Villains of all nations : Atlantic pirates in the golden age /
Marcus Rediker.
Boston : Beacon Press, c2004.
240 p. : ill.
0807050245 (alk. paper)
More Details
Boston : Beacon Press, c2004.
0807050245 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2004-04-19:
Rediker (Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea), a historian of maritime labor, opens his immensely readable study of the "golden age" of piracy (1716-1726) with the spectacle of an execution in which a notorious pirate, unrepentant and seemingly unconcerned to be facing death, reties the knot of his gallows noose with defiant ironic humor. For Rediker, pirates were bold subversives who challenged the prevailing social order and empire building of the five main trading nations. Emphasizing the hardship, injustice and brutality the average sailor faced in his career, Rediker suggests that piracy offered a more egalitarian seafaring life, as well as opportunities for revenge on the ruling class. Rediker uses captives' accounts, among other sources, to show how pirates meted out their own system of justice, torturing captains reputed for their harsh treatment of sailors, yet sparing others known for fairness. He explores pirate dialects, rituals and symbols, and shows how pirates inverted social norms, creating a carnivalesque way of life that featured fraternal solidarity, a precapitalist share system and the wanton destruction of property. A chapter on picaresque women pirates reveals links between their iconic image and Delacroix's painting Liberty. Using statistics to show convincingly that by the 1720s piracy posed a real threat to global trade, Rediker describes how nations launched a military-legal campaign against piracy, with cannon battles and gruesome public executions. Rediker uses this apocalyptic close of piracy's golden age to explore its suicidal side. Although Rediker's short study does not tackle later myths of piracy, it provides penetrating background to our enduring cultural fascination with the seafaring outlaws. Illus. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Choice on 2004-11-01:
Scholar of Atlantic history Rediker (Univ. of Pittsburgh) has published a number of books and articles involving piracy, most notably Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (CH, Jan'88). This is his first book devoted solely to pirates themselves, however, examining particularly the era from 1716-26. Considering Rediker's past insights, this is a surprisingly standard collection of pirate lore, drawing heavily on Charles Johnson's 1724 General History of the Pyrates; explaining oft-examined pirate customs such as ship's articles; and recounting the exploits of famous pirates. Rediker's class-focused approach sheds light on the material, but he makes relatively few new assertions; rather, this book summarizes his understanding of piracy by drawing on his published previously work. It also highlights the continued relevance of pirate history. The author's examination of terrorist methods used by pirates and the authorities they rebelled against invites comparison to today's conflicts. While examining pirates' alternative social order, Rediker still conveys the romantic appeal of piracy: "Out of this complex array of forces would climb the pirate, with a dagger between his teeth." This informed, enthusiastic approach is an excellent introduction to pirates and a worthwhile reexamination for pirate devotees. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Public libraries, undergraduate collections, and above. W. L. Svitavsky Rollins College
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, April 2004
Booklist, June 2004
Reference & Research Book News, August 2004
Choice, November 2004
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Table of Contents
A Tale of Two Terrorsp. 1
The Political Arithmetic of Piracyp. 19
Who Will Go "a Pyrating"?p. 38
"The New Government of the Ship"p. 60
"To Do Justice to Sailors"p. 83
The Women Pirates: Anne Bonny and Mary Readp. 103
"To Extirpate Them Out of the World"p. 127
"Defiance of Death Itself"p. 148
Conclusion: Blood and Goldp. 170
Notesp. 177
Acknowledgmentsp. 222
Indexp. 226
Table of Contents provided by Rittenhouse. All Rights Reserved.

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