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The History of Pirates Hardcover – October, 1999

32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Piracy flourished in the early 18th century, producing many of the buccaneers whose legendary names have gripped our imaginations: Blackbeard, Captain Kidd, and Bartholomew Roberts, to name a few. Yet piracy on the high seas existed long before Blackbeard's name struck terror in the hearts of merchant seamen - Julius Caesar was captured by pirates - and it remains a problem today. Modern pirates regularly attack vessels sailing through the South China Sea. The History of Pirates traces piracy from the seas of antiquity to the New World and beyond. It represents a thorough, authoritative, and memorable portrait of the fascinating world of pirates. Detailed maps bear vivid testimony to the far-ranging exploits of these capricious, often charismatic, and frequently bloodthirsty robbers of the high seas. (8 1/2 11, 192 pages, color photos, maps, illustrations) Angus Konstam was formerly Curator of Arms and Armour at the Tower of London, and was also Chief Curator at the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum in Key West. Konstam's vast knowledge of maritime history, and his study of countless manuscripts and historic objects, have helped to make this book a truly exceptional study. David Cordingly is the editor of A General History of the Robberies & Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates. He was on the staff of the National Maritime Museum in London for twelve years. He organized multiple exhibitions, including "Pirates: Fact & Fiction." Cordingly graduated from Oxford University, where he studied modern history, and received his doctorate from the University of Sussex.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Dr. Angus Konstam was the curator of arms and armour at the Tower of London, and is now the chief curator of the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum in Key West, Florida, responsible for organizing major exhibitions throughout the eastern seaboard. Dr. Konstam's knowledge of maritime history, and his exposure to countless historical objects and manuscripts, have helped make this a truly exceptional study.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press; First Edition edition (October 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558219692
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558219694
  • Product Dimensions: 12 x 9.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,492,667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

With over 50 history books in print, Angus is a widely recognised and much-published historian. While he specialises in military and naval history he has also written numerous more general history books, designed to make the subject more accessible to a wider audience. Uniquely he has been able to draw on his expertise as a senior museum curator who has worked on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as on his academic training as a historian and as a maritime archaeologist.

His latest book is a full-length biography: Blackbeard: America's Most Notorious Pirate, which is published by Wiley & Sons. of New York (June 2006)

Angus is also just finished writing a history of the Allied landings at Salerno in September 1943 for the British publisher Pen & Sword, and he is currently working on a new project, with the working title of Supership: The Quest for the Renaissance Battleship.

Angus lives in Edinburgh, in Scotland.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 55 people found the following review helpful By T. Hooper on January 3, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The scope of this book is very wide. It covers the history of piracy from the ancient world until the modern age. The bulk of the material, however, covers the golden age of piracy in the Carribean Sea and the Indian Ocean. The format of the book is very large with full color pictures on every page. Basically it's a coffee table book. The color pictures definitely stir the imagination. Fan of pirate lore and fans of the recent movie "Pirates of the Carribean" will be pleased to read this.
My only complaint is that the text is a little light. Even famous pirates such as Blackbeard and Captain Morgan only get two pages each. I realize that some text space had to be sacrificed for all the color pictures, but I was hoping for a little more information. If you're interested in pictures or if you aren't such a heavy reader, this will be a great book for you. If you would like something a little meatier, perhaps another book is for you. I do think this is an excellent source for pictures of pirates though.
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67 of 69 people found the following review helpful By David Stapleton VINE VOICE on September 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is probably my second favorite book on pirates (Under the Black Flag by David Cordingly is first on my list). However, this is a high quality overview of the history of pirates from earliest recorded times onward. Konstam breaks it down by era, from the ancient world on, with discussion of the periods, famous names and regions.

While the textual content is well written and researched. the graphic content is probably even more impressive. The inclusion of maps and period images make this an entertaining as well as informative read. P-)
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By T. Whigham on September 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Angus Konstam takes us through a general history of piracy on the seas, from the ancient raiders of Babylonia and Greece to the modern-day guerillas in speedboats armed with AK-47 assault rifles in the south China Sea. Each chapter is well illustrated with period paintings and photographs, with particular focus on the "Golden Age of Piracy" in the 16th and 17th century when galleons and merchant brigs carried gold, jewels, sugar, cotton, and rum from the Spanish Main to the American colonies and Europe.
Well written and easy to read, each page is printed on glossy paper and clean typeface, with illustrations to help convey the mood of the book. Its an entertaining history of piracy (and if a book isn't entertaining, then why read it?). It may not have the depth of some of the more scholastically-oriented books available, but this book is a good place to start when building your library.
Overall, a good book to have around.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on April 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Published in association with the Mariners' Museum in Virginia and use maps, photos and color illustrations throughout to make for histories which are lively and probing, History Of Pirates covers the reality of pirates, comparing this reality to traditional Hollywood myths and surveying both early and modern pirating history around the world.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Richard Sellati on October 3, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The History of Pirates by Angus Konstam is a must have book for any pirate enthusiast. It spans the entire history of piracy, although not to any great depth, and it uses some of the best pictures and art work I have seen. This is a perfect coffee table book as suggested by some other reviewers, and it serves that purpose very well.

I could not more strongly recommend this book, what a great read! If you enjoy this book and you are interested in other pirate related books, movies and games, visit me at my website: [...]
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Stephen S. Sibert on November 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
by Rebecca Sibert

My father bought me "The History of Pirates" when we visited the treasure exihibit in Key West. It was shortly after Pirates of the Caribbean DMC had come to theatres, and I was highly interested.

It is a very informative book. Extended research has been put into it; the author has abandoned the romantized notions that Hollywood has arbitarily put together, and he gives us a fresh and accurate look at the real men and women who plagued the seven seas.

A must-have for all true pirate lovers, it contains information concerning the corsairs, the buccaneers, and privateers, and it accurately tells the reader how important said names are, along information on pirate weapons, clothing, pirate hunters, and ships. So often pirate fans walk away from movies (and even books), thinking that the producers and writers have caught the real pirates, but their imaginations are filled with laudable cliches of noble thieves, dashing captains, and fun at sea. The true stories of the starvation, disease, misery, and hopeless are lost in Treasure Island and Errol Flynn's movies. "The History of Pirates" gives a good look at both the "successful" and the unlucky robbers of the sea.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. Donovan, Editor/Sr. Reviewer on March 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Angus Konstam's HISTORY OF PIRATES uses works from the Mariners' Museum in Virginia to provide a powerful visual impact. Piracy from ancient to modern times is surveyed in a series of maps, images, and discussions that cover specific events, regions, and pirates. Plenty of historical and political background to the events place each in perspective and provide an excellent survey of mariner events of the times. There are other pirate histories on the market - but none with the commitment to visuals of HISTORY OF PIRATES.
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