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

Colin Woodard, Author . Harcourt $27 (383p) ISBN 978-0-15-101302-9

Woodard (The Lobster Coast ) tells a romantic story about Caribbean pirates of the "Golden Age" (1715–1725)—whom he sees not as criminals but as social revolutionaries—and the colonial governors who successfully clamped down on them, in the early 18th-century Bahamas. One group of especially powerful pirates set up a colony in the Bahamas. Known as New Providence, the community attracted not only disaffected sailors but also runaway slaves and yeomen farmers who had trouble getting a toehold in the plantation economy of the American colonies. The British saw piracy as a threat to colonial commerce and government. Woodes Rogers, the governor of the Bahamas and himself a former privateer, determined to bring the pirates to heel. Woodard describes how Rogers, aided by Virginia's acting governor, Alexander Spotswood, finally defeated the notorious Blackbeard. Woodard's portrait of Rogers is a little flat—the man is virtually flawless ("courageous, selfless, and surprisingly patriotic"), and the prose is sometimes breathless ("they would know him by just one word... pirate"). Still, this is a fast-paced narrative that will be especially attractive to lovers of pirate lore and to vacationers who are Bahamas-bound. Maps. (May)

Reviewed on: 03/05/2007
Release date: 05/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 383 pages - 978-0-15-603462-3
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-7927-4957-8
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