HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Incredible Pirate Tales: Fourteen Classic Stories of the Outlaws of the High Seas
Author: Tom McCarthy, Editor
Publisher: Lyons Press, 2006
Related website: http://www.LyonsPress.com (publisher)
Language level: 3
(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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McCarthy, Tom, Editor. Incredible Pirate Tales: Fourteen Classic Stories of the Outlaws of the High Seas (published in 2006 by The Lyons Press, P. O. Box 480, Guilford, CT 06437, an imprint of The Globe Pequot Press). This is one of several books that I bought in the Pirates of the Caribbean section of the Magic Kingdom at Disney World. Editor Tom McCarthy, who grew up on the Great Lakes with a love of sailing and the ocean, writes in his Introduction that this book is not intended to be a chronicle about “the real-life butchers, malcontents, and ne’er-do-wells who preyed, often viciously, upon so many innocent ships and sailors” but is more “along the lines of the sanitized movie variety, you know, Johnny Depp or Errol Flynn.” He goes on to say, “It is not a history of piracy, nor is it an analysis of the sociological or cultural antecedents of piracy.” The fourteen stories in this collection are all excerpted from larger works, some based on actual fact and others taken from fictional literature, including scenes from Daniel Defoe’s Captain Singleton and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.
From Blackbeard to Long John Silver, McCartney includes tales about L’Olonnois the Cruel, the most notorious and wicked pirate of his day; and a Frenchman known as Peter the Great, who successfully managed his career and settled in France, where he retired as a gentleman; along with Jean Lafitte, Captain Charles Vane, and the Joassammee Pirates of the Persian Gulf. I was especially taken with the excerpt from Randall Parrish’s Wolves of the Sea. There are some cursing and profanity—pirates were not known for delicacy of language—but not too much, as well as references to drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco. And, of course, occasional killings do occur. Even fictional prates had to take a few lives to live up to their reputation. Otherwise, anyone who likes to read about pirates will enjoy this book.