Good Minds Suggest: Robert Kurson's Favorite Books About PiratesPosted by Goodreads on June 1, 2015
Dead men may tell no tales, but the treasures, clues, and odds and ends they leave behind can fill volumes. Robert Kurson has made a career out of teasing true stories from such artifacts. His bestselling nonfiction book, Shadow Divers, took readers beneath the surface to a sunken World War II German U-boat mysteriously discovered off the coast of New Jersey. In his new true story, Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship, two men risk everything to find the Golden Fleece, the ship captained by notorious pirate Joseph Bannister, who was at large in the late 17th century, during the Golden Age of Piracy. The pirate hunters travel the globe, sifting through countless documents and relics, to retrace the ship's final voyage. Kurson shares his favorite books about true pirate exploits that will shiver your timbers (though a real pirate wouldn't be caught dead saying that).
The Buccaneers of America by Alexandre Exquemelin
"The gold standard account of pirate life by a man who sailed pirate ships and chronicled the exploits of Captain Henry Morgan. Exquemelin's pirates are wilder than in any movie, more treacherous than in any novel. They conquer entire cities, devise ingenious methods for plundering, and strike terror into the hearts of enemies. By a single act alone—perhaps by eating the still-beating heart of a merchant captain who refused to surrender—they broadcast their reputations across oceans. Even their downtime was epic, so packed with debauchery and fast living, it would have spun the heads of modern millionaire rock stars. And yet these pirates lived by a code of conduct and honor so far ahead of its time, it made them nearly invincible. This is the pirate book to start with."
The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates by Peter T. Leeson
"A fascinating look at the influence of economics on pirates during their Golden Age (1650-1720). Leeson, an economist (and obvious pirate enthusiast), digs into the buccaneers' real motives, examining the cool reasoning behind their swashbuckling ways. Pirates might have looked crazed and out of control, but so much of what they did was grounded in a cost-benefit business analysis far ahead of its time. There were reasons the pirates flew terrifying flags, avoided violence when possible, and took votes on everything, much of which will resonate with anyone living in a modern and free democracy."
The Pirate Primer: Mastering the Language of Swashbucklers & Rogues by George Choundas
"Pirates never said 'Arrgh' or 'Shiver my timbers.' But they did use terms and phrases like 'Ahoy,' 'A merry life and a short one,' and several curses, oaths, threats, and greetings. Especially handy for International Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19), but also useful for those times you're angry and modern-day four-letter words just don't cut it. (Tell your boss, 'I'll cleave your skull asunder!' or 'I come from hell and I'll carry you there presently!'—and watch the surprise!) For anyone who loves language, The Pirate Primer is a wonderland of pirate color and proof that the real thing is better than any Hollywood screenwriter could invent."
Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates by David Cordingly
"Among the best general accounts of pirates in their Golden Age. This is the modern history I recommend first, and I've owned several copies since it was first published in 1995. Reading this general primer is like sailing aboard a pirate ship—you don't stay anywhere too long and can change ports on an exciting moment's notice. There's fascinating information in every chapter, and it all goes down easy with Cordingly's good writing. A warning to ye, however: The descriptions of pirate violence are detailed and lurid—just the kind you want in a good pirate tale."
The Pirate Wars by Peter Earle
"Earle is a first-rate historian and a very good storyteller. But he's also sober about pirates. In the preface to this book, which describes how navies pursued and did bloody battle with the pirates during the Golden Age, he warns readers, 'I was brought up to admire the navy and my instincts are on the side of law and order.' Still, he cannot hide a certain admiration for the cunning and power of the buccaneers. 'Even I am susceptible to pirate charm and romance,' he admits. And in the end, aren't we all?"
Vote for your own favorites on Listopia: Books About Pirates