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Raiders and Rebels: A History of the Golden Age of Piracy Paperback – July 1, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Piracy by European and American ships flourished in the years 16921725, and this absorbing book concentrates on that brief period, an era of such storied figures as Henry Every, Captain William Kidd, Edward Teach (Blackbeard) and Bartholomew Roberts (Black Bart). Pirate life released sailors from the brutal oppression of regular merchant ships and national navies, and it was a time when the American colonies fostered piracy by buying stolen cargoes to circumvent Britain's Navigation Act. Sherry, whose avocation is sailing, traces the shifting political alliances that led to privateering, which in turn led to piracy, and show why the center of piratical activity shifted from Madagascar to the Bahamas. His book offers swashing and buckling to please romantics and factual information to satisfy historians. Illustrations not seen by PW.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In this wonderful book Sherry not only offers compelling stories of piracy between 1692 and 1725, but also provides a beautifully written explanation for the rise and fall of the great age of pirates and a fascinating account of the democratic "nation" of pirates. His narrative traces the roots of piracy to the quest for liberty and wealth in an age of oppression and debased poverty for the masses, and to the quasi-official sanction of church and state for privateering, the precursor to piracy. This is a popular history, short on historic subtlety, footnotes, etc., and long on romance, but that is a small price to pay for a book that is fun and action- and information-packed, and that helps us to understand pirates and the magic they stir in our imaginations. Jay R. Kaufman, Massachusetts Bay Marine Studies Consortium, Cambridge
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (July 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061572845
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061572845
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #310,768 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Scott Chamberlain VINE VOICE on December 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
I first ran across this book when it came out in the mid-80s, and for me, no other intro book into piracy quite matches up.

Sherry has excellent command of the relatively few first-person accounts out there and uses them to great effect. The coverage leans toward the cultural, giving the reader a clear understanding of the reasons why people would choose to "go on account"--and what life was like once they took up piracy. Sherry in particular makes the argument that in during the rigid, hierarchical era of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, pirate bands offered a type of proto-democracy and self-determination that helped create sympathy for the pirates back in the day, and has remained one of the key elements of their romantic image today.

Relative to other similar histories like Cordingly's "Under the Black Flag," Sherry's account seems more vividly written, and I would say tells a more coherent story with a bit more of a narrative story arc. Both books, however, are great and should readily appeal to armchair sailors or historians.

Is this the most scholarly treatment of piracy? Maybe not, but I've lent this book to many friends and relatives--and fellow Latin American historians--and it has always been a big hit. Great read.
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An exceedingly interesting and informative book on the pirates and others of their ilk in the late 1600's, including what life was like on a pirate ship and what led up to their "golden age." Just as an example of detail, "walking the plank" was NEVER done on pirate ships, regardless of what the movies tried to make us believe.
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I totally enjoyed this book. It is fact based as far as I can tell. The names, what all happened, when they happened and dates make for great reading.
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