on 25 May 2007
The first thing to be said about this book is that it is very, very readable. It was a surprise to me that there was so much information about Wm. Kidd to me he was a pirate pure and simple, this book gives the impression that he became a pirate almost by accident, I'm not so sure. He comes across as ambitious, over confident and strangely niaive. He must have been a charismatic leader with a powerful personality and also a very competent seaman.
He was severely let down by his backers and why he didn't cut and run when he had the chance is a mystery. He certainly committed one severe act of piracy and possibly minor ones. Others who did the same or worse managed to get away with it, perhaps not many but Kidd may have done so had he played his cards differently and been less cocksure.
Having read this I then read some other accounts of the same episodes and I think that the author paints a too sympathetic picture of Kidd. But the depth of his research would make it presumptious to differ too strongly with his conclusions. There is much information about Kidd's contempories and the conditions of the time and what the author has surmised appears fair enough!
If there is little if any swash and buckle in this tale it is none the worse for that - it is still a "rattling good yarn" and excellently told. I trust Mr. Zacks will not rest on his pen. And my remark about "so much information" should not ignore the profundity of his research and the three years spent acquiring it. (Until you find the pearl opening oyster after oyster can be somewhat boring.)
Good book give it a whirl.
on 5 October 2006
I brought this on the off chance for a quick read up on pirates and this was exactly what I wanted and more. The book is very well written and resulted in some late nights, as I just had to finish "one more chapter." Its a good mixture of captivating read and lots of facts and historical data. Whilst it focuses on just one pirate (Cpt Kidd) it brings in lots of contempories and historical context.
An ideal book to gem up on a few pirate facts and stories. Perfect for impressing one's children with!
on 28 March 2013
I read a lot of biographies, but this stands tall for me. The writing is first class and the subject exciting, stimulating and highly frustrating! The source of the frustration is that the author dispels the myth of Kidd as a Pirate, showing him to be an honest man, betrayed, let down and sacrificed by others for their own purposes. I finished this book feeling almost that Captain Kidd was a personal friend, and was genuinely unhappy when reflecting upon the legacy that is attached to his name. The book shows what a great injustice was done to him...I would recommend it to anyone as a fantastic read.