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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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Books for Pirate Apprentices and Young Adults



 
 

Cover Art: Blackbeard
Cover Art: Bartholomew Roberts
Cover Art: Captain Kidd
Pirates: Blackbeard
by Susan Hamilton
ISBN 978-1-59928-757-7
Pirates: Bartholomew Roberts
by Susan Hamilton
ISBN 978-1-59928-757-7
Pirates:Captain Kidd
by Susan Hamilton
ISBN 978-1-59928-757-7

 
Cover Art: Henry Morgan
Cover Art: History of Pirates
Pirates: Henry Morgan
by Susan Hamilton
SBN 978-1-59928-757-7
Pirates: A History of Pirates
by John Hamilton
    ISBN 978-1-59928-757-7

 
Cover Art: A Pirate's Life
Cover Art: Pirates in the Media
Cover Art: Pirate Ships and Weapons
Pirates: A Pirate’s Life
by John Hamilton
ISBN 978-1-59928-757-7
Pirates in the Media
by John Hamilton
ISBN 978-1-59928-757-7
Pirate Ships & Weapons
by John Hamilton
ISBN 978-1-59928-757-7

ABDO Publishing, 2007, Individual book price: $24.21, Series price: $193.68

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This series of eight books explores all facets of maritime piracy in the Caribbean during the Buccaneer era and the Golden Age of Piracy. Each book contains full-color, double-page spreads detailing pirate life or the exploits of a particular pirate. All titles also include a glossary and index. The information is easy to read and holds a child’s interest. The reading level of the series is Grade 5, but students in Grades 4 through 8 will enjoy these books. The colorful covers immediately catch your eye and provide a glimpse of the booty to be found within a book’s pages. Wonderful pictures illustrate the text and include those from history, as well as those created by artists today, the most noted of which is Don Maitz.

Bartholomew Roberts explores the life and adventures of the most successful pirate of the period. In less than four years, he captured 400 ships. From birth to death, Sue Hamilton provides readers with a glimpse into Roberts’ life, explaining how he came to be a pirate and why he didn’t fit the stereotype we associate with pirates. She claims his mates called him “Black Barty,” but other accounts say this was a moniker bestowed on him long after his death.

The illustrations in Blackbeard clearly show how this master of intimidation earned his reputation. The book discusses his flag ship (Queen Anne’s Revenge), how he modified his appearance to insight fear, his blockade of Charleston, and the fateful battle in which he lost his head. While the majority of the book relies on facts and evidence, the author presents Blackbeard’s many wives as fact, rather than legend.

Captain Kidd explores this privateer-turned-pirate’s early life and the events that led to his subsequent trial and hanging for murder and piracy.

Henry Morgan is the only title that discusses the buccaneers. Topics covered include the Brethren of the Coast, torture, raids, and Morgan’s exploits, including his arrest and retirement.

A History of Pirates defines what a pirate is, then looks at the different areas of the world in which piracy flourished at different points in time. The difference between a pirate and a privateer is also explored.

Pirate Ships & Weapons examines the swords, firearms, guns, and improvised tools pirates used to capture a prize, as well as the ships they sailed. Also covered are the Jolly Roger and pirate tactics.

Contrary to what we see on the movie screen being a pirate wasn’t a glamourous adventure. A Pirate’s Life dispels some of these myths as it looks at who’s who in the crew, life at sea, punishments inflicted on and by pirates, treasure, pets, clothing, and some words pirates might have spoken. This book also examines women and black pirates, as well as pirate lore.

The final title in the series is Pirates in the Media. John Hamilton explores books (Treasure Island and Captain Hook), drama from The Pirates of Penzance to Pirates of the Caribbean, computer games, and pirate art. It’s a good introduction to pirates in pop culture.

Pirates is an excellent first introduction into the world of pirates, particularly those who preyed on shipping in the Caribbean from the mid-17th century to 1730. The fascinating artwork brings the subjects to life, captivating the reader as he/she explores the various facets of these maritime villains. The reinforced binding allows for frequent use, for these books will probably spend more time in readers’ hands than on bookshelves.
 
 

Book Review Copyright ©2007 Cindy Vallar


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