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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 Adults - Nonfiction

Cover Art: Pirates
Pirates: A History
By Tim Travers
The History Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0-7524-4852-7, US $24.95 / CAN $27.95 / £12.99


Pirates is a compendium of the history of high seas villainy, and Travers focuses on piracy worldwide, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Caribbean to Asian waters. Divided into ten chapters, the book introduces readers to ďThe Pirate World,Ē particularly that of the mid 17th through the early 18th centuries. The author discusses democracy, Africans on pirate ships, marooning, women pirates, food and drink, swearing, treasure, weaponry, cruelty, death and repentance. The other chapters are presented in a more chronological sequence:
  • From Classical to the Medieval Mediterranean
  • Piracy in the Northern World
  • The Elizabethan Sea Rovers and the Jacobean Pirates
  • Buccaneers of the Caribbean
  • The Madagascar Men
  • Death to the Pirates
  • The Barbary Corsairs of North Africa
  • Pirates of the Eastern Seas
  • The Road to Modern Piracy
Throughout the text, Travers incorporates primary quotations to illustrate points where available. The epilogue sums up points of comparison throughout the history of piracy. Also included are a page of definitions explaining the differences between the various terms used to denote pirates, more than one hundred illustrations and maps, chapter notes, a bibliography, and an index.
Histories of piracy arenít new, but what makes Pirates stand out is how much information is incorporated into 316 pages. Itís presented in an easy-to-read and easy-to-follow fashion, although the text is in small print. The narrative engages the reader and some illustrative quotes havenít appeared in other books. Any reader in search of a thorough, but manageable history of maritime piracy will find Pirates a worthy investment.
Review Copyrighted ©2009 Cindy Vallar

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