Under the black flag: the romance and the reality of life among the pirates

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Random House Publishing Group, 1996 - Fiction - 296 pages
30 Reviews
Pirates have become so much a part of story and legend that is easy to forget they actually existed in the flesh. Their roving lives left behind little in the way of historical record; thus our image of them is derived from a smattering of fact overlaid with three centuries of ballads, plays, epic poems, and films. But how does our conception of pirates compare with the reality, and why has such a romantic aura become associated with murderers and thieves?
Pursuing that question, Dr. David Cordingly, former head of exhibitions at England's National Maritime Museum, has mined a wealth of original sources - eyewitness accounts, court documents, national archives, and more - to create the most authoritative and definitive account of the great age of piracy since the 1724 bestseller The General History of the Robberies and Murders of the most notorious Pyrates. Under the Black Flag explodes many closely held myths and replaces them with a truth that is more complex and every bit as fascinating. Here are the real stories of Blackbeard, Captain Kidd, and Henry Morgan, along with lesser-known but equally noteworthy pirates such as Henry Avery (who captured an emperor's treasure fleet but died penniless) and the cross-dressing women Anne Bonny and Mary Read. From the havoc of battle to the isolation of life at sea, Under the Black Flag makes tangible the day-to-day existence of pirates. How they attacked, how they governed themselves, what they wore, what ships they used, why they flourished in the years around 1720, and what brought their reign of terror to an end - all is revealed in this rousing and revisionist history.

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This is not a book I would recommend for a very casual reader of pirate history, but I know quite a bit about pirates so for me it was a great read. It has a lot of information on the everyday pirate life and the reality, something which I was looking for and it was a very refreshing book.
The best thing was the constant references to other books and archives and I am following up on them too.
 

Review: Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates

User Review  - Whitney - Goodreads

Under the Black Flag is a solid overview of the history of pirates. Author David Cordingly discusses the average life of a pirate by giving short summaries of the more famous pirate captains ... Read full review

Contents

Wooden Legs and Parrots 3
Plundering the Treasure Ports 26
Sir Henry Morgan 42
Copyright

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About the author (1996)

David Cordingly was for twelve years on the staff of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England, where he was curator of paintings and then head of exhibitions. He is a graduate of Oxford. He lives with his wife and family in Sussex, England.

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