From Publishers Weekly
Forget Blackbeard—piracy is more widespread and dire today than ever before, according to this rudderless exposé. Sekulich (Ocean Titans
) draws that conclusion in part through a liberal definition of piracy. The exploits of the well-organized and murderous Somali pirates that Sekulich chronicles qualify spectacularly: they have attacked a cruise ship, hijacked a supertanker, held freighter crews hostage for ransom and put a tragic crimp in food-aid shipments to Somalia. But the author also devotes much space to what amounts to mundane acts of maritime theft, hanging out, for example, with Malaysian fishermen who complain of having their boats and outboard motors stolen at night. His search for a genuine pirate to interview turns up a rueful Indonesian man who belonged to a gang that sneaked aboard ships anchored in port and stole cargo items, sometimes roughing up the watchmen. Readers looking for outlaw romance will not find it in these dispirited heists. While pirate attacks are certainly terrifying to their victims, Sekulich's alarm isn't justified by his depiction of the problem, which makes it seem like more than a nuisance but less than a scourge. Photos. (June)
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From School Library Journal
Adult/High School-In this intriguing report, Sekulich examines the past and present state of piracy around the world and dispels the notion that it resembles the romanticized version of pirates portrayed in movies and books. With fascinating historical accounts of notorious individuals such as Blackbeard and Captain Kidd, as well as some lesser-known brigands; numerous detailed facts and figures drawn from the author's research with international maritime and shipping organizations; and firsthand accounts from shady characters, victims, and even a former pirate, this chronicle will engage teens. It tells how piracy has changed from ancient and colonial times and how and why it has had such a large resurgence in modern times. Sekulich sums up its prevalence as due to three basic elements: greed, lawlessness, and targets of opportunity. He provides current documentation to support his view, along with heart-wrenching stories from people he has met who live and work in highly pirated areas, including the Horn of Africa and the Gulf of Guinea. This book is a useful reference guide for research as well as an interesting read on a timely and newsworthy topic.–Melanie Parsons, Fairfax County Public Library, VA