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Pirates: A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates Paperback – 15 Jul 2002


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Frequently Bought Together

Pirates: A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates + Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates + The Republic of Pirates: Being the true and surprising story of the Caribbean pirates and the man who brought them down
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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Conway Maritime Press Ltd; New Ed edition (15 July 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0851779190
  • ISBN-13: 978-0851779195
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 50,333 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Richard Cowley on 11 Mar 2005
Format: Paperback
If you are at all interested in the age of piracy, this book is a must for you. It is just about contemporary - 1724 - with all the big names in piracy - Black Bart, Blackbeard, Stede Bonnet, amongst many others and also includes the two famous women pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read - and there is a really authentic ring about the text. It is occasionally a bit tedious, but at the same time, the details that Capt Johnson - whoever he was - goes into give you a real feel for the period and the characters. I think it is excellent.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By DH Dixon on 3 May 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are a fan of Defoe and want to read about pirates in their heyday then this is the book you need. It was published under the name of Captain Charles Johnson, presumably to protect its author from the retaliation of ones such as Captain Avery - then in England - whose case the book deals with first. Avery had had a play written about or by him called The Successful Pirate, and a book called The King of Pirates, and this A General History of the Pyrates is a scathing attack against their pretentions. Because of his history as a pirate Avery would not have been able to visit the naval records office to check up on his adversary, hence the security and reason perhaps for the name. Subsequent research in the naval records have shown that no such fish as Captain Charles Johnson had existed. His name is fictional.

A possible explanation for why this book was published under that name is that at the time there was a hack playwright named Charles Johnson who is suspected of having written Avery's play and possibly also his book The King of The Pirates. If so, the name Captain Charles Johnson here would have been to mock this author and subvert any such pretence.

The American Defoe scholar John Robert Moore identified A General History of the Pyrates as being Defoe's and it seems to be in his style and it certainly adds to his tally of great works.

In 1988 a couple of so-called scholars dismissed Moore's attribution on the grounds that the style was not the same as in The Pirate Gow or The King Of Pirates, both of which have been attributed to Defoe. However neither of these books are alike in style (The Pirate Gow is at least good journalism) and certainly the King of Pirates doesn't resemble Defoe's style or his character either, while this one does. Moore was a fan and an expert and he has to be right.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By William Templar on 21 Oct 2009
Format: Paperback
There is'nt alot to say about this book other than it is and incredible piece of history as it is an almost direct copy; word for word, of Cpt Johnsons original book published in the early 18th century.

The reading is heavy going until you get used to the language that was in common use back then, as although is is not far removed from modern English, the sentence structure is very different and the gramma is odd until you get your head around it. After you learn to speak Georgian English it is a very involving book indeed, wonderfuly written and brings adventure on the high seas to life in a way that no other historically based factual book can, for the simple reason that this book was written in the golden age of Piracy, seemingly from a first hand point of view too.

A very fine addition to any budding historians' book shelf who has an interest in maritime history, and an even greater addition to anyone looking to study the TRUE accounts of genuine pirates from the time, and sometimes how unexpected and eye opening they are.

Supurb read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Augustus Germanicus on 6 Feb 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading this made me want to steal a boat, hoist and black flag and declare war on the world. The great thing about this edition is that the spelling of the text have been brought to to date but the actual quotes have been left as originals. The woodcut illustrations are proper creepy. I was surprised to find no mention of walking the plank but maybe that is just a Captain Pugwash thing. There's a strong moral message here - if you go a pirating without permission from HRH you will get hung by a rope and then hung in chains, but these lads had so much fun it must have been worth it. Hoist the jolly roger and set sail for Madagascar.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By lovereading on 4 Sep 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the beginning. The first description of what will become an idealized character of many stories in world literature during the centuries. Pirates as they were. Sublime villainy with a romantic angle. Harsh men living in a harsh environment with one human goal: survival. This is an enthralling read - some may find it a bit heavy going at times because of the archaic language -. Stick to it, it's worth the read for hardy fans of the mighty seafarers!
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By Mrs. Laura S. Harley on 13 July 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Love pirates love this book.
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By J. A. Zapart on 1 July 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
a very good book once started difficult to put down to stop
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By Amazon Customer on 24 Sep 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Pirates: Evocative of the era in which it was written and I would recommend it to anyone would who would be happy to read it for that reason.
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