A General History of the Pyrates

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Dover Publications, Jan 26, 1999 - Biography & Autobiography - 733 pages
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Famed for his enduring fictional masterpieces Robinson Crusoe and Moll Flanders, Daniel Defoe also possessed considerable expertise in maritime affairs. As a commission merchant, importer, shipowner, and an active journalist who reported "ship news" and interviewed surviving pirates, Defoe achieved a high degree of authority on the subject of buccaneers. His knowledge was such that his book, A General History of the Pyrates, remains the major source of information about piracy in the first quarter of the 18th century.
Reprinted here in its entirety, this fascinating history abounds in tales of flamboyant outlaws and their bloody deeds: Captain Edward Teach, alias Blackbeard; Captain William Kidd, whose trial and execution created a sensation throughout London and the world; Bartholomew Roberts, one of the most successful pirates of the era, whose crews captured an estimated 400 prizes in three years; Mary Read and Anne Bonny, who disguised themselves as men to sail under the Jolly Roger with the ill-fated Captain John Rackham; and many more.
An engrossing blend of fact and fiction — incorporating Defoe's celebrated flair for journalistic detail — these lively tales of seafaring rogues and rascals and their ill-gotten gains will captivate armchair sailors, maritime enthusiasts and any lover of adventure on the high seas. This unique work has been edited by noted scholar Manuel Schonhorn, who has also supplied a provocative Postscript to the Dover Edition offering insights into the vast popularity of this subject in today's theater, movies, TV specials, magazine articles, lavish books, and maritime exhibitions. In an added "Note on the Author and the Text," Professor Schonhorn also examines the arguments for and against Defoe's very authorship of this important book.

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A General History of Pyrates

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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 ... Read full review

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About the author (1999)

Daniel Defoe was born Daniel Foe in London, England on September 13, 1660. He changed his surname in 1703, adding the more genteel "De" before his own name to suggest a higher social standing. He was a novelist, journalist, and political agent. His writings covered a wide range of topics. His novels include Robinson Crusoe, Moll Flanders, Roxana, Captain Singleton, and Colonel Jack. He wrote A Tour Thro' the Whole Island of Great Britain, which is an important source of English economic life, and ghost stories including A True Relation of the Apparition of One Mrs. Veal. He also wrote satirical poems and pamphlets and edited a newspaper. He was imprisoned and pilloried for his controversial work, The Shortest Way with the Dissenters, which suggested that all non-Conformist ministers be hanged. He died on April 24, 1731.

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