Terror on the Seas: True Tales of Modern-Day Pirates

Daniel Sekulich, Author . St. Martin's $24.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-37582-9

Forget Blackbeard—piracy is more widespread and dire today than ever before, according to this rudderless exposé. Sekulich (Ocean Titans ) draws that conclusion in part through a liberal definition of piracy. The exploits of the well-organized and murderous Somali pirates that Sekulich chronicles qualify spectacularly: they have attacked a cruise ship, hijacked a supertanker, held freighter crews hostage for ransom and put a tragic crimp in food-aid shipments to Somalia. But the author also devotes much space to what amounts to mundane acts of maritime theft, hanging out, for example, with Malaysian fishermen who complain of having their boats and outboard motors stolen at night. His search for a genuine pirate to interview turns up a rueful Indonesian man who belonged to a gang that sneaked aboard ships anchored in port and stole cargo items, sometimes roughing up the watchmen. Readers looking for outlaw romance will not find it in these dispirited heists. While pirate attacks are certainly terrifying to their victims, Sekulich's alarm isn't justified by his depiction of the problem, which makes it seem like more than a nuisance but less than a scourge. Photos. (June)

Reviewed on: 03/30/2009
Release date: 05/01/2009
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4299-6929-1
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