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The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  2,710 Ratings  ·  362 Reviews

The Republic of Pirates features the 18th-century pirates Edward "Blackbeard" Teach and "Black Sam" Bellamy, both of whom rose from England's underclass to become wealthy, notorious, and enormously powerful. Along with their associates in the Bahamas-based "Flying Gang," Teach and Bellamy banded together to form a pirate cooperative, culminating in a form of government in
ebook, 400 pages
Published May 12th 2008 by Mariner Books (first published 2007)
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Community Reviews

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Nicola Sheridan
May 17, 2012 Nicola Sheridan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Wow, this was super informative book. If you're not really interested in the subject matter, you may find it a bit dry, but I personally found the attention to detail wonderful. This is a really gritty, close up look into the life and times of some of the world's most famouse pirates. Sam Bellamy, Blackbeard, Henry Avery and Charles Vane to name a few. You certainly come away with sense these were some very, very rough men, who lived rather short lives to their own code.
The issues around slaver
Aug 09, 2011 Andrew rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
For a book about pirates it was surprisingly dull. I realize that the very nature of pirates means there is not much archival material to work with other than official documents that are very likely biased, but I came away from this book not much more enlightened than when I started.

The title is never really addressed, in my opinion. Mr. Woodard simply states the pirates wanted a base and made one on Nassau. So how, exactly, was it a republic by and for pirates? We never find out. At no point i
Feb 21, 2016 Silvana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: pirate fans or wannabes
I admit that the main reason I read this book is because of Black Sails, an excellent Starz series about the golden age of the pirates in the Bahamas, set as a loose prequel of RL Stevenson's Treasure Island. After two seasons (of me fangirling over the series' version of Charles Vane, whose cheekbones and penetrating stare can melt me into a puddle of happy goo), season 3 (currently being aired) features this guy:
Yes, that's Blackbeard, aka Edward Thatch (or Teach, depending your source). Playe
Jul 11, 2013 Adam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I ended up picking up this book because I realized I didn't really know much about the historical pirates. Despite my rating, I really do appreciate what this book attempts to do. It really attempts to correct a lot of the mythology concerning the pirates in caribbean, which is probably exacerbated due to the movies and Disney Ride that was eventually decommissioned. I had fond memories of this ride from when I was a child and I quite enjoyed the first few movies.

That being said "The Republic of
Nathan Johnson
Mar 12, 2012 Nathan Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Truth, not speculation.

I found this book incredibly informative. Much of what I thought I knew about pirates was entirely false.

Woodard builds this book around solid facts. Facts backed up by relevant journals and ledgers. In many cases he directly refutes previous stories with honest facts and dates.

The downside to this is that the book CAN become very dry in parts. The most detailed documents relating to pirates would be the claims lists for lost cargo. This means that you do get plenty of de
John Nellis
Dec 15, 2011 John Nellis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After watching the last season of Black Sails, I wanted to learn more about the true historical pirates rather than Hollywood types. This book gives a very good overview of the golden age of Piracy. Black Beard, Charles Vane, Anne Bonney, Mary Reed and Calico Jack Rackham, as well as many other well known pirates make appearances in this book. It tells of the rise and fall of this golden age of Piracy and the stories of the pirates, and those that hunted them. I found the book very informative a ...more
Oct 22, 2007 Brittany rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I'm not sure how I feel about this book. It gave a disclaimer talking about how people have this romanticized view of pirates and then went on to give a similarly golden picture of freedom-loving rebels, the forerunners of the American founding fathers who never killed anybody without need and, no doubt, nursed orphan puppies back to health. It also had one of the most skewed, over-simplified summaries of the Jacobite Rising that I have EVER seen outside of a third-grade textbook. It did get mar ...more
Alex Telander
Nov 02, 2007 Alex Telander rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
THE REPUBLIC OF PIRATES: BEING THE TRUE AND SURPRISING STORY OF THE CARIBBEAN PIRATES AND THE MAN WHO BROUGHT THEM DOWN BY COLIN WOODARD: Welcome to the Golden Age of Piracy, at least that’s what it can be considered from the pirates’ point of view. The ten years between 1715 and 1725 was the time when pirates ruled the high seas of the Caribbean. This is their story during those ten years when they had the times of their lives, and had it all brought to a halt by one man.

Woodard starts at the b
Apr 11, 2014 Kristine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-the-best
Fun and interesting, but the story got extremely dull. Come on.... how hard is it to make pirates exciting...?
This is a fun, fascinating book! It doesn't go into this aspect quite as much as I would like, but the book does nicely delve into the political aspects of the Golden Age of Piracy. In many ways, it was a rebellion against the abuses of Empire, the horrible treatment of sailors in the British Navy and merchant marine, and the racism of the day. Though sometimes pirates treated captured slaves as "booty," often they would allow black slaves to join their crew as equals. In an era of harsh authori ...more
Matt Smith
Aug 08, 2014 Matt Smith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The Golden Age of Piracy; we've all heard the legends of dreaded rogues at the helm of ships, swords drawn, canons ablaze, skull and crossbones flying high above. Legends are fun but the truth about the real pirates of the Caribbean is even better.

The Republic of Pirates is a well-detailed account of the stirrings of colonial piracy during the late 17th and early 18th centuries. The focus is on the more nefarious of pirates: "Black Sam" Bellamy, Charles Vane, Benjamin Hornigold and his apprentic
Jun 30, 2009 Missy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book read like a high school book report, and what a shame because the subject matter is otherwise so fascinating.

I would have happily traded the 200-page, mind-crushingly dull descriptive laundry list of captured vessels (their total weight, their contents, and their captains' names) for *ten* decently written pages about the Jacobite rebellion, or about the historical relevance of the pirates' republic and how it influenced the American Revolution and the creation of our democracy.

My fav
Dec 04, 2012 Bettie☯ marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This is the book inspiring the new NBC series with Blackbeard played by Hugh Laurie.

The untold story of a heroic band of Caribbean pirates whose defiance of imperial rule inspired revolt in colonial outposts across the world

In the early eighteenth century, the Pirate Republic was home to some of the great pirate captains, including Blackbeard, "Black Sam" Bellamy, and Charles Vane. Along with their fellow piratesΓÇöformer sailors, indentured servants, and
Mike Wigal
Jun 09, 2016 Mike Wigal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Argh! It's the pirate life for me!
Michael Larsen
Jun 27, 2014 Michael Larsen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ten years. 1715 to around 1725. Much of what we visualize when we think of Pirates, Pirate Lore, and the fantasy image of pirates fits neatly into that time period, what we’ve come to all consider the "Golden Age of Piracy”. Juxtaposed with that era is an intriguing idea. A democratic state, by some definition of democratic, where common consent and popular vote make up who the leaders are and what the rules are. We like to think that the U.S. colonies were the first “New World” democracy, but i ...more
3.5 Stars
Andres Palomo
Jan 22, 2015 Andres Palomo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When most people today think of pirates, they are quick to assume similarities with the ones in current media, such as Jack Sparrow or Captain Hook. However, “The Republic of Pirates” covers much more than what many expect.
The premise is on the rise of the “Pirate Republic,” a Pirate-controlled state centered in the Bahamas that centered on the idea of the “pirate code,” a unique code of conduct used by pirates to govern their ships and crews democratically. The Republic of Pirates also centers
Jade Salser
“The Republic of Pirates” is a surprisingly true story about the pirates who sailed across the Caribbean and what obstacles they faced. For example, there were many vicious storms that the pirates sailed through, and lost many sailors and slaves due to drowning. Another obstruction faced by the pirates was the plague. The plague killed off more than fifty percent of the population aboard the ships, forcing some to return home so that they could be treated before they all died at sea. Another dra ...more
Kieran Evans
Jan 16, 2014 Kieran Evans rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Any book on the history of pirates is likely to be troubled by the lack of sources, but Woodard does well to provide an in-depth look at the life of pirates in the Caribbean in the early eighteenth century. Focusing on Blackbeard, "Black Sam" Bellamy, Charles Vane and selected other pirates, this is a detailed account of piracy through the period and the attempts of the British government - in particular Woodes Rogers - to bring their illegal activities to an end.

It is a fantastic read in my vie
Joseph Coffee
Colin Woodard begins by summarizing what a pirate is, briefly looking over both fictional and real pirates. He then moves on to tell the story of Henry Avery, the first pirate. Woodard spends more time talking about Avery than any of the other pirates. After which he spends a short period of time describing life aboard a ship (not a pirate one) before moving on to the other pirates. Woodard mostly highlights four mean above the others (excluding Avery): Samuel Bellamy (Black Sam), Edward Thatch ...more
Jun 16, 2014 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes it is refreshing to read a piece of well written, but otherwise straightforward, history. This book is exactly that. It covers the golden age of piracy, provides some background on pirates prior to that, and avoids tangents (which is both a good and a bad thing). It covers the material, but doesn’t seem to embellish it. This apparently qualifies it as dry for some reviewers—I suspect at least some of them were expecting Pirates of the Caribbean. While the ship details can seem repetiti ...more
Joan Colby
Aug 18, 2016 Joan Colby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Hollywood—Errol Flynn version of the Pirates of the Caribbean (or Spanish Main) turns out to be more than a little exaggerated. This factual account based on written records examines pirates like Bellamy, Blackbeard and Charles Vane.
For the most part, the pirates—many former privateers—plundered the ships they boarded, then released the crews, often with their ship intact. Sometimes, the ship was burned especially if it was out of Boston where six pirates had been hanged. Headquartered in N
Aug 21, 2015 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, pirates
A solid, well-researched, and well-told history of the Golden Age of Piracy. Woodard does a fantastic job laying out the timelines of several notable pirates and Woodes Rogers, the man primarily responsible for ending their reign. Woodard does not take sides: pirates are not necessarily romantic heroes (although some, including Blackbeard, certainly come across as intelligent idealists.) The motivations for piracy were complex: political, social, economic, and personal. Woodard covers them all, ...more
Hans Myers
May 10, 2014 Hans Myers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'The Republic of Pirates' is an in-depth historical epic the likes of which have not been attempted before. Telling the story of the greatest Golden Age pirates - Edward "Blackbeard" Thatch, Samuel "Black Sam" Bellamy, Benjamin "Ben" Hornigold, Stede "Gentleman" Bonnett, Olivier "La Buse" Levasseur, John "Calico Jack" Rackham, and others - the book draws from a rich set of primary sources - such as court records, letters, journals, testimony, and others - to portray the lives and motivations of ...more
Sep 05, 2008 Paula rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who love the myths enough not to be put off by facts
Recommended to Paula by: Myself
I got what I had hoped to get from the book: an understanding of what pirates consider a "Republic," and a feel for how, in the furthest reaches of civilization, society cannot exist without leadership. I also found confirmation for one of my pet theories about human nature, that even the most reprehensible of men must believe in their own goodness. Unfortunately, all of this insight came from my own interpretation of the events that are rather poorly presented in this text; the author offers no ...more
Brendan Monroe
The most boring book about pirates you'll ever read. Really though, it's shocking how uninteresting the whole thing is. I made it about 2/3 of the way through before finally coming to the realization that this was it - the damn thing simply wasn't going to get any better.

FAR too much of this is given over to lists. Lists of the provisions carried aboard a particular pirate ship, lists of the measurements of a particular type of ship, lists of the plunder taken from a particular ship. I forgot it
Anton Tomsinov
Aug 03, 2016 Anton Tomsinov rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've never seen another book where adventures of pirates and their hunters would seem so humdrum. The general impression on the Golden Age of piracy that is given by this book is that most activities of sea rovers were rather mundane and petty. Small crews, short careers, sloops with few cannons, surrenders without a fight, prizes mostly full of rum, grain and cocoa but for the few exceptions… Definitely not the rivers of pieces of eight one could conceive! (Sometimes the book mentions that pira ...more
Mar 09, 2014 ⭐Fugitivo⭐ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this because I'm currently playing Assassin's Creed: Black Flag.

I've yet to read any pirate history before, so I have nothing to compare it to in terms of accuracy etc. I found this book to be well written but I am not a fan of the massive bibliography, which inflates the actual size of the story. It's also not a very detailed history of piracy in the Caribbean, as it focuses only on a few main characters. But since it promised this in the foreword, I wasn't surprised. All in all, I supp
Steve Moseley
Dec 28, 2016 Steve Moseley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
A pretty interesting subject on something I knew very little about.

For example, you would think piracy was mainly controlling the Caribbean Seas, but at its height it also controlled much of eastern seaboard of then then American British colonies all the way up to Maine.

We today tend to think fondly of pirates (i.e. Captain Jack Sparrow), but these men were evil and ruthless, sacking ships, taking slaves, raping women, killing without compunction, and stealing anything of value. There lives were
Michael Flanagan
Republic of Pirates is an interesting look into the golden age of piracy and is a well-researched read. The author takes the time to put in context the politics and practices of the day and this helps paint the pirates in a different light.

I was not quite sure what I was going to get out of this book, I mean my two year old loves pirates and my images of them where a bit askew at the time of reading. Whilst the book was a solid read I found my interest fading in and out at times.
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“I am a free Prince, and I have as much authority to make war on the whole world as he who has a hundred ships at sea and an army of 100,000 men in the field."
-Samuel "Black Sam" Bellamy”
“several hundred English lived on Tortuga, the westernmost part of the sprawling British Leeward Islands” 0 likes
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