- Paperback: 264 pages
- Publisher: New York University Press; 1st Revised edition (March 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0814712363
- ISBN-13: 978-0814712368
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #837,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Sodomy and the Pirate Tradition: English Sea Rovers in the Seventeenth-Century Caribbean 1st Revised Edition
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Frequently Bought Together
"A great . . . very interesting book."-Johnny Depp
"Burg puts historians to shame by raising extremely interesting questions that no one before had asked."-Christopher Hill,New York Review of Books
About the Author
B. R. Burg is Professor of History at Arizona State University and the author of
Top Customer Reviews
However the rest of the book is more of a history of the economic and social conditions that drove men to piracy, often involuntarily. Military "press gangs" forced men into naval service, and many escaped to pirate ships where they had more freedom and more financial gain than in the navy. Pirates themselves often forced their captives to become pirates at the threat of death. The romantic image of freedom-loving pirates is far from the truth.Read more ›
Chapter One is a 40-page example of this; it can safely be skipped, as it is summarized in the first few words of Chapter Two: "Seventeenth-century Englishmen on all status levels were remarkably indulgent with homosexuality."
Those with only a casual interest in the subject should skim Chapters Two and Three and read the last two chapters, Buccaneer Sexuality and The Buccaneer Community. These chapters hold most of what you're probably reading the book for. Here are the bits about pirates and sex. Unfortunately, they are usually only a sentence or two long. Burg uses the little stories to construct an argument, not a narrative.
This last comment is not a criticism; he's clearly not setting out to tell a tale of high-seas adventure. (If you want this, go back to Melville.) A criticism: Burg often seems to overreach in the conclusions he draws from his sources (or lack of sources).
What looks to be a more satisfying read is "Gay Warriors," edited by the same author. This is an anthology of original sources from Homer to the present day, on the topic of "gays in the military."
First, homophobia is the typical condition of homosocial groups, especially in close quarters. Burg never mentions this problem.
Second, the problem of toleration (pp. 1-41). Anyone who studies Old Bailey records will know that prosecutions for sodomy were scarce before the 1720s, and then gradually increased and erupted into intermittent but virulent anti-sodomy campaigns in London during the 1740s through the 80s. Burg assumes that earlier, in 17th-century England, an air of toleration allowed sodomy to flourish; but there may be other reasons for the dearth of court cases. Maybe the Magistrates discouraged sodomy-prosecutions because they were tawdry and often trumped up, in a culture where the threat of "calling sodomy" was a device in the extortionist's criminal tool-kit. Men who were accused of sodomy were also accused of rape, pederasty, masturbation, exhibitionism, bestiality with a mare or a mule, and political or religious thought-crimes. (Some men, indeed, were accused of all of the above.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Just another revisionist history book. Most experts agree that homosexuality was in proportion to the population--as it is today--within the ranks of pirates. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Machiavelli Sun Tzu
I was looking for more about the pirate society in the Caribbean more time was devoted in the contemporary English. Read morePublished on March 9, 2014 by Randall Knol
Overall, this book is an excellent assimilation of data that provides a compelling, if sometimes circumstantial, argument that homosexual activity or homosexuality itself was an... Read morePublished on August 13, 2013 by Amazon Customer
This is purely a scholarly tome, which is absolutely fine - if one is a scholar. Hollywood taught me that pirates either ravaged women captives or, in courtly fashion, released... Read morePublished on April 27, 2013 by Punychick
Not what I expected. Too much time spent on things other than the topic suggested by the title. I bought to earn learn more about the everyday life of the pirate, sadly... Read morePublished on January 20, 2013 by Vincent Spume
Classic Novel. Wonderful History of Piracy. Don"t let the title put you off. Great For fans of Tails of the Sea.Published on December 23, 2012 by James
If Johnny Depp read it, I thought it must be good. Great picture of Blackbeard on the cover. I don't know what I expected, (besides exciting pirate sex secrets) but it was almost... Read morePublished on March 11, 2011 by Marcey
This is a terrifically readable book which should fascinate anyone even remotely interested in its subject. Read morePublished on October 15, 2006 by Phaeton