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A General History of the Robberies & 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 out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
However, the down side of this particular volume is that it includes only a subset of Johnson's original writings. And, there is no added index with which to quickly reference particular names and such. While I don't quite agree that the editor has ruined the original, I do find that this version falls short of its potential. P-)
And many of them swung from the yardarm as they were methodically brought to justice.
The most intriguing aspect of these stories is the portrayal of piratical society. They democratically elected their ship's captain. They debated and voted on their next destination. They followed orders unquestionably. They admired courage under fire, and admired an intelligent mind put to foul deeds. They trusted one another--to a point. As two or three ships sailed together, many a time one of them would weigh anchor in the dead of night and sail off with the booty, leaving their cohorts to cry in their rum--or pursue them and viciously kill `em all for daring to steal from fellow thieves. A perverse maritime code of respect and deceit evolved amongst these men, much like within today's penitentiaries.
Personally, my biggest surprise was the ease with which pirates recruited more pirates. A ship would be overtaken and plundered, and the pirate captain would shout, "Would anyone like to join us?!" and formerly law-abiding seamen would clamber over the rails to join the cutthroats. The free-wheeling life of adventure, ill-gotten wealth, and promiscuity was irresistible.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Came in mint condition and wasn't expensive for the entertainment and knowledgePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
As others have posted this edition is a butchered and abridgment of the original edition. The edition that is far superior has pirates spelled pyrates in its title and runs 704... Read morePublished 5 months ago by R.A.H
There is a complete version and abridged. This is abtidgef, but the description didn't note it.Published 5 months ago by Brianne Ingraham
Very interesting. True or not the author certainly held my attention. Some great observations on government's attitude toward problems with criminal organizations in their early... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Roger L. Ayres
Its and excellent read if your into sea faring history this is a great bookPublished 12 months ago by E.J.
What a wonderful find! Stories about pirates from their perspective!Published 17 months ago by Jessica