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Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean: How a Generation of Swashbuckling Jews Carved Out an Empire in the New World in Their Quest for Treasure, Religious Freedom--and Revenge
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Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean: How a Generation of Swashbuckling Jews Carved Out an Empire in the New World in Their Quest for Treasure, Religious Freedom--and Revenge

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  664 Ratings  ·  160 Reviews
In this lively debut work of history, Edward Kritzler tells the tale of an unlikely group of swashbuckling Jews who ransacked the high seas in the aftermath of the Spanish Inquisition. At the end of the fifteenthcentury, many Jews had to flee Spain and Portugal. The most adventurous among them took to the seas as freewheeling outlaws. In ships bearing names such as the "Pr ...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published November 18th 2008 by Anchor Books (first published January 1st 2008)
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Feb 09, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was so interesting. It tied together for me a lot of pieces of information I had about the experiences of Jews in the New World, (and Amsterdam, England and Spain) from the time of their expulsion through the founding of this country. David Liss, if you haven't read this book, you need to... I was thinking about "Coffee Traders" the whole time I was reading this. Kritzler discovered a couple of new pieces of information through his research... which surprised me; it doesn't occur ...more
My two word review: Oy vey.

I'm struggling to review this book because I don't know what to complain about first. I think the first thing to note, by way of explaining this book, is how the title and the subtitle are wildly inaccurate: the title promises Jewish pirates in the Caribbean who are out for revenge and freedom of religion. There are maybe less than five examples of Jewish pirates here; and the biggest names are either not pirates or not in the Caribbean. As to what motivated them, it's
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are looking for a tale of kosher swashbuckling, this is not it. We do have a small number of named Jewish pirates, one a Rabbi, and a few Jewish senior lieutenants, but never do we see them fighting from the decks of ships, flourishing a cutlass or otherwise actively engaged in anything promised by the long title of this book. The history detailed here touches most of planet and not just the Caribbean. Every few pages the word "pirate" is inserted, almost as an afterthought, emphasizing t ...more
Apr 25, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'll start out with some things I liked about this book:

* I learned some interesting parts of history, such as that Jews were banned from Britain by King John, and let back in my Cromwell (unofficially), and Charles II (officially)

* I learned a bit about the spread of sugar, and that for a long time it was a delicacy only affordable to the very rich

* I got some leads on things I'd like to learn more about at some point, such as the history of Jamaica

There was enough to keep me reading through
If this history had been a more careful, better sourced, I think I’d have liked it better. If it were historical fiction concentrating on two or three Jewish pirates, instead of talking about people across nationalities, cultures and politics (both religious and national) I’d have liked it better. As it is, it’s a better concept than it is a book. When I was Sunday School, or possibly Hebrew School, as a student many, many years ago, a teacher said that Columbus may have been Jewish but certainl ...more
Steve Cran
Jun 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the last 10 years or so many stereotypes about Jews are being broken. Most people would never suspect the Jews of having been capable of being pirates. It is only recently that people are coming to terms that Jews have been and continue to be capable of being great warriors.

The history of the Jews in Spain is well known. In 1492 they were given a choice to convert to Catholicism, leave Spain or die. Many Jews converted to Catholicism and a small number of those may have practiced their Judais
Jul 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Students of Jewish history. Or of piracy.
Recommended to Joan by: Leila Zai
Yo ho yo ho, a pirate's life for me...apparently even if Jewish! A number of Jews who escaped the Inquisition in Spain then Portugal, turned to piracy. Obviously, a primary motive was revenge. These survivors had often seen relations tortured horrendously then put to the auto da fe. They were fleeing an unfriendly Europe (except for Holland) for the American continent. It seems a number of the people who went with Columbus on the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria were Conversos, a phrase the a ...more
Dean Irwin
Apr 29, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A thoroughly disappointing book, made even worse because there are truly some really intriguing concepts which the books raises but fails to address. However, when one reads a book and finishes thinking that the title and the book are not actually meant for each other it is always a bad sign. Rather than being specifically about Jewish pirates this book is, in actuality, largely based upon evidence which pertains to the Conversos' communities (what used to be referred to the Marrano's). However, ...more
Aug 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice book on Sefardi Jews, refugees from the inquisition, who became semi-merchants semi-privateers in the New World and whose support for the protestant countries, which did not persecute them as Jews, assisted these countries in conquest of large parts of the Americas. Perhaps a little too valorizing, I felt. Basically the story is rather sad. The persecuted of Europe assist in consolidating its power over other persecuted - the Indians and the Africans. The usual story - after all many Britis ...more
Sep 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Although I can almost hear the sinews of loosely connected bits of history stretching as I read this account of Jews as pirates and privateers, it was amusing and somewhat believable. After all, it's the victors that write history.... A good read for both pirates and Jews. ;)
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