Black flags, blue waters The epic history of America's most notorious pirates

Eric Jay Dolin

Book - 2018

"With surprising tales of vicious mutineers, imperial riches, and high-seas intrigue, Black Flags, Blue Waters vividly reanimates the 'Golden Age' of piracy in the Americas. Set against the backdrop of the Age of Exploration, Black Flags, Blue Waters reveals the dramatic and surprising history of American piracy's 'Golden Age'--spanning the late 1600s through the early 1700s--when lawless pirates plied the coastal waters of North America and beyond. Best-selling aut...hor Eric Jay Dolin illustrates how American colonists at first supported these outrageous pirates in an early display of solidarity against the Crown, and then violently opposed them. Through engrossing episodes of roguish glamour and extreme brutality, Dolin depicts the star pirates of this period, among them towering Blackbeard, ill-fated Captain Kidd, and sadistic Edward Low, who delighted in torturing his prey. Also brilliantly detailed are the pirates' manifold enemies, including colonial governor John Winthrop, evangelist Cotton Mather, and young Benjamin Franklin. Upending popular misconceptions and cartoonish stereotypes, Dolin provides this wholly original account of the seafaring outlaws whose raids reflect the precarious nature of American colonial life"--

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Subjects
Published
New York : Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of W.W. Norton & Company [2018]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
xxix, 379 pages, [16] pages of plates : illustrations (some color), maps (some color) ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN
9781631492105
1631492101
Main Author
Eric Jay Dolin (author)
  • Small beginnings
  • Welcomed with open arms
  • "Where the money was as plenty as stones and sand"
  • Crackdown
  • War's reprieve
  • Interlude or a pirate classification
  • Treasure and the tempest
  • The gentleman pirate and Blackbeard
  • Fading away
  • Epilogue: "yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!".
Review by Library Journal Reviews

Not Johnny Depp charmers, the pirates who scoured the Atlantic for imperial treasures from the late 1600s through the 1700s were brutish, brutal mutineers, initially supported by colonists as fellow oppositionists to the Crown, then violently repulsed as the troublemakers they were. A billowing portrait from the author of Brilliant Beacons. Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Dolin has penned masterly histories of North American whaling (Leviathan), lighthouses (Brilliant Beacons), and now piracy. The golden age of piracy (late 1600s to early 1700s) is well known, with accounts ranging from Robert Louis Stevenson's classic adventure Treasure Island to David Cordingly's history Under the Black Flag, which dismantled Hollywood myths about buccaneers and swashbucklers. But Dolin focuses on pirates who raided or sought refuge along the Atlantic seaboard of colonial America, influencing politics and society. Pirates injected gold and loot into cash-poor communities, boosting local economies. Colonial governors and merchants outfitted pirate expeditions or took bribes to look the other way as pirate ships resupplied or repaired in coastal waters. Other colonials fought piracy, while pirates attacked the colonies—the notorious Blackbeard once threatened to sack Charleston, SC. Others were privateers, sanctioned by British or colonial authorities to raid "enemy" shipping. Dolin points out that pirates were mostly hardheaded entrepreneurs who relied on intimidation rather than brute force. VERDICT A colorful and well-researched study of piracy's glory days, rooted in historical context. Sure to appeal to pirate enthusiasts as well as serious researchers.—Michael Rodriguez, Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

In this informative volume, Dolin (When America First Met China) focuses on "pirates who either operated out of America's English colonies or plundered ships along the American coast" during the late 17th and early 18th centuries, a period dubbed the Golden Age of Piracy. While he is an unabashed fan of popular culture's treatment of legendary pirates, and includes a chapter on that topic, Dolin more than meets his objective of separating fact from fiction and establishing that there was "absolutely nothing romantic about , other than the legends woven about their exploits after they were gone." Graphic descriptions of violence, such as sexual assaults of passengers, debunk the image of pirates as appealing rogues. This is also more than just a litany of raids on prospective prey and battles between pirates and governments; for context, Dolin lays out the history of "political intrigue and collusion" between pirates and colonists who encouraged them because they enabled colonists "to obtain the goods and money they so desperately desired despite the onerous trade restrictions put in place by the mother country." Dolin's interpretations could be debated—he asserts that Capt. William Kidd was really a pirate—but this is nonetheless an excellent starting point for readers interested in this misunderstood chapter of American history. (Sept.) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly Annex.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A chronicle of America's "Golden Age" of piracy, from the late 1600s to the early 1700s, describes how American colonists initially supported, and then violently opposed, pirates that targeted the North American coast.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A chronicle of America's lesser-known "Golden Age" of piracy describes how exploration-era colonists initially supported, and then violently opposed, pirates that targeted the North American coast, citing the contributions of such figures as Blackbeard, John Winthrop and Benjamin Franklin.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

"With surprising tales of vicious mutineers, imperial riches, and high-seas intrigue, Black Flags, Blue Waters vividly reanimates the 'Golden Age' of piracy in the Americas. Set against the backdrop of the Age of Exploration, Black Flags, Blue Waters reveals the dramatic and surprising history of American piracy's 'Golden Age'--spanning the late 1600s through the early 1700s--when lawless pirates plied the coastal waters of North America and beyond. Best-selling author Eric Jay Dolin illustrates how American colonists at first supported these outrageous pirates in an early display of solidarity against the Crown, and then violently opposed them. Through engrossing episodes of roguish glamour and extreme brutality, Dolin depicts the star pirates of this period, among them towering Blackbeard, ill-fated Captain Kidd, and sadistic Edward Low, who delighted in torturing his prey. Also brilliantly detailed are the pirates' manifold enemies, including colonial governor John Winthrop, evangelist Cotton Mather, and young Benjamin Franklin. Upending popular misconceptions and cartoonish stereotypes, Dolin provides this wholly original account of the seafaring outlaws whose raids reflect the precarious nature of American colonial life"--

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Dolin, an author, relates the history of American piracy's "Golden Age," when pirates operated out of America's English Colonies or plundered ships along the American coast from the late 1600s to the early 1700s and had a close and frequently deadly relationship with the colonies. He discusses the origins and nature of this relationship, which began warmly and ended in a bloody war against pirates, focusing on pirates and not privateers. He describes the intimidation and brutality, political intrigue and collusion, and crackdowns, punishment, and eradication involved, as well as why pirates like Blackbeard, Captain Kidd, Henry Morgan, Dixie Bull, Thomas Tew, Stede Bonnet, Edward Low, and Samuel Bellamy pursued such a dangerous and violent life. Annotation ©2018 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)

Review by Publisher Summary 5

Black Flags, Blue Waters