Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
Pirates - Predators of the Seas: An Illustrated History Hardcover – May 1, 2007
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Ignited by Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean, interest in pirates is burgeoning, as Konstam and Kean note in the preface to this colorful reality check about piracy through the ages. Captain Jack owes many of his mannerisms to Rolling Stone Keith Richards, and though no real pirate limned here possesses Richards', or Depp's, star power, many exhibited real charisma, and that, Konstam and Kean show, has kept them alive in historical memory. Pirates having flourished elsewhere than in the Caribbean, the book offers round-the-world coverage but acknowledges that the sea thieves reached their acme with the likes of Hawkins, Blackbeard, and Kidd in . . . the Caribbean! Konstam and Kean also relate what little is known for sure of the famous female pirates Mary Read and Anne Bonny. With colorful maps and illustrations aplenty, the book constitutes a wonderful starting point for acquainting oneself with the freebooters and buccaneers who were alternately heroes (privateers) and villains (pirates), even in their own day. Mike Tribby
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
A terrific introduction to the history of piracy....Loaded with full color maps, illustrations, and photographs...a delight to peruse. -- Houston Chronicle
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
gaudy cover suggests. Not a profound read but very well illustrated with quality
printing on good quality paper stock. Many maps that bring to life the great feats
of maritime sailing in days of yore. Plus a great price at half the amount of local
book sellers. Thanks Ruben R. Martinez
This book offers a faster pace than more scholarly books. Konstam's most eye-opening presentations juxtapose the changing positions of the European powers. Spain, France, and Holland battle each other for royal succession, and England joins them in fighting for geographic territory and maritime plunder. Konstam gives the impression that financing of privateering was a widespread hobby of the upper classes in constant wars among European states.
Once French privateer Jean Fleury captured a Spanish treasure ship arriving back form the New World in 1523, it was clear that piracy and privateering offered huge opportunities. "Pirates: Predators of the Sea" makes it clear that the British Navy was at best a small force when Hawkins and Drake began privateering in the 1560s. Much of the growth of naval capacity in England, France, and Holland was in the form of privateers. Whenever peace broke out, privateers would be unemployed and their ships in need of a purpose, and piracy was an easy way to continue what they were already doing anyway.
With the exception of a couple of settlement attempts by the French, the Spanish controlled the Caribbean until about 1640. Privateers and pirates (including wreck salvors) settled the island of Tortuga on the northern coast of Hispaniola. Gentlemanly privateers might put a captured captain and crew ashore or even in a smaller ship. But even in the early days religious warfare meant some pirates would slaughter their captives to the last man.
Around 1655, Britain gained control of Jamaica and invited the "Brethren of the Coast"to Port Royal as surrogate military forces. From then until Henry Morgan "went straight" as lieutenant governor in 1674, the Spanish were at war with the Protestant British, Dutch, and the French Huguenots. In the 1670s, British shipowners shifted to the slave trade. Depradations by French pirates continued, including a sack of the heavily fortified city of Catagena in 1689. Peace was established in Europe in the early 1700s, and the peace of 1714 formally ended national-scale privateering in the Caribbean.
Thereafter, piracy shifted to ventures by a handful of infamous captains well known to those who read pirate stories. Tew, Teach, Kidd, Rackham, Bellamy, and others flew the Jolly Roger. Shifting away from the Spanish treasure ships, these pirates often attacked slavers in Africa and the spice merchants in the Indian Ocean. By 1720, most of these notorious pirates had been executed or forced out of business.
After Napoleon's conquest of Europe, few continental powers had a significant navy. The US and the UK simultaneously swore off privateering and slavery at the end of the War of 1812. Privateering was formally banned by the Treaty of Paris in 1856, but the days of the pirates had disappeared by 1825.
This isn't a research librarian's heavily footnoted book with a strong bibliography. Konstam writes clearly and fluidly, and tells a set of stories that are interesting to read. If you need the formal details, there are dozens of less fascinating but better documented books in your nearest university library.
The text next moves to a general history of piracy from the Classical period. Beginning with Greek pirates such as the Aetolians and their descendants, the Cilician's it examines piracy in the Mediterranean world. Islamic pirates and their forbears are discussed.
The Vikings were the first `European' pirates and they were followed by the English. The first English record for the execution of a pirate dates from 1228. There were also pirates in the Baltic sea. Some of the worst pirates to plague Europe were the Barbary pirates from North Africa. As Muslims they raided as far as Ireland, taking Europeans as slaves to be sold in the markets of Algeria. But there was much mixing in the world of Piracy, the Barbaroosa Brothers, Christians, were famed pirates of the Mediterranean, working for the Turks. Malta, run by descendants of the Crusaders, also participated in Piracy.
However it was the British pirates such as Francis Drake and Sir John Hawkins who served queen Elizabeth that are well known to those interested in Pirates. Their precursors in raids on the `Spanish' new world were the French Huguenots of the 16th century. In the 17th century the Buccaneers who became the typical pirates of the age. Men from many backgrounds, usually protestant, found their way to Hispaniola in the Caribbean and began plundering Spanish shipping. The pirates of this period did not merely take vessels, they plundered towns in places such as Panama and lake Maracaibo, destroying the economy and the settlements.
The Golden Age of piracy in the early 18th century is given much coverage, as its notorious pirates such as Blackbeard, Edward Teach, Woodes Rogers and Jack Rackham. The death of Batholomew Roberts in 1722 ended the `Golden Age' of piracy. Many pirate crews were hung for their deeds. The next pirates to appear on the scene coincide with the American revolution. 1835 marked the last execution of pirates in the U.S. Chapter twelve examines the history of Piracy in Asia and 13 examines the nature of `Pirate havens' and their cultures, and bring the history up to the present with a discussion of piracy off Somalia, the straits of Malacca and elsewhere.
This is a brilliant book with many photographs both of old paintings and modern photos of forts and boats. There are a plethora of highly detailed and informative maps which make this more than a history of piracy but also a history of the New world and the world as well. The subject matter is interesting and stories well told.
Seth J. Frantzman