Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pirates of Barbary -- Adrian Tinniswood

Captain Jack Sparrow and all the rest of the pirates of the Caribbean? Mere poseurs. But the pirates of Barbary were the real thing. You don't have to take my word for it. Adrian Tinniswood proves it pretty conclusively in this book. In the days of the Barbary states, piracy was a thriving business, with many places building their economies on pirate plunder.

A lot of the pirates weren't from the Barbary states at all, however. They were from Britain and other countries, and they were as brave, foolhardy, and ruthless as they come. Tinniswood's book is full of sea battles, brutality, hangings, chases, and escapes, all of which make for great reading.

What might be a little surprising is how relevant the book is to our own country's past ("to the shores of Tripoli") and also to what's happening right now. Tripoli is back in the news, and the Somali pirates are making headlines everywhere while using the virtually the same tactics as the Barbary pirates.

If you like reading about the pirates of old (and who doesn't?), you can't go wrong here. Highly recommended.

1 comment:

  1. Another good un is THE STOLEN VILLAGE, which describes the preparation, execution, and aftermath of an audacious Barbary pirate raid on Baltimore, Ireland, in the 17th Century -- inspiration for Sabatini's THE SEA HAWK.

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