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The Pirate Ship 1660-1730 (New Vanguard) Paperback – June 20, 2003

3.8 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

The unrivalled illustrated reference on fighting vehicles, transport and artillery through the ages. Each volume is illustrated throughout, making these books uniquely accessible to history enthusiasts of all ages.

About the Author

Angus Konstam, from the Orkney Islands, is the author of over 15 books, many of which are published by Osprey. Formerly the Curator of Weapons at the Royal Armouries, the Tower of London, he also served as the Chief Curator of the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum in Key West, Florida. Currently based in London, he combines a freelance museum consultancy business with a career as a historian and writer.
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Product Details

  • Series: New Vanguard (Book 70)
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (June 20, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841764973
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841764979
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.2 x 9.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #551,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
THE PIRATE SHIP 1660-1730 by Angus Konstam is an interesting little book (48 pages total), which has some very nice illustrations of 16th/17th century pirate ships, including a cross-section of the inside of a ship.

What you should expect to find in this book ... Topics include the design, origins, and conversion of pirate ships; small vessels and pirate flagships; and the pirate ship in action. The narration is easy to read and nicely detailed, and of course the main subject of the book is the pirate ship itself. One of my favorite passages was the real-life entry of a pirate-attack survivor, who talked about how his merchant ship engaged in bloody combat with pirates while (shockingly) two other merchant ships looked on, doing nothing to help.

What you won't find in this book ... I knew this book wasn't about the pirates themselves, as there are other books in this series written by this author that exclusively discuss pirates (or buccaneers). What I HAD hoped for, and didn't find, was a discussion about what living in a pirate ship was like (where did they eat, sleep, use the restroom, etc.?). As a side note, the closest I've ever come to seeing what life aboard a pirate ship might have been like was visiting the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, Sweden, which has a restored 17th century warship and includes a display on life inside the ship. It's a neat museum.

Anyway, this was a good little book for those interested in pirate ships. A recent pirate book I read and highly recommend is UNDER THE BLACK FLAG, which was rather entertaining for non-fiction.
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The Pirate Ship by Angus Konstam is helpful in terms of providing a brief overview of pirate ships and some very detailed illustrations, but at 48 pages (including the index) it's little more than a pamphlet on the subject and should not be viewed as anything close to a comprehensive reference. The (short) chapters are:

- The Design of the Ideal Pirate Ship
- The Origins of the Pirate Ships
- The Conversion of a Prize
- Small Pirate Vessels
- Pirate Flagships
- The Pirate Ship in Action

That said, The Pirate Ship did increase, to some degree at least, my understanding of the wide variety of ships pirates actually used and of how the popular film versions of pirate ships do not reflect the reality of most historical pirate ships. It is also useful in familiarizing the reader with the historical terms used to distinguish various types of ships of the period (brigantines, sloops, shallops, fluyts, etc) and how one could tell the differences (square-rigged, fore-and-aft rigged, gaff-rigged, lateen-rigged). In fact, not all vessels we think of as ships were actually considered such:

"Today, the word 'ship' means any large, sea-going vessel. To the mariners of the 18th century, the term had a far more precise meaning. To them, a ship was a sailing vessel that had three masts and carried square-rigged sails. This included the majority of warships, including ships-of-the-line, the larger merchantmen, East India Company ships, and some slave ships (or 'guineamen') Other substantial sailing vessels such as polaccas (polacres), tartans, fluyts and others were not strictly considered ships.
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Format: Paperback
This is a study of the ships used by the Pirates in their `Golden Age' - 1690-1730. The author is an expert naval historian of the age of the wooden ship, and also an excellent writer, and this is a suitably good book, which concentrates of the ships themselves, rather than the men who crewed them; they have their own Ospreys.

The Contents are -
P03: Introduction
P04: The Design of the Ideal Pirate Ship
P08: The Origins of the Pirate Ship
P12: The Conversion of a Prize
P15: Small Pirate Vessels
P21: Pirate Flagships
P34: The Pirate Ship in Action
P38: Glossary
P41: Bibliography
P44: Colour Plate Commentary
P48: Index

The Colour Plates
A: The Brigantine Ranger of Charles Vane c.1790 - a full side view with sails & rigging
B: The Royal James and the Henry, Cape Fear River, North Carolina, 27 September 1718 - this is a painting showing both ships aground during their battle, but still firing on each other.
C: The Adventure Galley, 1698 (William Kidd) - this is a full side view, with masts and rigging.
D: A two page cut-away of the Queen Anne's Revenge, 1718 (Edward Teach, `Blackbeard')
E: The Royal Fortune, 1722 (Bartholomew Roberts) - this is a full side view, with sails, etc.
F: `Blackbeard's Last Fight' - a full-page painting of Blackbeard's sloop Adventure pursued by two Royal Navy-crewed sloops, Ranger and Jane.
G: The Sloop Flying Dragon, 1719 (Edmund Condent) - a full-page side view, with sails etc.

There are also plenty of contemporary illustrations to support the text.

Further Reading
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