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Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates Paperback – May 9, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Mr. Cordingly has performed a deep research on the subject and presents it in a very readable and interesting form. He has taken diaries, contemporary newspaper articles, personal letters and memoirs as a solid backdrop.
His study is centered mainly in the Caribbean theater, the East coast of North America and the Indian Ocean. He also gives glimpses of the Chinese pirates leaded by Ms. Cheng.
Every main issue is described: weaponry, tactics, vessels, flags, everyday life, treasures, pets and battles.
In its pages you'll find the life and deeds of famous characters as Henry Morgan, "Blackbeard", Captain Kidd, L'Ollonais, Calico Jack and many others not so well known.
A whole chapter is dedicated to women pirates including the adventures and misadventures of Mary Read and Anne Bonny.
Finally "romance" is addressed taking into account mainly movies on the subject.
As a bonus the book includes six maps of the different scenarios of pirate's campaigns; a glossary of sea terms; an extensive bibliography and several appendixes on relevant matters.
So brace yourselves and come aboard!
Reviewed by Max Yofre.
If you were to buy one book on the topic of piracy, this should be it (Angus Konstam's History of Pirates would be next in line). It is a must for any budding pirate historian. P-)
His writing style is in the more popular vein (for an historian) and he supplies many anecdotes and popular myths about pirates in general and some specific characters as well. In places he seems to draw heavily on "A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the most Notorious Pirates" by Defoe or Johnson (which ever you prefer). For people not willing to wade through Defoe's (or Johnson's) style - it is a good synopsis of those chapters, even if the common conseptions of the time have been removed.
He over states his point that Hollywood, Stevenson and others have romantisized the pirate life and proceeds to give the reader a quick dose of reality. However, I think for people approaching this book with the idea it is history, it is an overdose. There are too many regressions and comparisons to popular novels and movies. While the title implies such comparisons - they are rather obvious ones.
My main critique of this book is similar to others I have seen here. It was to much and too little. If you want an introduction to the history of piracy and some of the better known pirates - then this book is perfect. If you want an in depth study of the lives or even of the marauding of specific pirates sprinkled with eye witness accounts and embroidered in the telling - read Johnson (or Defoe) instead.
But the book holds many gems of information that may not be found in other histories and analysies. I just wish that some topics had been better developed.Read more ›
Pirates have been around since before recorded history. Pirates prey on society-they cannot exist without prey. Pirates are still active today-especially in the Far East. Cordingly mentions them (publication date is 1995)-my personal experience is that pirates are still a problem for security professionals.
"Under the Black Flag" explores both fact and fiction. The romantic image is examined through books, plays, and movies. Captain Hook from "Peter Pan" and Long John Silver from "Treasure Island" are said to be the two most famous pirates.
The historical pirates included the Chinese pirate queen Cheng Shih, Molly Read, Anne Bonny, Henry Morgan, Blackbeard, Captain Kidd, and Sir Frances Drake-to name the most notorious and famous. Some, such as Drake, became national heroes and were made legitimate. Others, such as Captain Kidd, were railroaded. The Blackbeards earned every bit of notoriety.
How did the pirates live-and die? My "day job" is working as a supply technician for the Nevada Army National Guard, and while on active duty I was an Army intelligence analyst-so details on how the pirate ships were kept in good repair and provisioned were right up my alley. Most pirate loot was hardware, food, sail cloth, and other such items that kept their ship afloat and their crews alive (if not healthy).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The subject matter is incredibly interesting, but things start to drag about halfway through.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
This was the first of three books I've read on the subject of pirates. Great read. There are a few illustrations to help one visualize the dress, ships, culture, society, law and... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Bruce Balchunas
Good, concise book with a broad overview of pirates and their life style. Enjoyed the book and learned a lot.Published 2 months ago by Betta
Some interesting parts/information, but is overall boring, like a textbook being taught by a monotone professor. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Sheri
Good book for those wanting to bridge the gap between fantasy (Johnny Depp, Cap't Hook, etc) and reality with regard to Buccaneer pirates of the late 17th early 28th century. Read morePublished 3 months ago by William Houseman