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A General History of the Pyrates

Daniel Defoe

Book Overview: 

A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the most notorious Pyrates is a 1724 book containing biographies of contemporary pirates. It's author uses the name Captain Charles Johnson, generally considered a pseudonym. The real identity of the author was thought by some scholars to be Daniel Defoe, although this has since been disputed. The publisher Nathaniel Mist or somebody working for him are other suggested authors. In the first volume, "Johnson" sticks fairly close to the available sources, though he embellishes the stories somewhat. Nevertheless, the book was influential in shaping popular notions of piracy and provided the standard account of the lives of many individuals still famous in the 21st century.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Steering their Course, as has been said, he sends a Boat on Board of each of the Sloops, desiring the Chief of them to come on Board of him, in order to hold a Council; they did so, and he told them he had something to propose to them for the common Good, which was to provide against Accidents; he bad them consider the Treasure they were possess’d of, would be sufficient for them all if they could secure it in some Place on Shore; therefore all they had to fear, was some Misfortune in the Voyage; he bad them consider the Consequences of being separated by bad Weather, in which Case, the Sloops, if either of them should fall in with any Ships of Force, must be either taken or sunk, and the Treasure on Board her lost to the rest, besides the common Accidents of the Sea; as for his Part he was so strong, he was able to make his Party good with any Ship they were like to meet in those Seas; that if he met with any Ship of such Strength, that he could not take her,. . . Read More

Community Reviews

One of the best books I have read.

Curious thing, when I was in high school I hated everything about the Colonial Era, but now I'm just passionate about it. And man, pirates are so cool. This book gives you an idea of how was things like in that time. Golden Age of Piracy/Exploration.

So much usefu...more

"Noi spogliamo i ricchi con la sola protezione del nostro coraggio." E di coraggio ne hanno parecchio questi pirati. Non temono nulla. Navigano mari in tempesta, mari infiniti, e non risparmiano nessuno. Chiunque abbia la sfortuna di imbattersi in questi diavoli è spacciato. E tra le gesta del po...more

Muito têm -se fantasiado sobre a vida dos piratas. E todo isso deve-se a indústria cinematográfica.
Este livro mostra quem foram os verdadeiros piratas das Craíbas. Não foram criaturas com poderes fora do comum. Nem eram nenhuns cavalheiros. Alguns nem tem vidas tão extraordinárias.

Os que mais s...more

Excellent journalism. Please be advised this is original source material, written in 1724. Apparently they only used periods at the end of paragraphs then, the longest run-on sentences you have ever seen. Ascribed to Captain Charles Johnson but some old scholarship has decided it was really Danie...more

Lo leí hace ya años, allá por 1999, y en aquel entonces me gustó, aunque comprendo que tal vez no resulte tan ameno a quienes no estén interesados en tantos detalles históricos (listas de tripulantes, ejecutados, etc).

Me resultó curioso que algunas tripulaciones tenían una especie de "seguridad s...more

I gave this book a 3 star rating only because there are a number of stories that seemed too large for life based on other readings and tellings. It seems maybe Defoe began his fiction career in parts of this book. Nevertheless it's quite interesting to read a book written during the days of the G...more

this book was published in 1724 making it older than the United States. so it is no surprise that the language is archaic and it is not tailored to modern readers. an interesting reference book and starts out fun as a series of short adventure stories, but Daniel Defoe gets repetitious after 5 or...more

almeno 4 stelle andrebbero a Defoe, qui non tanto romanziere ma comunque ottimo narratore capace di trasformare resoconti di processi e racconti di testimoni oculari rielaborandole in maniera assolutamente interessante, ma il voto ridotto si deve al fatto che nell'edizione italiana - che a quel c...more

This book, originally published in 1724, recounts the misadventures of several famous pirates including Blackbeard, Ann Bonnet, and Black Bart. Actually, Blackbeard, despite his fearsome reputation, came across as less bloodthirsty than for example Captain Spriggs or Captain Roche.

There is some d...more

A book written by a sea captain about pirates and other sea captains during the time when pirates reigned. This book is essential for anyone who has more than a passing interest in the history of pirates. Johnson by no means appraises the deeds of these outlaws. As a sea captain himself, he is en...more

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