Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
it was a great pleasure to read this book
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).