Black Flage, Blue Waters

Eric Jay Dolin, Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America's Most Notorious Pirates (New York: Liveright Publishing), 2018

eric dolin black flags blue waters
OK, I'm not exactly sure how I ended up reading a history of pirates. I like books about sailing and water adventures, and I read a review of this book in a boating magazine, but it is hardly a book about boats and boating. Pirates traded boats at a rapid pace, depending on what they could seize from those who fell victim to their ways. The book, however, is well researched and well written and it reads very easily. It provided several nights of entertainment in a busy season of my life. So I can't complain.

On the other hand, I don't know if I can truly recommend this book unless you are interested in the subject of piracy and the history of American pirates. There are stories of some of the famous pirates like Black Beard, Captain Kidd, Edward Low. There are references to non pirates who were among the enemies of the seafarers such as Cotton Mather, Benjamin Franklin and John Winthrop. The book is helpful at cutting through misconceptions and stereotypes. And the book has many illustrations from the period covered as well as from more recent books that provide a good context to the stories told.

The story of pirates is always filled with intrigue, mutiny and the lust for riches. But modern movies such as the Pirates of the Caribbean series probably miss the mark when it comes to historical accuracy. But then, again, I think my favorite pirate movie is Muppets Treasure island, so don't take me as an expert.

Dolin, however, is an expert and his book is expertly written.