Fox

Pyracy Pub Book Group

91 posts in this topic

I finished Moll Flanders. Might be worth reading for someone constructing a female persona or character; otherwise not. Although there are some bright bits of humor in it, it's mostly a plodding read.

The general idea is that Betty, alias Moll Flanders, lives a life of wickedness and eventually becomes a thief, only to be redeemed in the end by pious penitence. Very moralistic. I do wonder how seriously DeFoe meant us to take the premise. Theoretically, Moll goes wrong because of her vanity, and all the disasters that befall her result from this sin, which allows her to be seduced at a young age and suffer the horror of losing her viriginity and honor before she's married. In reality, though, Moll's troubles have nothing to do with vanity. Her lost virginity causes her very little difficulty, as she gets her first husband so drunk on their wedding night that he never realizes she's not a virgin. What really lands Moll in the soup is that two of her husbands die early, another two desert her, and a fifth fails to work out for a hilariously improbable reason. Was DeFoe playing to the censors while quietly punching holes in the 18th century moralists' pretensions? Or was he himself blind to the fact that his story doesn't have the moral that he claims it has? I don't know, but either way it makes the book surprisingly appealing to a modern reader.

The book is a fair source on Golden Age culture. It's published in 1722, but Moll is shown as writing in 1683, and thus to have been born about 1613. Oddly, the English Civil War, the Restoration, and the Great Fire are never mentioned, even though Moll is in London beginning her thieving career at the time of the Great Fire. The story is mainly about marriage, specifically how money overwhelmed all other concerns in picking a spouse, and how a woman's options were basically, marriage, prostitution, or theft. Moll spends most of the book trying to convince husbands that she is "a fortune," that is, that she has enough money to be worth marrying.

Moll's attitude toward her children is memorably callous; although there's a warm reunion with one of them near the end of the book, she places most of them with others soon after they're born and never bothers to see them, and she seems to have simply abandoned at least one bastard son.

There's a fair description of the inside of Newgate, and mention of the prisoners who have money enough to buy the liberty of the press yard. One of the inmates has the memorably gruesome tagline, "If I swing by the string, I will hear the bell ring, And then there's an end to poor Jenny."

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I have read both the books Foxe is recomending, and they are very informative, both the authors are piratologists, and I believe David Cordingly was used as a reference/ consultant when research was being done for the first Pirates of the Caribbean. So I would advise reading them as well.

A book I recently read and enjoyed was

'THE LAST DAYS OF BLACK BEARD THE PIRATE' by Kevin Dumas, It is a new veiw on the history of the notorious Blackbeard, and wether or not it is accurate the auther still did his research, looking into the dark corners of history and as a result the book is a fascinating read any way you slice it.

Edited by Commodore Greyhound

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Ah, please don't take my mention of Cawthorne's book in the first post as a recommendation, I simply meant it might be fun to comapre the two. Actually I think Cawthorne's books are all (based, admittedly, on the two I've waded through) unremitting sh*te. He's not a piratologist, he's an idiot, and he couldn't write decent history if he paid somebody else to do it.

Cordingly's not without his faults, but infinitely better.

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Well It's been a while since I've read either of those books, my personal preference when it comes to piratical nonfiction is a book with illustrations from varying sources, diagrams of things pertaining to the passage and enough text so that what i'm reading won't make me consider wether or nat I'm reading a child's picture book. The book I'm reading now is fascinating for all these reasons in addition to the fact that it contains new information I haven't encountered before.

The book is 'The Pirate Code; From Honerable Theives to Modern-Day Villains' by Brenda Ralph Lewis. It is a fascinating Study of how Pirate's articles of aggreement evolved starting with laws made by ancient pirate cheifs, working it's way through history by way of Vikings, Coarsairs, and Asian Pirates and into the Brothren of the Coast's Customs of the Coast, and how it influenced Pirates like Roberts, Phillips and the like, it isn't just the study but also a history of pyracy around the world from ancient times to today.

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Sounds interesting. Which articles does she mention from the 1650-1730 time-frame?

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Sounds interesting. Which articles does she mention from the 1650-1730 time-frame?

Division of plunder, compensation for wounds, punishment for striking another, duels, punishment for theft, various offenses penishable by marooning, as well as superstion associated with code. Black Bart, Edward Low, George Lowther and John Phillip's article are discussed in particular. It's also a useful book as it discusses in some detail buccaneer and pirate society in a couple chapters. I am almost to Chapter 6 in the book and have nearly finished reading about the Brothren of the Coast.

There are 8 chapters in all. In order they are Piracy in the Ancient World, Viking and Barbary Pirates, Pirates of the Far East (which mainly deals with Japanese Pirates called 'wokou') Pirate Democracy, The Brethren of the Coast, Tales from the Caribbean, The Golden age of Piracy, and Piracy Today.

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Capt. Johnson's A General History of Pyrates just showed up from amazon today, the day I found this web site. I will leave it to you salty dogs to argue whether or not Defoe actually wrote it. I tend to side with Cordingly, but I will wait to read it before committing.

Regardless of whether it was written by Johnson or Defoe this is the most authentic pirate book ever! I love it.

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Capt. Johnson's A General History of Pyrates just showed up from amazon today, the day I found this web site. I will leave it to you salty dogs to argue whether or not Defoe actually wrote it. I tend to side with Cordingly, but I will wait to read it before committing.

Regardless of whether it was written by Johnson or Defoe this is the most authentic pirate book ever! I love it.

Authentic in what sense?

'Authetic', as in, was written by a chronological contemporary of the pirates it describes: certainly, and although there are numerous other books also written at the right time (and in some cases written by people actually involved in piracy as participants or victims), Johnson's is just about the fullest.

'Authentic', as in, is filled with accurate accounts of the pirates it describes: that's a whole other debate! In a general sense, some chapters are better than others, some are very good, some are most definitely not. For some chapters it seems likely that Johnson was able to interview credible witnesses - particularly the chapters on Davis, Roberts, Anstis, Phillips, and Lowther. For other chapters, such as Bonnet's and possibly Low's, Johnson appears to have bee working mostly from previously published material such as trial reports and newspaper articles. Some chapters - those on Vane, Rackham, Bonny, and Read, for example - he was probably using a mix of common gossip, newspapers, and his own imagination. Some chapters are highly inaccurate (Every's), others are filled with fictional events and people (Misson, Tew). And, of course, the jury's still out on several chapters.

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Capt. Johnson's A General History of Pyrates just showed up from amazon today, the day I found this web site. I will leave it to you salty dogs to argue whether or not Defoe actually wrote it. I tend to side with Cordingly, but I will wait to read it before committing.

Regardless of whether it was written by Johnson or Defoe this is the most authentic pirate book ever! I love it.

Authentic in what sense?

'Authetic', as in, was written by a chronological contemporary of the pirates it describes: certainly, and although there are numerous other books also written at the right time (and in some cases written by people actually involved in piracy as participants or victims), Johnson's is just about the fullest.

'Authentic', as in, is filled with accurate accounts of the pirates it describes: that's a whole other debate! In a general sense, some chapters are better than others, some are very good, some are most definitely not. For some chapters it seems likely that Johnson was able to interview credible witnesses - particularly the chapters on Davis, Roberts, Anstis, Phillips, and Lowther. For other chapters, such as Bonnet's and possibly Low's, Johnson appears to have bee working mostly from previously published material such as trial reports and newspaper articles. Some chapters - those on Vane, Rackham, Bonny, and Read, for example - he was probably using a mix of common gossip, newspapers, and his own imagination. Some chapters are highly inaccurate (Every's), others are filled with fictional events and people (Misson, Tew). And, of course, the jury's still out on several chapters.

My definition is that the the author was around at the time, knew some of the characters or spoke to folks who knew the characters, and had some genuine historical / academic interest. As we know from conflicting newspaper reports (even today) eye-witness accounts of the same events often differ (even when there is a lot more actual 'proof' available). As with any human recall "truth" is always subjective. What I love about Johnson / Defoe is that he captures the flavor and atmosphere of the period, relates the tales in the popular imagination, and really transports you back in time.

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Blackbeard: America's Most Notorious Pirate

by Angus Konstam

I found this as a good read on Teach. It drew a lot of suppositions and theories on the blank spaces in the known history. I actually read this with the Blackbeard chapter of Captain Johnson's A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates and Under the Black Flag by David Cordingly. I like to cross-reference any piracy history with this book just so I can make my own postulations and theories. I would suggest this to anyone.

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Another good read, if your looking for a little bit of information on everything pirate, is The Pirate Dictionary by Terry Breverton. It takes you through phrases or things a pirate, privateer or sailor is likely to be familiar with. For anyone just starting out or looking to enrich themselves, I adds a laot of information, and I commonly use a phrase I found in the book. Not only that, it elaborates on how a lot of modern sayings have a nautical origin, which is greatly entertaining. I highly recomend it.

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As this is the first post in over 3 years, I don't feel bad about a little self-promotion here...

Published first book in my Brethren of the Spanish Main series, The Wrath of Brotherhood. Check it out if you like pirate stories. On Amazon and other eBook retailers.

Kind of trying to find more time to read lately myself, but it's finally getting warm out again too, so who knows?

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Looks like this thread hasn't had anything in awhile. I'd like to suggest "Pirate Hunters" by Robert Kurston.

It just came out earlier this year and it's fantastic. It's all about the wreck divers that found the Golden Fleece. Lots of first person accounts and background. But it reads like solid fiction.

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Thank you for reviving the books thread and for the suggested reading. I really need to get back to my list of pirates books. I haven't read anything pirate related in such a long time.

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I have to recommend "At the Point of a Cutlass" by Greg Fleming. He is the webmaster/creator of the Gentlemen of Fortune website.

Its an awesome read!

mP

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I'll double that vote madPete. That's a great one.

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