- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Lyons Press (June 1, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1585745588
- ISBN-13: 978-1585745586
- Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 39 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,030,315 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates
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"I presume we need make no Apology for giving the Name of a History to the following Sheets, though they contain nothing but the Actions of a Parcel of Robbers."A "Parcel of Robbers" they may be, but pirates have long held a special place in our imaginations. The iconography of piracy--peg legs, eye patches, pieces of eight, squawking parrots, the Jolly Roger--was first codified in A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates. This collection of brief biographies reads like a Who's Who? of piracy, with entries on Captains Kidd, Rackam, and Roberts, women-in-disguise pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read, and the infamous Edward Teach, a.k.a. Blackbeard, "that couragious Brute, who might have pass'd in the World for a Heroe, had he been employ'd in a good Cause."
First published in 1724, A General History is the book that launched a thousand pirate stories--inspiring Robert Louis Stevenson's Long John Silver, J.M. Barrie's Captain Hook, and Rafael Sabatini's Captain Blood. Though it had been attributed to a shadowy character named Captain Charles Johnson since its date of publication, the book has now been convincingly (though not incontrovertibly) attributed to Daniel Defoe. The 18th-century text, reproduced here complete with the awkward sentence construction, capitalization of nouns proper and common, and frequent italicizing typical of its era, sometimes makes for rather difficult reading, but Defoe's prose still manages to sparkle. With a new introduction by Richard West, author of Daniel Defoe: The Life and Strange, Surprising Adventures, A General History is a must-read for armchair swashbucklers. --C.B. Delaney --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From Library Journal
Despite varying titles, these are essentially the same book. Published in 1724, Defoe's chronicle of the scourges of the sea was a smashing success, finding a wide audience eager for tales of those cutthroat sailors who flew the skull and crossbones. The Dover edition is more scholarly, including several essays on Defoe, indexes (ships, names, and places), photos, and a postscript. If you don't need any of that, save a couple of bucks and go with the Carroll & Graf edition.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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It was interesting to see how the pirates differed in their treatment of prisoners. Some of them were very cruel. It was also interesting to learn of the common practice of hanging the corpses of the executed pirates up in chains for public views for years after - it was also called being "sun dried".
This edition had a number of typos, not real bad, but enough. Compounding the problem is Defoe puts a comma or semi-colon after every four or five words.
Some Defoe's writing seemed like a hurried knock-off from newspaper accounts in some parts. Other parts seem so hurried that it's impossible to follow. The referents are hopelessly confused, you can't tell who did what. Add to that the convoluted way upper class people were beginning to express themselves, and the author just general assumes an archaic mentality and you could be scratching your head for days. This could be dealt with by annotating. Fortunately these incomprehensible passages are relatively few.
Obviously an indispensable classic for the pirate fan.