HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Infamous Pirates: Their Lives and Bloody Exploits
Author and Illustrator: Ezra Strong, editor
Publisher: Dover Publications, republished in 2007
Related website: http://www.doverpublications.com (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Teens and adults
Rating: **** 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Strong, Ezra, editor. Infamous Pirates: Their Lives and Bloody Exploits (originally published as The History of the Lives and Bloody Exploits of the Most Noted Pirates in 1855 by Silas Andrus and Son, Hartford, CN; republished in 2007 by Dover Publications Inc., 31 E. 2nd St., Mineola, NY 11501). This is another volume that I purchased in the Pirates of the Caribbean section of Disney World. It contains true tales of battles and bloodshed, soaring triumphs and stinging defeats, about men who achieved notoriety as high-seas outlaws, primarily in the early eighteenth century. The book first appeared in the mid nineteenth century when pirates still were active in the Caribbean, Africa, and the Orient. Of course, it does contain many references to drinking alcohol and a few graphic descriptions of killing, both common practices among pirates. In my estimation, it is not as good as The History of Piracy by Philip Gosse.
As it was apparently collated from ships’ logs, newspaper accounts, letters, and other written documents, I will have to agree with one reviewer who said, “Much of the narrative is very minutely episodic, so that some the chapters resemble a story told by a talkative two-year-old.” Still, it does contain a lot of fascinating historical information that might be of interest to die-hard fans of pirate-related literature. The same reviewer also complained that, “The text waxes incoherently preachy in spots, which is tiresome.” I really didn’t mind that because I have found that those who object to being “preachy” usually come from a multi-cultural worldview where nothing is really good or evil, whereas editor Ezra Strong does display a finely-tuned sense of right and wrong. Though it was a bit hard to get through at times, I still enjoyed reading it.