Much like the tides of the sea, piracy has had its rises and falls. From the thriving golden age of piracy to the devastating anti-piracy maritime campaign, the historical accounts of real-life swashbucklers contain a wealth of action and adventure. Whether you're interested in in-depth biographies on pirate legends like Blackbeard or a broader view of the pirate lifestyle, you've come to the right place. These 11 books about real-life pirates are must-reads for anyone who dreams of more swashbuckling times.
This book unravels the legend of Edward Teach Blackbeard, an indisputable icon of the golden age of piracy. With so many tales of his bloody exploits, Blackbeard doesn't always have the clearest historical reflection. This work aims to look behind his legendary status to the man beneath it all—the man forged by the very nature of piracy itself, as well as the naval campaigns launched against it.
The court of Queen Elizabeth I is often immersed in a romantic mythology, yet her reign had its sordid financial underpinnings. Elizabeth gained popularity on home soil with her policy of seizing foreign assets... but this choice also drew her into partnerships with pirates. Punishing or rewarding pirates based on how big her cut was meant that the Queen's sea laws were essentially arbitrary. This text offers a valuable insight into the reality of Elizabethan naval policy.
A General History of the Pyrates
What truth is there behind the depiction of pirates as being peg-legged, eye patch-wearing treasure buriers? This book collects histories and legends alike from the golden age of piracy. Offering tales of Blackbeard, Black Bart, Anne Bonny, Edward Teach, Mary Read, Jolly Roger, Calico Jack, and more, this text is an essential look at the foundation of our present-day concepts of pirate culture.
The Buccaneer King
Captain Sir Henry Morgan was a Welshman who rose to be one of the most ruthless and brutal buccaneers of the golden age of piracy. While many of his contemporaries were hunted and killed, he was considered to be a hero of England. Given both English knighthood and governorship in Jamaica, what set Morgan apart from his pirate peers? This biography dives deep into the life of an intriguing and exceptional leader.
The Golden Age of Piracy
"The golden age of piracy" has been tossed around a lot in discussion—but what exactly was it? This book utilizes the perspectives of 12 different authors as they shed light on the mythologies of 17th and 18th century pirates. In an anthology of scholarly essays, readers are given insight into how pirates operated their plundering ventures, how governments battled piracy, and when and why piracy declined.
Pirates and Privateers in the 18th Century
This text offers a look into the lifestyle of the buccaneers who were the scourge of merchants in the 18th century. From how the sinking of the Spanish treasure fleet in a storm off the coast of Florida led to a pirates gold rush to how the desperate gamble of the King's Pardon paid off, this book delivers a riveting history. Going further, it investigates the popularity of piracy in media, and how thieves have developed into swashbuckling heroes.
The Pirates Laffite
Jean and Pierre Laffite were privateers who were active in New Orleans from just after the Louisiana Purchase through the War of 1812. These legends were known as hell-raisers to the Spanish merchants on the Gulf, pirates to the U.S. Navy, and heroes to the private citizens who purchased their contraband. These clever brothers soon aligned with lawyers, bankers, merchants, and corrupt U.S. officials—though they soon disappeared from history after selling out their associates as paid Spanish spies.
Captain William Kidd was executed on May 23rd, 1701. This act of "justice" is considered one of the most controversial events in piracy's history. Kidd's final voyage has grown with legend—from accounts of concealed treasure to the retellings of the dubious conduct of his trial. To some, he was merely a legal privateer. Others saw him as a wicked pirate. This book reassesses the complicated man in order to wade through history's complex ambiguity.
In the 19th century, the so-called King of the Pirates—Bartholomew Roberts—and scores of others were killed off the coast of Africa by the Royal Navy. Following the capture of Roberts' fleet, countless others were executed by the Admiralty Court. To the pirates, their terrorization of the shipping in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic was merely a way of life. For centuries, the existence of pirates was unstoppable—until the Royal Navy launched one of the greatest anti-piracy campaigns in history.
The Republic of Pirates
This book unveils the little-known tale of a heroic band of Caribbean pirates. In the early 18th century, the Pirate Republic housed such great captains as Blackbeard, "Black Sam" Bellamy, and Charles Vane. Among them and the other pirates were sailors, indentured servants, and runaway slaves. Together, this "Flying Gang" built a democracy in the Bahamas which boldly defied imperial rule. Here, servants were free, blacks could be equal citizens, and leaders were chosen or deposed by a vote. The time this Republic remained a success was a brief as it was glorious.
Under the Black Flag
This book contains riveting accounts from the golden age of piracy from pirate expert David Cordingly. The text dives into the truth behind legends of pirate greats like Blackbeard, Captain Kidd, Sir Francis Drake, as well as fierce female pirates like Mary Read and Anne Bonny. Cordingly details the weapons they brandished, the ships they sailed, and the ways in which they fought. Looking even further past strict history, Cordingly discusses the portrayals of fictional pirates like Captain Hook and Long John Silver.