HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Buccaneers and Pirates of Our Coasts
Author: Frank R. Stockton
Illustrators: George Varian and B. West Clinedinst
Publisher: Aegypan, republished in 2006
ISBN-13: 978-1598182552 (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1598182552 (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-0486454252 (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0486454258 (Paperback)
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: Ages 9 and up
Rating: **** 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Stockton, Frank R. Buccaneers and Pirates of Our Coasts (originally published in 1898 by The Macmillan Company, New York City, NY; republished in 2007 by Dover Publications Inc., 31 E. 2nd St., Mineola, NY 11501). Finally! The last of the pirate-related books that I picked up at the Pirates of the Caribbean section of Disney World. I think that I just about overdosed myself. This book was written primarily for young people. In fact, the author begins by saying, “When I was a boy I strongly desired to be a pirate, and the reason for this was the absolute independence of that sort of life. Restrictions of all sorts had become onerous to me, and in my reading of the adventures of the bold sea-rovers of the main, I had unconsciously selected those portions of a pirate’s life which were attractive to me, and had totally disregarded all the rest. In fact, I had a great desire to become what might be called a marine Robin Hood. I would take from the rich and give to the poor; I would run my long, low, black craft by the side of the merchantman, and when I had loaded my vessel with the rich stuffs and golden ingots which composed her cargo, I would sail away to some poor village, and make its inhabitants prosperous and happy for the rest of their lives by a judicious distribution of my booty.” Thus, while the book is written with historical accuracy, it does not contain the kind of graphic, gruesome detail that might make it inappropriate for young children.
Buccaneers and Pirates is not intended to be a complete book of pirate lore from all times and places but an account of the more well-known, and some not so famous, buccaneers of the New World from the mid-seventeenth century into the early eighteenth century. In these true tales, along with a few legends, of history’s sea-faring scoundrels and their daring deeds, the reader will meet Blackbeard, who reveled in shooting down members of his own crew; Henry Morgan, the infamous pirate who eventually became Deputy-Governor of Jamaica; Jean Lafitte, master of an enormously profitable piracy ring even though he only boarded a ship twice in his life; Captain William Kidd, whose evil exploits continue to raise goose bumps; and even two women whose courage and cunning were a match for any man’s. One may not agree with Stockton’s picture of Christopher Columbus as a pirate-like figure plundering the “simple-hearted, inoffensive” people of the West Indies “who did not know how to fight and who did not want to fight.” Columbus may have had his faults, but the various tribes of Native Americans had been butchering and massacring each other for thousands of years before he arrived. Otherwise, these authentic stories, sometimes humorous, sometimes chilling, but always interesting, are quite readable for those who enjoy learning about the notorious brigands who plundered North American coasts.