The Stolen Village: Baltimore and the Barbary Pirates Paperback – 18 Aug 2006
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'This is a gripping account that’s exhaustively researched but wears its learning lightly, and proceeds along at a lively pace . . . proof if it was needed, that fact is often more interesting than fiction' (Metro)
'Ekin is admirably surefooted as he finds his way through an impenetrable thicket of often contradictory sources and weaves his findings into an irresistibly readable narrative. Human interest is always well to the fore in a compelling book which also reminds us of the inexhaustible capacity of history to spring surprises.' (Scotsman)
'a harrowing tale that sheds light on the little-known trade in white slaves ... a fascinating exploration of a forgotten chapter of British and European history' (BBC History Magazine)
'Wonderfully interesting . . . A labour of love is how the author describes it, and after 350 easily read pages, it’s well worth the journey' (Irish Examiner)
'An enthralling read, not simply for the story of the raid itself, which Ekin recreates with bloodcurdling vividness, but for the parallels the author draws with the current geo-political situation' (Irish Times)
'one of the most compelling reads of the last decade' (Sunday World (Eire))
About the Author
Des Ekin is an Assistant Editor with The Sunday World. As well as researching investigative news articles, he writes a popular column that reaches more than a million readers every weekend. He was born in County Down, Northern Ireland and spent a decade reporting on Troubles in Northern Ireland before moving to Dublin, where he now lives with his wife and three children.
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Top Customer Reviews
Ekin's book is an entertaining account of this traditionally obscure event. A journalist and author of two novels, Ekin conducted considerable research to underneath the lives and experiences of the Baltimore captives. Where the directly relevant sources ended he turned to the accounts of others who dealt with the Barbary pirates or underwent similar experiences in an effort to understand better what life was like for the villagers of Baltimore. Though this occasionally comes across as padding, it results in a more generally informative portrait of the early 17th century, the economics of slavery, and life during those times.
Yet these strengths are offset by several problems. While his research into the village of Baltimore, the captives, and their lives is thorough, his coverage of the broader context is weaker, with descriptions of such groups as the Janissaries often dependent on a couple of dated sources that result in errors as a consequence.Read more ›
The question of of captives and identity is a tragic one. Women and children in particular suffered badly, but over the years return becomes almost impossible - this is the case the world over. An old Kiowa woman who died in the 1920s only found out weeks before she died that she was white - all of her real family had been butchered by the people she thought were her real family.
The author doesn't try to mitigate the horrors of this slave trade - of any slave trade - and its consequences.
He first describes Baltimore before the raid. It was interesting to learn that most of the people captured were descendants of Protestant English West Country settlers. He also describes the tension between the settlers and a local Irish Catholic landowner, who wanted control of the village and it's fishing trade. Later he speculates that the raid may have been caused by those tensions.
His description of the raid is well written and he gives a good idea of the tension, terror and brutality of the raid.
He also gives the background of the Dutch born Algerian based captain who planned and led the raid. It was not uncommon for "Western" sailors to become involved in the lucrative North African slave trade.
There is very little known about what actually happened to the Baltimore residents once they reached Algiers. In place of this the author has used accounts from other enslaved westerners to describe in a speculative way the way they might have lived. He gives us interesting accounts of life for both slaves and freemen in Algiers at the time. However he has to constantly state that these accounts are not specifically related to the Baltimore residents. In my opinion this takes away from their effect and gives the impression that the length of the book was being padded out.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
... ah, what a joy, what a wonderful, imaginary and well researched "story" ... a must read ... a historic eye opener and it reads like a crime novel ...Published 6 months ago by Erwin Hofmann
Interesting and a clearly set out piece of little know historyPublished 19 months ago by Alison Smith
Really enjoyed this book. Another that I couldn't put down! Nice big type so no need for glasses! Beautifully written in my opinion. Wonderful!Published 21 months ago by Miss L J A Millar
A rivetting book - a true story - It arrived earlier than promised - couldn't put it down until the end. Read morePublished 22 months ago by mollyg