Chloe's Reviews > Pirate Utopias: Moorish Corsairs & European Renegadoes

Pirate Utopias by Peter Lamborn Wilson
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's review
May 12, 07

bookshelves: history, politicaltheory, africa
Recommended for: People interested in alternative systems of governance and piratic history
Read in May, 2007

I enjoyed this novel a lot. It shed some light on the ancient pirate states of North Africa- Algiers, Tunisia, Tripoli, and Sallee- which I had previously only known of in passing, particularly the Barbary Wars in Tripoli. Wilson did a fantastic job of digging up as many primary and secondary sources possible from such non-literary societies as well as charting the progress made within those Islamic societies by European pirates and renagadoes who would turn "Turk", or convert to Islam, to escape slavery and achieve a position of stature. Sometimes the story drags, as is true with most historical texts, but my major complaint comes with Wilson's fixation on pederasty within the Moroccan culture. One gets the impression that he is using historical examples of pederasts as a means of legitimizing some personal feelings of his own. I had first noticed this when I read his Temporary Autonomous Zone writings under the name Hakim Bey but at the time wrote it off. However, this book leaves no doubt. Wilson is fixated on justifying the behavior of pederasts and while I can understand the point that he is trying to make by constantly returning to this topic, it is only loosely related to the subject matter at hand, pirates, and just gets monotonous after a time.
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