other two do, but it is tried and true – not only because of its age, but because the contributors are clearly identified and qualified to write what they write. Pirates Magazine provides education laced with “wow,” but it’s not quite scholarly yet. The Pyrates Way is equivalent to pirate shore leave after the treasure has been divided. If I were to rate them, which I don’t usually do, No Quarter Given would be the Admiral of the Pirate Fleet; Pirates Magazine would be the Quartermaster; and The Pyrates Way would be the Crew. And in case you think the last be less than stellar, remember that there were far more pirates than there were quartermasters and admirals. Without the crew, there wouldn’t be either of the other two ranks.
Reviews copyrighted © 2007 Cindy Vallar
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