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General History of the Robberies & Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates Paperback – May 4 2010
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"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.
From Library Journal
Despite varying titles, these are essentially the same book. Published in 1724, Defoe's chronicle of the scourges of the sea was a smashing success, finding a wide audience eager for tales of those cutthroat sailors who flew the skull and crossbones. The Dover edition is more scholarly, including several essays on Defoe, indexes (ships, names, and places), photos, and a postscript. If you don't need any of that, save a couple of bucks and go with the Carroll & Graf edition.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Captain Johnson, who was once thought to be Daniel Defoe, dramatically relates the fights, rapes, and murders of these sea-going criminals.
Surprisingly, two of the 12 pirates were women--Anne Bonny and Mary Reed. The latter was once battling other pirates who were boarding her ship. Reed "called to those under deck to come up and fight like men, and finding that they did not stir, fired her arms down the hole amongst them, killing one and wounding others."
Maritime historians will enjoy this book.
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-)
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-)
Most recent customer reviews
As in the case of all Daniel Defoe books, the work is of exceptional quality though in places, the tone is unusually harsh & chillingly descriptive of the havoc that a twisted... Read morePublished on July 13 1999
I didn't like this book. Although historically acurate it contains very general and lacks detail.Published on Feb. 25 1999