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The Sea Rover's Practice: Pirate Tactics and Techniques, 1630-1730 Paperback – January 15, 2007
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". . . .rich in colourful detail, and displays impressive knowledge of sailing and fighting skills."
"Be prepared--after reading only a few pages--to feel the wind in your face and taste the salt air."
"[An] author of truly heroic status...a book without precedent--a small tome of combat knowledge as it applies to our pirate forebears. . . . It's one thing for a historian to write about old naval tactics. It's quite another when that historian is a former Navy SEAL. . . . A truly exceptional book."
"[Little's] unique insight gives us a truly practical guide on the strategies and techniques used by the successful pirate or privateer... If I were headed out a-rovin' and were allowed only one book in my sea bag, this would be the one I'd bring."
From the Publisher
"A remarkable book that casts much new light on the sea rovers of the Age of Sail." Frank Sherry, author of Raiders and Rebels: The Golden Age of Piracy
Top Customer Reviews
I picked up this book primarily to confirm or disprove my theories on individual weapons combat during boarding actions and while the techniques are not played up in any great detail,citing the use of powder and grenades over cutlass and knife, the reasonings behind what weapons were used and how unorthodox hand to hand combat could be in closed quarters are sound.
Overall a very enjoyable and informative book!
Director; Historical Maritime Combat Association
Appropriate to the modern era of small wars? Little generally leaves it to the reading to connect to the present (absent a rare couple of modern analogies in the book), except for one paragraph at the end:
"Whatever their vices, weaknesses, and moral ambiguities, these buccaneers have in common with most sea rovers several tactical virtues, including innovation, loyalty, perseverance, adaptability, and courage. Collectively, they prove that a loose, uncentralized, and informal network can conduct significant, complex military operations. They show the effect that an irregular force can have on the resources of a powerful state, causing great economic damage and tying down significant forces. And, most importantly, they demonstrate that elements of broadly divergent and disparate cultures, races, nationalities, classes, professions, and personalities can act as one with a common goal."
My brief comments here don't do the book justice. The amount of detail Little puts in this book is sometimes mind boggling, not to say amazing. This is not a book that only looks at the past but has surprising applicability to modernity.
I have found it particularly useful in supporting various arguments about privatization of force as well as insurgent warfare.
Every aspect of the sea rovers' life is placed before the reader, from seamanship to boarding tactics, to life on shore after a successful cruise. In the back of the book, you can find statistics for firearms and great guns, several glosseries for ships and people, and even some simple recipies buccaneers would have used.
The only minor quibble I might have is that the style of the writing can seem stilted and list like, but that was not frequent and did not detract from my enjoyment of the work.
This is a must read for anyone with an interest in maratime history or pirates.
Do not expect a storyline or biographies in this book. It is solely about tactics, as stated in the subtitle. Each section is filled with detail after fascinating detail about pirate battle strategies. You get a real understanding of why a pirate would, for instance, chose a particular weapon to use during the boarding of a ship, examining everything from the weapon's overall capacity to maim to the sturdiness of the materials used to construct it.
The book's first chapter talks of greed and desperation and the last chapter covers dying by the sword. In between, you learn about pirate ships, recruiting, arms used in close combat, watches, flags, cruising strategies, mutiny, broadsiding, pirate tricks, and many other topics. There are also appendices with items like pirate vocabulary and recipes, as well as illustrations depicting weapons (guns, swords, cannons, etc.) and the best boarding positions.
Altogether, the book is easy to read, thorough, and loaded with information. I definitely recommend it to those who want to learn more about the real pirates of the Caribbean.
For those who prefer biographies (or less strategy and more story), read David Cordingly's "Under the Black Flag" for an engrossing look at piracy throughout the ages.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent book. Written by someone who has put in the time to understand the issue. Not a story by a novel writer.Published 10 months ago by Anthony Mistretta
Interesting perspective from a former military man. It breaks up some of the monotony from the purely scholarly perspective.Published 12 months ago by Adigun
How many times do you get to read a book on a compelling subject, thoroughly and flawlessly researched, written by a truly gifted and entertaining author. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Papa Joe
It is clear the author of this book is very biased or at the very least did not put enough research into writing this book. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Joshua Pease
I highly recomend this for re-enactors, writers and scholars. I have studied pirates for years, and own the classics such as Johnson's History and a number of others including... Read morePublished on July 19, 2014 by Ian
An interesting and well written book for sure, but the copy I received is missing pages from 129 to 176. Very disappointing.Published on June 23, 2014 by Miika Ahjopalo
We know SEALs do everything 110%--and then some, and the author's work here is characteristicly thorough. Everything you ever wanted to know about the actual life of a pirate. Read morePublished on May 31, 2014 by El Mattador