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The Buccaneers of America Paperback – 1 Jan 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: (1 Jan. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1420938126
  • ISBN-13: 978-1420938128
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,118,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By on 4 Oct. 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is an incredible tale , written by the Dutch doctor who was (he says) forced to accompany the pirates of the spanish Main. Full of cold blooded murder and torture, it really brings home the fearful pirate ethos and reminds you that Errol Flyn was NOT it at all
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 1 Oct. 2003
Format: Paperback
I love stories about pirates, but this is by far my favorite book. No book is as good as when written when by someone who was actually there - and this guy can tell some great tales. Fantastic read despite its age, but still relevant to anyone interested in history of that era. Great stories to be read by the fireplace... much safer than on the high seas.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A good primary source for pirates and other issues in Caribbean during 17th century. Not a terribly fluid read, but a good source for history research.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 29 reviews
54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic Early History of the Pirates of the Caribbean 7 Jan. 2003
By Matthew S. Schweitzer - Published on
Format: Paperback
This work by the Dutchman Alexander Exquemelin (or Esquemeling) was first published in the Netherlands in 1678 as "De Americaensche Zeerovers" and later translated into English as "The Buccaneers of America" of which this book is a reprint. Exquemelin was himself a buccaneer and claimed to have collected these tales of piracy on the high seas as an eyewitness. It has proven to be one of the only accounts of the 17th century buccaneers of the Spanish Main. Here collected for the first time were the tales of such famous (and infamous) buccanneers like Pierre LeGrand, Francis L'Ollonais, and Henry Morgan.
The buccaneers started out fairly innocuously enough as hunters on the Spanish controlled island of Hispanola. But as they grew more numerous, they were ruthlessly persecuted by the Spanish authorities and driven onto the island of Tortuga. This treatment fuled an unparalled hatred for the Spanish and gave rise to some of the cruelest acts of violence in the history of piracy. Of the pirates discussed here, many, like the dread pirate L'Ollonais, were known for their almost unrivaled cruelty in the treatment of captives. L'Ollonais was said to have cut out the hearts of Spanish captives and eaten them to frighten the others into revealing information he wanted. Of all, Captain Henry Morgan is by far the most famous and remembered of the buccaneers. Morgan was known for his daring acts against the Spanish and for his capture and sack of Panama, then the rendezvous point for the Spanish gold fleet. Later, he went on to fame and fortune as the governor of Jamaica.
The buccaneers passed into history with the close of the 17th century. The Golden Age of piracy was to peak in the early 18th century, by which time the older buccaneers had faded away, and with them the days when the Spanish ruled the New World. But Exquemeling's work will forever capture the spirit and adventure of these days long gone. Highly recommended.
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
A Good Look Into the History of Bucaneers 5 Sept. 2001
By Michael Schoene - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is a great read for those that are interested in pirates. It takes you through the days when the Bucaneers ruled the waters around Hispanola. The author goes into detail of life on the islands around Hispanola in the 16th century. He describes the plants, animals and landscape of the islands that were used by the Bucaneers. Some may find all the description hard to get through, but if you have an interest in how life was as a Bucaneer this is a must read. If you stick with it through the descriptions the second half of the book goes into the raids and atroscities of the Bucaneers. He gives a detailed account of some of the more famous Bucaneers and their horrible acts against those that lived in the towns that they raided. The book is easy to read and it will for the most part entertain you throughout. Well worth the time and money.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A Real Pirate Wrote this Account of the Buccaneering Way of Life 9 Oct. 2005
By Dakota - Published on
Format: Paperback
BUCCANEERS OF AMERICA was fascinating. It is an easy-to-read narrative about the real-life environment and adventures of the first pirates of the Caribbean - and it's written by a 17th-century buccaneer!

The first part of the book concentrates on describing how the buccaneering lifestyle was established, as well as included an in-depth description of the flora and fauna of Tortuga and Hispaniola. Having been to the Dominican Republic on Hispaniola, I really appreciated the rich detail and history of what the island was like in the 17th century. I can't believe Hispaniola had so many animals back then - if you go there today, you'll find all the wildlife was killed for food long, long ago.

The second part of the book mostly covers the exploits of Henry Morgan, probably the most famous buccaneer of them all. One of the fascinating chapters is about the sack of Panama, which includes all the hardships the buccaneers endured in order to pillage Spanish cities and fortresses.

This was a neat little book that kept my attention from chapter one onward. I also stopped quite often just to read different passages aloud. If you are going to travel to the Dominican Republic or Haiti, I'd recommend reading this book or taking it along as your "beach book." It's too bad there aren't really any touring trips to Tortuga, the infamous pirate haven that is referred to quite often in BUCCANEERS OF AMERICA, as it is nowadays an uninhabited island.

The only part of this book I didn't enjoy was the Introduction, which was pretty dry to read. If you bypass it completely and just start with the first chapter, you'll be fine!

***Another fascinating pirate book to read is UNDER THE BLACK FLAG by David Cordingly.****
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
He should know, he was there 10 Sept. 2003
By James G. Bennett Jr. - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a book about buccaneering written by one of the participants. Esquemeling was a Dutch physian who went to the Caribbean during the heyday of the Spanish Main. He was the surgeon to Henry Morgan's expedition against Panama City.
Like many educated men of his time, he tried to be a scientific observer of the New World. As a result, you'll see descriptions of flora and fauna of the Americas mixed in with anecdotes about the famous and near famous of the period. The phraseology can be stilted in places, but that is how people spoke at the time.
Is it worth reading? I certainly think so! It's valuable in the same way that Bernal Diaz's account of the conquest of Mexico is valuable, it gives a flavor for how the participants saw themselves. So, if you want real, this is it.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
War, Greed, Lust, Violence, and Brutality in the 17th-Century Caribbean 1 Sept. 2005
By Takipsilim - Published on
Format: Paperback
The Spanish Main in the 1600's was a hot bed for European colonial rivalry. Places would shift ownership constantly as France, England, and the Netherlands fought to pry dominance away from Spain. Displaced French colonists sought a rural livelihood in Hispaniola (now Haiti and Dominican Republic) then nearby Tortuga (a part of modern Haiti). Living by hunting wild cattle, they sold the hides to the Dutch. These hinterland dwellers had a way of smoke-drying beef that they learned from Carib-Indians who survived Spanish extermination. They would smoke the meat on wooden frames so that it could be used in the future. The wooden frames were called "boucans", hence the practitioners of the craft were called "Boucaniers". The Spaniards resented the presence of the foreigners, and made efforts to drive them out. The harassed Frenchmen were joined by other French and English islanders who coalesced to thwart this threat and became known to history as "Buccaneers".

"The Buccaneers of America" narrates the unique and sordid life these men lived in an age and land of lawlessness and savagery. The author, said to be a Frenchman who retired to Holland after residing in the Caribbean because of religious turmoil in France, writes of his initial employ with the French West India Company. As was the custom of the time, indentured servants could be sold by their employers and the luckless author, being one, found himself at the mercy of masters with varying degrees of humanity. Eventually finding himself free after his contract ended and left with nothing but what he wore, he decided to join the Buccaneers. And the beginning of his tale unfolded. He chronicles the lifestyle of these men and how they winded up in their profession. He describes their constant battles with the Spanish, their excellent marksmanship and unsullied bravery, becoming some of the best unoffical soldiers of the time. He vividly recounts the story of Jean-David Nau, better known as the dreaded L'Ollonais, perhaps the most brutal individual Pirate in history. He narrates in gruesome detail the infernal nature of this creature as he coerces men to follow his trail of blood and conquest, highlighting to the infamous scene where he hacks a prisoner's chest and snatches the still beating heart and gnaws it in front of horrified captives and crewmen. Exquemelin devoted the second half of the work to Henry Morgan, the most successful buccaneer in history and one of the most ruthless and audacious commanders of all time. With modest numbers of men he sacked prominent cities against larger bodies of men with better arms, culminating in the sack of Panama. He depicts in grisly detail the cruelty of the buccaneers and their loose and democratic way of life. There is a strong bias against the Spaniards, and this may affect his text somewhat, but considering the well-known brutality of the former, his issues may be understood. He also gives a fascinating picture of everyday Caribbean life in the 17th-Century, describing in detail life in the tropics: the land, animals, and natives are all given a clear-eyed view by the observant and scrutinizing adventurer.

Written in Dutch and published in 1678 as "De Americaensche Zee-Rovers", the book was a bestseller in it's time and reprinted in major European languages, introducing the continent to the immoral backward vagabondage the book's subjects led. The only primary work to depict this period in world history, Exquemelin's seminal tome is an invaluable and remarkable account of a peek into the Western world's more barbarous and less civil past.
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