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on 5 February 2016
This is a popular history written by a popular journalist. That provenance is evident in Des Ekin's patent effort to draw parallels between the Corsair raid on 17th century Baltimore (Eire) and jihadi attacks in our contemporary world. Editorial varnishing apart: it was a great pleasure to read this book. Ekin does traverse the gaps in the historical record by strewing his text with actual accounts from other captives who wrote from somewhat similar circumstances. (But I experienced that more as bounce than padding.) And the author never lets the reader lose sight of the fact that he is speculating; moreover, speculation is what it clearly is---not confabulation; and, whenever he can, Ekin sticks closely to the path beaten by more scholarly works. (Ekin closes the book with a brilliant hunch that may have been missed by the actual scholars) He is a confident, skilful, and reflective writer whose prose carries the reader like a wave carries the surf. Another reviewer has found some parts of the book to be dependent on outmoded sources. That may very well be true, but it matters little to me because I knew nothing at all about this historical incident; and, though the picture I now have may be subject to revision it inspires me to further reading (particularly about the pirate republics, and their codes, and their possible influence on the founders of the United States).
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on 2 June 2017
This book paints a fascinating picture what it must have been like for the townsfolk of Baltimore as a slave on the Barbary coast. The author must have poured over so much historical documents to piece this together. So many fascinating historical (and useful present day) accounts of others in the same fate as well as a vivid analysis of the political, religious and social landscapes at the time in England, Ireland, Europe and the North African coast.

A historical masterpiece and a brilliant read. I couldn't put it down.
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on 7 April 2018
A very interesting story but a lot is supposition, based on similar stories from other person enslaved. An awful lot of printing errors with duplicated words in almost every chapter.
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on 12 February 2018
An interesting read but a bit too long for the amount of real stories in it.It does give a sense of the utter desolation one would feel on being enslaved.
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on 24 November 2017
Very enjoyable book. Written in an easy to read style and full of well researched information. History does not have to be dull. Recommended.
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on 27 May 2014
I enjoy history books, but feared, at first, that this one might be a little lightweight. How wrong I was. This is an engagingly-written account of an event that just seems unbelievable. Mr. Ekin examines this story from every angle. It's a human story, a societal critique and a superbly-rounded and flabbergasting piece of historical detective work. I mustn't reveal the ending!
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on 1 December 2017
Well written and great for learning about the Barbary pirates and white slave trade
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on 25 February 2016
... 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 ...
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on 21 November 2013
I didn't know that Ireland & England were plagued by pirates in the same way as the Carribean. This is a well researched and very enjoyable read
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on 16 January 2016
Amazing piece of unknown history about real pirates!
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