Cindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer
P.O. Box 425, Keller, TX 76244-0425
Books for Adults - Nonfiction
We often assume piracy in the western world is and was the same as that found in the eastern world, but as Adam Young aptly points out, it is and was not. For nearly 2,000 years piracy has been a part of life in Southeast Asia. Social and political changes over the centuries have caused this villainy to adapt to these changes. Whether in the past or the present, these crimes have common traits that include “socio-cultural views, economic growth with concomitant political development, poverty and inefficient distribution of wealth, and fragmented or challenged hegemony”. In his analysis of piracy in history, as well as modern day, Young focuses on the state, for without the cooperation of all nation states, piracy in this region will continue.
The book begins with a glossary, for many terms associated with piracy in Southeast Asia are words with which most readers won’t be familiar. After the introduction, an examination is made of historical piracy followed by causes of piracy today. Young concludes by summarizing this study and suggesting ways in which nation states might work together to eliminate pirate attacks. He includes two appendices that provide information on UNCLOS and SUA (two laws addressing the problem), and statistics on attacks. The book contains both a detailed index and bibliography, and all citations are footnoted at the end of each chapter.
What sets this book apart from others is that Young provides a historical perspective to assist us in understanding piracy in the region today. This is a key element in fighting pirates, for if we lack a good grounding in the past, which differs greatly from that of the West, we cannot comprehend what’s happening in Southeast Asia today, both in terms of the scope and frequency of attacks and why nation states are so reticent to accept assistance. Of equal importance is the comparison between western concepts of piracy versus the reality of piracy in eastern waters. Without clearly understanding these two facets, this crime will continue to plague maritime shipping.
Book Review copyrighted © 2008 Cindy Vallar
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