Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Here Be Pirates!

There is something so romantic and dashing about pirates (unless it's your boat that they are taking over), and poets and writers have been fascinated by them for centuries. Our new book The Gigantic Book of Pirate Stories, edited and introduced by Steve Brennan, collects some of the more memorable writings about pirate encounters. One of the nicest things about this work is that it includes many firsthand narratives of sailors who entered into battle with pirates, as well as some overviews of pirate history. There are also numerous accounts of famous pirate captains, including the female pirates Anne Bonney and Mary Read. While the first half of the book leans towards factual account, the second half is all about the creative muse. From Lord Byron's incredibly long poem "Corsair", to excerpts from Shakespeare's plays, to buccaneer songs and epitaphs, this huge collection ranges across time and geography to give the reader a thorough dose of all things piratical. Mark Twain, Daniel Defoe, J.M. Barrie, Joseph Conrad, James Fenimore Cooper, Robert Louis Stevenson and Sir Walter Scott all appear in the pages, and each chapter begins with a wonderful old black-and-white illustration of tall ships, bearded rogues and melees. Fun stuff!

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