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Sodomy and the Pirate Tradition: English Sea Rovers in the Seventeenth-Century Caribbean, Second Edition Paperback – 1 Mar 1995

3.7 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press; Revised edition edition (1 Mar. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814712363
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814712368
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.7 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 402,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"Burg puts historians to shame by raising extremely interesting questions that no one before had asked." --Christopher Hill in New York Review of Books

"A great . . . very interesting book." --Johnny Depp

About the Author

B. R. Burg is Professor of History at Arizona State University and the author of Sodomy and the Pirate Tradition.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting
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I bought this book after hearing it mentioned on the TV programme QI. The book is well written and covers very interesting subject matter, with some good scene setting to show events in a historical context. The author makes the following points that sodomy was pretty much the norm in the pirate world because
1. Lack of women
2. Men with homosexual tendencies choosing this life.
3. Less condemnation of sodomy among the general population than there is in the modern world.

These points are well made, but after the umpteenth time he had stated these points, I began to wish he would stop banging on about them!
However, it's an interesting read, and packed with insights into how pirating came about, and the political, cultural and financial ramifications of piracy in the 17th century and beyond.
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Being an avid watcher of QI, I was intrigued by this publication mentioned by Stephen Fry and I have to confess, I felt compelled to buy it and read it. I was very pleased to read what can only be described as an informative insight to the ways of the pirate classes above and below decks. Its a brilliant book and everyone should read it before prejudging homosexual behaviour.
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Format: Paperback
Overall, this book is an excellent assimilation of data that provides a compelling, if sometimes circumstantial, argument that homosexual activity or homosexuality itself was an integral, known and most probably welcome aspect of pirate life in the 17th and early 18th centuries. Taken in the context of its initial date of publication (1983) and subsequent reprint (1995) the message of this book will have initially been perhaps more profound than it is today in western society in 2013 where homosexual lifestyle has in many parts of society become mainstream and often legally protected. There are, however, a few drawbacks that detract from this work without, in my view, undermining its message or significance.

In the extensive discussion on historical context, there seems a degree of selective use of example in articulating the attitudes of society toward homosexuality and homosexual behaviour. At times it feels a bit like the author is bending history to his message rather than concluding his message from an unbiased assessment of history. There are two examples worth noting. In the discussion of Mervin Touchet, Lord Audley, Earl of Castlehaven, his conviction and execution, the author does not extend the discussion to the others involved in the case or point out that they too were executed, perhaps as with Castlehaven not simply for sodomy but this point is left unclear since unaddressed. A second example is the discussion of a pamphlet entitled A Full and True Account of a Dreadful Fire that Lately Broke Out in the Popes Breeches. This the author identifies as anti-clerical rather than anti-homosexual, but nowhere in the discussion is the definition extended to clarify that it in fact relates to a rumoured affair between the well-known wife of the British consul to Venice and the Pope.
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Bought this for my brother for his birthday and he was cock-a-hoop. (Not sure its everyone's coffee table book, but a fascinating read!)
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I bought this book after a random recommendation on QI, of all things, and haven't been disappointed. Although the book does focus primarily on pirates, there are other chapters which cover general society which does give a good context before moving onto the piratical aspects. The length of biblography is better than I was expecting for a book of this nature, although to be honest I took most things with a pinch of salt. However, the book does give you food for thought on the subject and possibly even approach it from a completely new viewpoint. You could quite happily read this book for entertainment only rather than educational study, and it does make an interesting addition to your coffee table. Just remember to hide it when the mother in law comes over for tea ;)
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Very interesting good copy
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ok
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