Born to be hanged The epic story of the gentlemen pirates who raided the South Seas, rescued a princess, and stole a fortune

Keith Thomson, 1965-

Book - 2022

"Discover the "fascinating and outrageously readable" account of the roguish acts of the first pirates to raid the Pacific in a crusade that ended in a sensational trial back in England."--Amazon.

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2nd Floor New Shelf 972.8702/Thomson (NEW SHELF) Due Aug 12, 2022
Subjects
Genres
Biographies
Published
New York, NY : Little, Brown and Company 2022.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
ix, 371 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 317-356) and index.
ISBN
0316703613
9780316703611
Main Author
Keith Thomson, 1965- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

In chronicling seventeenth-century English pirate voyages, historian and novelist Thomson eloquently proves Mark Twain's oft-cited adage, "Truth is stranger than fiction." Thanks to lively writing and thorough research, Thomson's pirates burst from the pages as vividly and compellingly as those in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series rule the screen. These real-life buccaneers thrash their way through the jungles of the isthmus of Panama to rescue a Kuna princess. They attack two Spanish warships in a few frail canoes. They loot ships and settlements along the Pacific coast of South America. Their rampage finished, one band recrosses the isthmus, battling raging rivers and torrential downpours; another crew sails a fragile ship around the southern tip of South America, through the perilous Drake Passage. Thomson writes in punchy, short chapters, which often end with a cliffhanger, while black-and-white illustrations and maps help readers follow the voyages. The author also helpfully defines many arcane nautical terms, including a reveal about aargh and the origin of modern words like avocado and barbecue. The entertaining suspense and high energy continue to the very end. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Novelist Thomson (Once a Spy) follows a motley crew of English pirates on a voyage of plunder along the Pacific coast of South America in this rollicking historical account drawing on the contemporary journals of seven participants. Accepting a legally dubious "commission" from the chief of a local tribe, the 366 buccaneers—including naturalist William Dampier—trekked through the mountainous jungles of the Isthmus of Panama to rescue the chief's captured granddaughter and raid the riches of Panama City. Spared the treacherous passage through the Straits of Magellan, the pirates proceeded to wreak havoc on Spanish ships and settlements throughout what were then known as the "South Seas," scoring one improbable victory after another until stunned Spanish authorities finally fought back. Thomson fleshes out each audacious attack and narrow escape with wit and insight, delving into seafaring terminology and the customs of piracy as he relates the buccaneers' brushes with mutinies, storms, and deadly flora and fauna. By focusing on the individuals who kept accounts of the adventure, Thomson humanizes the "Brethren of the Coast," shedding light on their motivations, histories, and relationships. VERDICT Every action-packed page is certain to thrill connoisseurs of piracy and seafaring history.—Sara Shreve Copyright 2022 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Novelist Thompson (7 Grams of Lead) makes his nonfiction debut with this swashbuckling account of a 17th-century pirate raid on the Pacific coastline of Spanish South America. Drawing on contemporaneous diaries kept by several of the privateers, Thomson recounts how a group of 366 "Caribbean-based pirates" helped an Indigenous tribe rescue a chief's daughter who was being held captive by the Spanish on the Isthmus of Panama. After completing the mission, the group made a daring attack on Spanish ships guarding Panama City and raided settlements along the western coast of South America on their way to the Chilean town of Arica, where they hoped to find fabulous wealth. Though the fleet captured several galleons and enough plunder to make them rich, they were repelled at Arica and, after rounding Cape Horn and returning to the Caribbean, three of the pirates, including Capt. Bartholomew Sharp, were captured, brought to trial in England, and acquitted. Thomson unravels the complex relationship between piracy and colonial governments in the Americas, where England and Spain struggled for primacy, and describes local tribes and flora and fauna in meticulous detail. Readers will be swept along by this brisk and entertaining adventure story. Agent: Richard Abate, 3 Arts Entertainment. (Apr.) Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Charts a legendary two-year expedition by three hundred pirates in the year 1680 to wreak havoc on the Pacific coastline of Central and South America, raiding cities, mines, and merchant ships, as well as their sensational trial back in England.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Charts a legendary two-year expedition by 300 pirates in the year 1860 to wreak havoc on the Pacific coastline, raiding cities, mines and merchant ships as well as their sensational trial back in England. 50,000 first printing. Illustrations.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Discover the “fascinating and outrageously readable” account of the roguish acts of the first pirates to raid the Pacific in a crusade that ended in a sensational trial back in England—perfect for readers of Nathaniel Philbrick and David McCullough (Douglas Preston, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Lost City of the Monkey God) The year is 1680, in the heart of the Golden Age of Piracy, and more than three hundred daring, hardened pirates—a potent mix of low-life scallywags and a rare breed of gentlemen buccaneers—gather on a remote Caribbean island. The plan: to wreak havoc on the Pacific coastline, raiding cities, mines, and merchant ships. The booty: the bright gleam of Spanish gold and the chance to become legends. So begins one of the greatest piratical adventures of the era—a story not given its full due until now.Inspired by the intrepid forays of pirate turned Jamaican governor Captain Henry Morgan—yes, that Captain Morgan—the company crosses Panama on foot, slashing its way through the Darien Isthmus, one of the thickest jungles on the planet, and liberating a native princess along the way. After reaching the South Sea, the buccaneers, primarily Englishmen, plunder the Spanish Main in a series of historic assaults, often prevailing against staggering odds and superior firepower. A collective shudder racks the western coastline of South America as the English pirates, waging a kind of proxy war against the Spaniards, gleefully undertake a brief reign over Pacific waters, marauding up and down the continent.With novelistic prose and a rip-roaring sense of adventure, Keith Thomson guides us through the pirates’ legendary two-year odyssey. We witness the buccaneers evading Indigenous tribes, Spanish conquistadors, and sometimes even their own English countrymen, all with the ever-present threat of the gallows for anyone captured. By fusing contemporaneous accounts with intensive research and previously unknown primary sources, Born to Be Hanged offers a rollicking account of one of the most astonishing pirate expeditions of all time.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

A riveting account of the roguish acts of the first pirates to raid the Pacific—a crusade that ended in a sensational trial back in EnglandThe year is 1680, in the heart of the Golden Age of Piracy, and more than three hundred daring, hardened pirates—a potent mix of low-life scallywags and a rare breed of gentlemen buccaneers—gather on a remote Caribbean island. The plan: to wreak havoc on the Pacific coastline, raiding cities, mines, and merchant ships. The booty: the bright gleam of Spanish gold and the chance to become legends. So begins one of the greatest piratical adventures of the era—a story not given its full due until now.Inspired by the intrepid forays of pirate turned Jamaican governor Captain Henry Morgan—yes, that Captain Morgan—the company crosses Panama on foot, slashing its way through the Darien Isthmus, one of the thickest jungles on the planet, and liberating a native princess along the way. After reaching the South Sea, the buccaneers, primarily Englishmen, plunder the Spanish Main in a series of historic assaults, often prevailing against staggering odds and superior firepower. A collective shudder racks the western coastline of South America as the English pirates, waging a kind of proxy war against the Spaniards, gleefully undertake a brief reign over Pacific waters, marauding up and down the continent.With novelistic prose and a rip-roaring sense of adventure, Keith Thomson guides us through the pirates’ legendary two-year odyssey. We witness the buccaneers evading Indigenous tribes, Spanish conquistadors, and sometimes even their own English countrymen, all with the ever-present threat of the gallows for anyone captured. By fusing contemporaneous accounts with intensive research and previously unknown primary sources, Born to Be Hanged offers a rollicking account of one of the most astonishing pirate expeditions of all time.