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A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates

Captain Charles Johnson; Introduction-David Cordingly

247 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1558217665 / ISBN 13: 9781558217669
Published by The Lyons Press, 1998
Used Condition: Used: Good Hardcover
From Ergodebooks (RICHMOND, TX, U.S.A.)

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Bibliographic Details

Title: A General History of the Robberies and ...

Publisher: The Lyons Press

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Used: Good

About this title

Synopsis:

Both Robert Louis Stevenson and J.M. Barrie were inspired by this 1724 classic--the first book to introduce the world of Captain Kidd, Mary Read and 19 other pirates to the reading public. David Cordingly, author of Under the Black Flag, provides an introduction to this edition, which was taken from the third edition, published in 1925. Includes a glossary and an abstract of the 1720 civil and statute law relating to piracy. No index. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Review:

"I presume we need make no Apology for giving the Name of a History to the following Sheets, though they contain nothing but the Actions of a Parcel of Robbers."
A "Parcel of Robbers" they may be, but pirates have long held a special place in our imaginations. The iconography of piracy--peg legs, eye patches, pieces of eight, squawking parrots, the Jolly Roger--was first codified in A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates. This collection of brief biographies reads like a Who's Who? of piracy, with entries on Captains Kidd, Rackam, and Roberts, women-in-disguise pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read, and the infamous Edward Teach, a.k.a. Blackbeard, "that couragious Brute, who might have pass'd in the World for a Heroe, had he been employ'd in a good Cause."

First published in 1724, A General History is the book that launched a thousand pirate stories--inspiring Robert Louis Stevenson's Long John Silver, J.M. Barrie's Captain Hook, and Rafael Sabatini's Captain Blood. Though it had been attributed to a shadowy character named Captain Charles Johnson since its date of publication, the book has now been convincingly (though not incontrovertibly) attributed to Daniel Defoe. The 18th-century text, reproduced here complete with the awkward sentence construction, capitalization of nouns proper and common, and frequent italicizing typical of its era, sometimes makes for rather difficult reading, but Defoe's prose still manages to sparkle. With a new introduction by Richard West, author of Daniel Defoe: The Life and Strange, Surprising Adventures, A General History is a must-read for armchair swashbucklers. --C.B. Delaney

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