Cindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer
P.O. Box 425, Keller, TX 76244-0425
Books for Adults - Nonfiction
The height of the Golden Age of Piracy lasted a mere ten years, yet the pirates of that time have influenced writers, readers, and movies to the present day. The Republic of Pirates focuses on three of the most notorious pirates – Blackbeard, Sam Bellamy, and Charles Vane – and the man responsible for changing the Caribbean from a haven of pirates to a place where law-abiding citizens could live. His name was Woodes Rogers. But the story of these men begins long before Rogers arrives in the Bahamas. Nor were these four men the only outlaws and pirate hunters who participated in the events as they unfolded. This is why Colin Woodard begins his tale in 1696 with Henry Avery’s arrival in the Bahamas.
What makes this book different from so many others on this topic is that Woodard relies on primary documents deposited in British and American archives to recreate the places, clothing, vessels, events, and weather in which these people lived. By combining legal testimony with letters, logs, and other tidbits recorded in historical registers, the Caribbean of the early eighteenth century comes alive. Woodard seamlessly interweaves this information into a gripping account that reads more like a novel than a non-fiction book. Through vivid imagery, the reader sees what it was like to be a sailor in this time period, to grow up hearing tales of adventurous pirates who earned riches beyond most men’s dreams, to go down with the ship during a vicious storm, or to stand before the crowds waiting for the noose to tighten. The Republic of Pirates shows what these romanticized men were really like and what effect they had on governments and law-abiding people. It is not a tale for the faint of heart, but it is an honest portrayal of what it was like to live when pirates ruled the sea.
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Note: Several times the author refers to the current ruling monarch of Britain as being of the House of Hanover. For those who’ve not studied British history, the House of Hanover became the House of Windsor during World War I in an effort to distance itself from its German connections.
Book Review Copyright ©2008 Cindy Vallar
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