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Empire of Blue Water: Captain Morgan's Great Pirate Army, the Epic Battle for the Americas, and the Catastrophe That Ended the Outlaws' Bloody Reign Paperback – April 22, 2008
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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More About the Author
Talty lives outside New York City with his wife and two children. You can visit his website at www.stephantalty.com.
Top Customer Reviews
Empire of Blue Water---which has a beautiful cover, I might add---is primarily the story of Captain Henry Morgan, 1635-1688, the ultimate embodiment of buccaneer and raider in the great age of sail. Living a life that lends credence to the old maxim about truth being stranger than fiction, the flamboyant, fearless Morgan, son of minor Welsh gentry, proceeded to attack his nation's foes from Cuba to the coasts of South America and back again across a string of islands in a series of audacious flanking strikes that not only rattled the Spanish from the New World to Madrid, but lead to Spain's making a peace treaty with England that was highly beneficial to England's interests.
Stephan Talty also dishes up the de rigueur gossip and dirt on other pirates who sailed the Caribbean waters, sometimes acting in one nation's interest, sometimes that of another, most often simply dwelling as seaborne opportunists who sought profit and adventure wherever it was to be found. Fans of Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean series will probably enjoy reading about the exploits of real life counterparts to the fictional characters in the film, who were every bit as conniving, lawless and savage as might be expected. (Or hoped.Read more ›
Nevertheless, Talty's style can be engaging when he refrains from modernisms, and the book did provide some historical context for Henry Morgan's exploits. The introductory chapters on Gage and the settlement of Jamaica, as well as closing chapters concerning the years when Henry Morgan was deputy Governor of Jamaica were worth reading. But there is too much in between that has been refuted by the historical record, such as Exquemeling's lurid descriptions of torture which, if they were true, would have found their way into Spanish reports.
Empire of Blue Water begins with the British trying to muscle in on Spain's hold in the New World by conquering Jamaica. At the time, Welshman Henry Morgan was a young sailor. But by the end of his life, he proved to be one of the most influential men in the Caribbean and helped to change the course of world history.
There was a thin line between being a private or a privateer, with Morgan being in the latter group. Privateering was actually invented by Henry VIII. This cash-strapped king offered commissions to sea captains to harass the French, attacking and capturing enemy ships. But unlike regular pirates, privateers gave a percentage of their "profits" to the crown. A romantic imagine exists today about pirates, but pirating was a very hard and dangerous life. But unlike most jobs, pirating was a "democratic institution." "The most important decisions were made from the bottom up." As for leadership, "the captain was only in charge when the crew was fighting, chasing a ship, or being chased."
Henry Morgan made a name (and a fortune) for himself by amassing large groups of pirates and staging four of the most daring raids of that period. They were against Granada, Portobello, Maracaibo and Panama. The Caribbean was akin to the Wild West in these days and Morgan proved to be a bold and brilliant leader. His cunning strategies allowed him to assess the weaknesses of the Spanish and to beat them at almost every turn. When England and Spain finally signed a peace treaty, pirating was outlawed.Read more ›
Also well done is the description of the pirate code -- the democratic nature of the pirates and the difficulty the captain had in leading his men as a result. The pirates value treasure above all and the Morgan must adopt the ruthless attitudes of his competitors if he is to maintain his standing in the community. Yet, Morgan viewed himself as a soldier with a commission, not a pirate. By the end of his life, he was rounding up renegade pirates who did not accept the peace treaty with the Spanish and the need to give up the pirate life.
The Jamaican base of Morgan and its end in the great earthquake of 1690 are also well portrayed.
On the other hand, the book is overwritten -- heavy on adjectives and overblown descriptions that attempt to heighten the drama. The author would do well to just tell the story.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Despite some grammatical errors in the first few chapters, I still have to give this book 5 stars. For anyone who is a history buff, the author has no problem sucking you in making... Read morePublished 18 days ago by Jake
I liked this book. I had never read about Captain Morgan before and found this informative. I suggested it to a friend, too.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
It came in perfect condition & I have fallen in love with this book. I have always been interested in Henry Morgan and I love history.Published 4 months ago by Stephanie W.
The story of Henry Morgan and the dramatic change in the Caribbean between 1600 - 1700 is compelling, but the author can get somewhat repetitive whenever he attempts to put events... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Frank J Battaglia III
For all of those who dream of high seas adventure, this book is for you! I learned about it at a cocktail party where an executive stated that it was one of the best books he had... Read morePublished 8 months ago by JJW
Beats anything put on the screen by Disney. And it's all true!!!
Well written and a "cruise" to read. More please!