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Return to Treasure Island and the Search for Captain Kidd Hardcover – October 21, 2003

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Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship by Robert Kurson
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The legendary Kidd (1654-1701) was a mass of intriguing contradictions. Initially a respectable husband and New York City entrepreneur, he succumbed to a lust for wealth and became a murderous, dictatorial pirate. Archeologist Clifford and co-writer Perry present a robust and chilling account of Kidd's barbaric exploits. The pirate material unfolds in alternating chapters with Clifford's search for the pirate's ship, Adventure Galley, an expedition funded by the Discovery Channel. Clifford describes his hunt meticulously, although his tale is overshadowed by the colorful portrait of a nefarious rogue who killed an innocent native on one of the Maldive Islands to establish authority and punished his crew so brutally they turned to mutiny. Stories about Discovery's tight schedules and frustrating efforts to procure excavation permits offer an in-depth view of obstacles expedition leaders and archeologists face, but Clifford's contemporary yarn gains emotional charge and tension when he deals with Dick Swete, a rival scientist with a longtime grudge, who struggles to deter Clifford. Swete, a descendant of pirate William Rogers, appears as a paranoid equivalent of Kidd and his fellow plunderers. The text's spare clarity brings alive the sea and Madagascar's Ile Sainte-Marie, a place where men could "buy clothing, weapons, drugs, alcohol, and women." Clifford finds his elusive ship, a far happier ending than Kidd found in his amazing saga's final phase, when he was hanged for his crimes and left to dangle in a London public square to warn those contemplating the pirate's life. 50 b&w photos.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Clifford is searching for lost pirate treasure again, this time in Madagascar, at Ile Sainte Marie, an island that was a haven for pirates in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The object of the search is the sunken ship of the infamous Captain Kidd. Clifford and coauthor Perry alternate between history and narrative. Over the course of the book, they tell how Kidd, a wealthy and respected man in New York's social and political circles, who was royally commissioned as a pirate hunter, later became the most wanted outlaw of his time. In addition, Clifford tells of his own expeditions to the site of the wreck, giving the reader a lesson in the basic techniques of underwater archaeology, recounting the pirate lore of the present-day inhabitants, mapping a network of underground tunnels used by pirates to hide treasure, and visiting the legendary pirate cemetery on the island. If all this sounds like a fascinating adventure story, that's because it is. Young and old readers alike will find a terrific pirate tale and fodder for the imagination. Gavin Quinn
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (October 21, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060185090
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060185091
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,577,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Brad Rucker on November 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Clifford does a good job of alternating between the story of Captain Kidd and his own search for Kidd's flagship. But far too much of the book is dedicated to a long, boring rendition of Clifford's dealings with the local authorities, his rival ship hunter and the resulting phone calls and meetings required to secure permits for the excavation of the ship. Over 90 percent of the modern portion of the book reads like: "Then I called the President's daughter. Then she called me back. Then we met with the minister of the Interior. He told us to come back the next day. So I rode a bike around the island. The next day we called the President's daughter again...." The politics is simply filler so that he wouldn't be selling a 50 page book. To summarize -- there are many books that are a better use of your time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is like getting two books in one! Part of the book tells the fascinating story of Captain Kidd and the other part, the story of Barry Clifford's expediton to Madagascar to recover Kidd's flagship, the Adventure Galley.
With the pictures and all, this book is better than TV.
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Format: Paperback
THIS IS NOT FICTION! Amazing true historical account of the privateer Captain William Kidd, his flag ship ADVENTURE GALLEY and how it was discovered by underwater explorer Barry Clifford who is famous for his discovery of the WHYDAH GALLEY (the world's only authenticated pirate ship wreck) and dozens of other famous and infamous ships. The book also discusses an amazing island (IL AUX FORBANS - The Forbidden Island) in the bay of Isle San Marie on the coast of Madagascar, which was once a pirate republic and contains pirate secrets (buy the book to find out what). A thrilling historical/archaeological Indiana-Jones-style true story.

This is in the news again (May 2015); while filming with History Channel on the five pirate shipwrecks at this site, Barry and his dive team discovered a 145 LBS silver bullion block, which he presented as a gift to the president of Madagascar (Clifford never sells any treasure that he finds from historic shipwrecks). BBC broke the news:
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32621444
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Format: Hardcover
This is Barry Clifford's narrative of his trip(s) to Ile Saint-Marie off the coast of Madagascar in search of William Kidd's Adventure Galley. It is pretty standard Clifford style based upon his other books. The author jumps back and forth, alternating present day with historical reference in an engaging fashion. The dual narrative maintains a nice sense of suspense, pulling the reader along.

The historical elements are well represented with discussion of Kidd and Culliford. The author takes time to support the link to Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island from the title. However, the reader soon finds the present day trials and tribulations eclipse the historical and lead to an unsatisfying conclusion that I can only describe as anticlimactic.

The book is not a bad read, nor void of merit, but, ultimately, one has to ask whether this particular set of expeditions truly deserved to be written up in book format. Clifford's other book, The Lost Fleet and Expedition Whydah would be better places to start you appreciation of Clifford's work. And, Richard Zacks' Pirate Hunter is a better history of William Kidd's adventures.
P-)
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By Stephen Wood on August 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent
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