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4.0 out of 5 stars High adventure in both the present and the past, 12 May 2013
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A fascinating insight into a murky and often misunderstood period of history and the complexities inherent in conducting underwater archaeological research in an often hostile environment.

The book is divided between a detailed description of the history of the site at Las Aves, that and the age of buccaneers that resulted from the wrecking of so many vessels around the island, and a discussion of the modern survey conducted by the author. Both elements are equally fascinating, although Mr Clifford does seem to spill considerable quantities of ink regarding the various quarrels and disputes that took place amongst the team members, however the chapters describing the exploits and adventures of the buccaneers associated with the Las Aves disaster are by far the most engaging.

Four stars have been awarded for the quality of the writing, the enjoyment gained from reading and the interest in the subject matter it has stimulated. However, the text really would have benefited from associated maps and images and, as such, it isn't quite worthy of five stars. The book would also have benefited from the inclusion of a bibliography/reading list and an index. It may be that such features are present in the physical book, however they are certainly missing from the kindle version.

Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable read for all those with an interest in marine archaeology, The planning and executing of archaeological expeditions and the history of pirates and buccaneers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A succinct history of the Golden Age of piracy mixed with contemporary adventure., 27 Oct. 2010
Amazon Customer "Bartleby2009" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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The author of this book, Barry Clifford, brings me to mind of a real life Steve Zissou, the fictionalised version of explorer Jacques Cousteau in The Life Aquatic. That sets the tone of this book for me, which I found charming, well written and interesting in equal measure.

The narrative is split between an account of the 1998 expedition to discover a lost fleet of French warships and their buccaneer consorts and the story of the rise and fall of the 'Golden Age' of West Indian piracy and privateering in the 17th century, using the wreck of the French fleet as a jumping off point.

This split narrative might be off putting to people who are only interested in the pure historical narrative, or conversely to people who are only really interested in reading about stories of relatively modern exploration. However, I found that this lightened the tone of the book and helped to prevent the succession of battles, pirates and governors from all flowing into one another.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a fast paced primer on the Golden Age of piracy in the Caribbean. For people looking for a denser, lengthier focus on the historical narrative then it might be worth taking a look at Buccaneers of the Caribbean: How Piracy Forged an Empire 1607-1697.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Me, Me, Me and the 17th Century Pirates, 13 Nov. 2011
T. Champion - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Lost Fleet: The Discovery of a Sunken Armada from the Golden Age of Piracy (Hardcover)
This book contains chapters on 17th C. pirates and a 1998 expedition to confirm the site of a wrecked fleet, in more or less equal measure. I would recommend reading this book, but.......

The two subjects of this book are handled very differently.

The chapters about the expedition I found mostly quite tedious - Whilst not wishing to under-estimate the self-belief and charisma necessary to conduct a pseudo-archeological expedition in Venezuelan waters under the watchful gaze of competing Venezuelan authorities, modern day pirates and treasure hunters, Mr Clifford comes across as self-absorbed, conceited and seems to like name-dropping and bitching about other people. [He even seems to have me at now, too!] The writing style for these chapters was poor.

To my mind, the chapters about pirates/freebooters/filibusters of the Caribbean were fascinating, and demonstrated a very professional approach to research rendered in a very readable writing style. I wouldn't be surprised if these chapters had been ghost-written, and that is not a complaint - These chapters alone make the book well worth reading .
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