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POLL: Best Pirate Books


412 votes were cast by total voters.


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Personal logo J Womack 94 Supporting Member of TMP writes:

Marcus Rediker's Villains of All Nations: Atlantic Pirates in the Golden Age

Read it for grad school. Very good treatise on the subject of Caribbean piracy in the 17th century.

Rediker describes "a clash of two different kinds of terror." [p. 5] One is the terror that the official hierarchy of the Atlantic world practiced against pirates in order to protect their property, punish those who stepped outside the nascent capitalist system, and act as a warning, as the French say pour encourager les autres to encourage the rest. The authorities publicly hanged captured pirates, often in groups, and displayed their bodies in brutal fashion specifically to frighten would-be pirates into submission.

The other terror Rediker described was the reaction of common seamen against their oppression by the same economic system and hierarchy within the marine community. The pirates used terror to persuade captains to surrender rather than fight, to obtain wealth, and to gain some measure of revenge upon anyone they considered an enemy, especially tyrannical captains and miserly ship owners. [p. 5] "Piracy was predicated on terror," and used it deliberately and specifically to gain their goals with the least amount of effort. Popular fiction aside, pirates much preferred to take their money and live to enjoy it, rather than fight. Terrified captains more quickly yielded, often surrendered without a fight, and could be relied upon to give up the choicest booty in less time.

Fundamentally, Rediker says piracy is a matter of populist reaction against established class and privilege. Most seamen were poor; they rebelled against the authority of the wealthy. Female pirates rebelled against the traditional roles assigned women. Runaway slaves questioned the societal role of Africans in the Atlantic world. [p. 6] Pirates abandoned their nationality in the age of the rise of nation-states. Though the sailors mainly claimed British or French ancestry, the preferred target of many pirate vessels were English ships, because they often had the best loot. [p. 6] The terror and counter-terror campaigns of the pirates and the authorities were part of the greater struggle between individual liberty and established authority.


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©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
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VOTING RESULTS
AnswerVotes%Chart
Black Vulmea's Vengance by Robert E Howard
13
3%
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Buccaneers of America by A. O. Exquemelin
3
1%
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Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini
41
10%
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Dark Frigate
2
0%
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Empire of Blue Water by Talty
5
1%
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General History of the Robberies and Murders of the most notorious Pyrates by Captain Johnson
12
3%
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Gold-Bug by Edger Allan Poe
10
2%
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How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long
2
0%
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If a Pirate I must Be
3
1%
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Island by Peter Benchley
13
3%
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Lady's Captivity among Chinese Pirates in the Chinese Seas by Fanny Loviot
3
1%
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Memoirs of a Buccaneer by Louis Adhemar Timothee le Golif
0
0%
 
On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers
13
3%
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Peter Pan by J.M Barrie
32
8%
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Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton
10
2%
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Pirates: Terror on the High Seas by Angus Konstam
6
1%
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Pyrates by George MacDonald Fraser
18
4%
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Republic of Pirates by Colin Woodard
4
1%
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Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
30
7%
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Sea Hawk
24
6%
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Sea Rover's Practice by Bennerson Little
2
0%
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Target Lock by James H. Cobb
2
0%
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Treasure Island by Stevenson
88
21%
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Under the Black Flag by David Cordingly
26
6%
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Wine-Dark Sea by Patrick O'Brian
16
4%
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other (explain)
8
2%
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no opinion
26
6%
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POLL IS CLOSED
POLL DESCRIPTION
What are the top books you would recommend to someone getting interested in pirate gaming?

Poll set up by Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian, based on this pre-poll discussion.