The Pirates – Matthew West

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I bought “The Pirates” thinking that I’d finally get past the movies and come face to face with who Pirates were and what drove them to piracy. Whilst “The Pirates” did provide some information about this it never delivered anything I didn’t already know. That probably isn’t the books fault, piracy is something Hollywood borrows and romanticises. It has been well established in cinema since before I was born and will probably continue to be into the far future.

As a general summary this book is worth reading. It flits between famous pirate characters and discusses their lives at a glance. As an introduction to the story of the golden age of piracy it does well to loosely identify the pirates and their motives but little else. Besides a few interesting, if not humorous, anecdotes about life aboard pirate vessels this book was not very engaging.

If all the sections in this book, had been written like the section near the end about Black Bart I would be reviewing this book in a far more positive light. This section gives a biography of Black Bart highlighting the highs and lows of his career. The fact that Black Bart’s story features a meteoric rise in status followed by a tragic, if not deserved, end makes his section the most easy to engage with.

Rating: 3 out of 10

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