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Life Among the Pirates: The Romance and the Reality Paperback – 16 May 1996


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Life Among the Pirates: The Romance and the Reality + A Pirate Of Exquisite Mind: The Life Of William  Dampier
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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; New Ed edition (16 May 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349113149
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349113142
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 95,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A comprehensive and colourful account of seafaring life. (MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS)

Readable, wideranging and entertaining (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

Fascinating (GUARDIAN)

Entertaining and popular but also serious in its intent (TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT)

Splendidly illuminates the blurred distinctions between pirates, privateers and those who attacked ships in the name of their sovereigns (EVENING STANDARD)

Excellent (TIMES EDUCATIONAL SUPPLEMENT)

Cordingly knows all there is to know about his subject (DAILY TELEGRAPH)

There is much to entertain and fascinate in all sections of Cordingly's readable book (GLASGOW HERALD)

Book Description

* Entertaining, popular but also serious account of pirates and pirate life by the acknowledged expert on the subject.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

125 of 130 people found the following review helpful By MarmiteMan on 19 Aug 2003
Format: Paperback
This is indeed an excellent book, probably as close to definitive in its subject matter as can be got. However, although the following is NOT a critique of the quality of either book's contents, am afraid I cannot wax lyrical further as LIFE AMONG THE PIRATES is ... exactly the SAME book as UNDER THE BLACK FLAG.
Neither book's flysheet mentions any "Originally published as" statements, so I think the work was published as LIFE AMONG THE PIRATES (Little, Brown & Co. 1995; reprint by Abacus 2000/2002) in the UK, but for the United States market as UNDER THE BLACK FLAG (Harvest/Harcourt Brace & Co. 1997). Am not exaggerating: Introduction, Chapter Titles, Maps, Illustrations, Appendices, Glossary, and Bibliography are the same - word-perfect. I do feel rather 'slapped in the face' (and with egg on it, too!). Whilst I accept that Amazon are not to blame for this embarrassing échec, I hope Amazon will list my review/comment so that others will not make the same mistake ...!!!
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By mfl VINE VOICE on 19 April 2004
Format: Paperback
David Cordingly appears to live and breathe life on the high seas and it shows in his writing. Formerly head of exhibitions at the National Maritime Museum and time spent in Jamaica, the 18th century hot bed of a key Carribean pirate island, he brings an authoritative and thoroughly entertaining romp.
"Life among the pirates" is an exhilarating dip into the history of the seas' highwaymen, and highwaywomen, adroitly separating the fiction from the fact and as the subtitle says, the romance from the reality. Cordingly lays bare the skulduggery, the malice, the terror and the opportunism, in unearthing the true pirates.
There is a lot of history and seafaring wherefores to cover. The war with Spain, and France, the fight to claim the American continent, the privateers, buccaneers and corsairs, the difference between sloops, schooners, snows, ships and Royal Navy rated vessels. And whilst Cordingly often skips and races through passages of big history, there's enough to place his story in context. It leaves one enticed and signposted to search for the bigger picture elsewhere.
"Life among the pirates" delights in attacking Hollywood, a la twinkle eyed Errol Flynn, for upping the ante on the romance at the neglect of the depravity and forelorn short lived life of the renegades they ape to depict.
The latest movie incarnation in "Pirates of the Carribean", proves it was a little more well researched with a half glance to Cordingly's account yet it is still mixed with a heady dose of the loveable rogues. So he might be a little more forgiving of this latest blockbuster as there are elements brought to life from the book such as the pirates' island bases, the battle with the British Navy, the executions, and yes that inevitable enviable charm.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Michael Heron TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 24 Sep 2008
Format: Paperback
Life Among the Pirates is a tremendously well written, engaging, and thoroughly scholarly overview of the subject of Pirates and Piracy. While the focus is primarily on piracy in the Caribbean during the golden age of Piracy (1650-1725), it does touch upon piracy in other times and other regions.

It reads beautifully - Cordingly manages to combine a mastery of the subject matter with the execution of a skilled storyteller, and the result is a book I would recommend to anyone interested in learning more about the truth behind the myths.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By DavyA TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 5 April 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a very well written book primarily covering the "Golden Age" of piracy in Carribean the 18th century but touching on piracy across the world and the ages.
Cordingly explores the subject with a great deal of aplomb, comparing the myths of piracy and the romanticism of books, films and plays with the harsh realities of the cut throat, piratical activities of the day.
The book makes a good deal of reference to Captain Johnson's revered volume on piratical history and also makes good use of a range of a number of other sources.
This is an accessible book which offers a fascinating insight into the world of the pirates, from the mundane (looking at living quarters and the need for maitaining their ships) to the criminal acts for which they gained notoriety.
Cordingly also gives us brief over views of the lives of some of the most famous and notorious pirates (Blackbeard, Morgan, Black Bart and so on)and works these life stories superbly into the narrative.
A wonderful book and a great companion to the aforementioned volume by Captain Johnson.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 Sep 2005
Format: Paperback
A fantastic read by a true master of the subject. What one would superficially expect when considering a history of seventeenth and eighteenth century piracy would be chapters on ships and guns, flags and punishments. This is all here, of course, but arranged in a much more interesting way. There are chapters on our own perceptions of piracy such as its portrayal in film, and Cordingley's pirates are not camp and brightly coloured, endlessly dancing hornpipes and the like; they are set in their social context. Read this book, then give it to one of the endless masses of military history enthusiasts as proof that the guns and tactics they natter on about at length are much less fascinating than the full spectrum of piracy's social impact. Great stuff
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