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The stirring true story of the seventeenth-century pirates of the Mediterranean---the forerunners of today's bandits of the seas---and how their legendary conquests shaped the divisions between Christianity and Islam.
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Adrian Tinniswood is the author of more than a dozen books, including The Verneys: A True Story of Love, War, and Madness in Seventeenth-Century England, which was short-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize. He is a consultant to Britain's National Trust and is known on both sides of the Atlantic as an author, a historian, lecturer, and broadcaster. He lives near Bath, England.From Publishers Weekly:
Forget the pirates of the Caribbean: their Old World brethren were an altogether more colorful and fearsome lot, according to this swashbuckling study. Historian Tinniswood (The Verneys: A True Story of Love, War, and Madness in Seventeenth-Century England) revisits the kleptocratic heyday of the Barbary states--Tripoli, Tunis, Algiers, bits of Morocco--which offered fortified harbors to pirates and in turn built their economies around the sale of stolen cargoes and captives. The buccaneers, who kidnapped whole villages as far north as Ireland and Iceland, were denounced as the scourge of Christendom. Yet most of the "Turkish" pirates Tinniswood highlights were British, Dutch, or Italian renegades who sometimes bought pardons and obtained naval commands from their native countries. The million Christians sold into bondage often converted to Islam and became pillars of the North African economy. The author makes this story an entertaining picaresque of crime, combat, and moral compromise; fierce sea battles and daring escapes alternate with corrupt hagglings as European governments vacillate between gunboat diplomacy and offering tribute for the release of their enslaved countrymen. Tinniswood gives us both a rollicking narrative and a rich brew of early modern maritime history. Illus., map. (Nov.) (c)
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