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Bandits at Sea A Pirates Reader by C. R. Pennell

Bandits at Sea A Pirates Reader


Bandits at Sea A Pirates Reader by C. R. Pennell

The romantic fiction of pirates as swashbuckling marauders terrorizing the high seas has long eclipsed historical fact. Bandits at Sea offers a long-overdue corrective to the mythology and the mystique which has plagued the study of pirates and served to deny them their rightful legitimacy as subjects of investigation. With essays by the foremost scholars on these countercultural social bandits as Lingua Franca recently dubbed themthis collection examines various aspects of the phenomenon in the three main areas where it occurred: the Caribbean/Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and East Asia. We come to understand who pirates were, as well as the socio-economic contexts under which they developed and flourished. Comparisons between various types of piracy illustrate differences in practice and purpose between pirates of different areas; social histories, including examinations of women pirates and their historical significance and circumstances, offer similar insight into the personal lives of pirates from diverse regions. Far from serving as dens of thieves, pirate ships were often highly regulated microcosms of democracy. The crews of pirate vessels knew that majority rule, racial equality and equitable division of spoils were crucial for their survival, marking them as significantly more liberal than national governments. Scholars, students and a general audience ever intrigued by talesand now truthsof piracy on the high seas will welcome Bandits at Sea.


Technically well produced, with a generous allowance of illustrative plates and a good index.

-S. D. Smith,International Journal of Maritime History Each of the twelve authors deftly plumb the depths of documentary sources, literary analyses, personal observations, biographical and historical accounts to improve vastly on the seemingly two-dimensional nature of the pirate.

-The Great Circle: Journal of the Australian Association for Maritime History A thoroughly worthy and groundbreaking addition to the historiography of crime at sea.

-Sea History Bandits at Sea provides the first comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach to piracy. From history to geography, economics to sociology, sexuality to politics, Pennell's anthology brings together the best of current scholarship.

-Peter Galvin,Author of Patterns of Pillage: A Geography of Caribbean-based Piracy,1536--1718 Long overdue! Stunning in breadth and depth, Bandits at Sea is the pirate historian's who's-who rendesvous. Pennell has pulled together for the first time the best and most recent scholarly work on piracy in the context of the wider world. A fresh look at an old topic. Highly recommended!

-Kris Lane,College of William & Mary

About the Author

C. R. Pennell is al-Tajir Lecturer in Middle East History and Senior Lecturer at the University of Melbourne and author of Morocco since 1830, also available from NYU Press.

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Book Info

Publication date

31st August 2000


C. R. Pennell

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New York University Press


360 pages


Maritime history
Travel writing



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