A General History of the Robberies & Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates
The bloodthirsty biographies of the world’s most infamous pirates are reproduced in this new edition of the pre-eminent piracy book, including original woodcut illustrations and the lives of Blackbeard, Kidd and many more.
‘“Pyrates” more or less introduced all the pirate tropes we know and love today, including peg-legs, buried treasure, piratespeak.’
- The New Yorker
First published in 1724, Captain Charles Johnson’s book remains the most influential account of piratical lore ever written. In the grip of the Golden Age of Piracy, Georgian England had an insatiable appetite for tales of bloodlust and debauchery on the high seas; this stunning new edition brilliantly reproduces Johnson’s graphic accounts of the marauders and their grizzly deeds.
The biographies include notorious names such as Blackbeard, Captain Kidd and Major Bonnet. The legendary Blackbeard battled his foes ‘till the sea was tinctured with blood’ and eventually died in battle; Kidd terrorised trading ships off the coast of America until hanged for his crimes; and Bonnet, ‘the gentleman pirate’, swapped privateering for outright pillaging – many speculating that an unhappy marriage led to his career change. The inclusion of female pirates Mary Read and Anne Bonny delighted readers and helped propel the book to best-seller status. Bonny’s fearsome façade even remained intact during the public execution of her lover Captain Jack Rackham.
‘…the stories contained within match other historical records from the time, so the book is considered to be an excellent contemporary resource regarding piracy.’
- History of Piracy
Johnson’s work rapidly became a bestseller but nothing is known about the author himself: one theory is that Daniel Defoe wrote the book under a nom de plume. Whatever his identity his rollcall of rogues went on to influence writers such as J. M. Barrie and Robert Louis Stevenson. Indeed, their antics still captivate; the popularity of Pirates of the Caribbean proving our enduring fascination with these ne’er-do-wells.
Introduced by maritime historian Margarette Lincoln, who offers a fascinating historical and political perspective on piracy, the edition also includes 35 intricate woodcuts and illustrations. The beautiful blocked-cloth binding is a fitting place to feature Major Stede Bonnet’s striking flag and the stunning endpapers replicate Jack Rackham’s pirate skull and cutlass totems.
Bound in printed and blocked cloth
Set in Caslon
Frontispiece and 35 integrated black & white illustrations
Spot UV endpapers
9˝ x 5¾˝