The classic account of the lives & exploits of the most notorious pirates of the Golden Age—from Anne Bonny to Blackbeard
"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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
However, the down side of this particular volume is that it includes only a subset of Johnson's original writings. And, there is no added index with which to quickly reference particular names and such. While I don't quite agree that the editor has ruined the original, I do find that this version falls short of its potential. P-)
The conclusion that Defoe and Johnson were one and the same has come under fire these last few years and is not the accepted fact it once was. This text includes portions of the original volumes by Johnson, but not the whole, although it can be argued that it includes the stories that most readers would want. There is also some question about the validity of the stories, but we may never know whether they are true or fiction. P-)