In the early eighteenth century a number of the great pirate captains, including Edward 'Blackbeard' Teach and 'Black Sam' Bellamy, joined forces. This infamous 'Flying Gang' was more than simply a thieving band of brothers. Many of its members had come to piracy as a revolt against conditions in the merchant fleet and in the cities and plantations in the Old and New Worlds. Inspired by notions of self-government, they established a crude but distinctive form of democracy in the Bahamas, carving out their own zone of freedom in which indentured servants were released and leaders chosen or deposed by a vote. They were ultimately overcome by their archnemesis, Captain Woodes Rogers-a merchant fleet owner and former privateer - and the brief but glorious Republic of Pirates came to an end. Colin Woodard's account is vividly told, full of incident and adventure, and brings to life this virtually unexplored chapter in the Golden Age of Piracy.
'Fascinating... beyond rip-roaring adventure stories from the distant past, [the book offers] an opportunity to understand pirates as they truly were--and to be grateful that the worst of them, at least, are gone.' New York Times Book Review 'This breezy, fast-moving book is filled with exciting action and colorful characters. It will provide general readers and those with a special interest in the period much enjoyment.' Booklist 'Disregard Robert Louis Stevenson's rowdy buccaneers, the Disney factory's lively rascals and those musical lads from Penzance: Here are the real pirates of the Caribbean, and the facts are as colorful and exciting as fiction.' Kirkus Reviews 'It's a rollicking tale, filled with rich details of the lives of men who, for their own personal gain, challenged the spread of empires.' Times-Picayune 'The first incisive look at the world of Blackbeard, Stede Bonnet, Anne Bonny, and their compatriots, and it illuminates as never before one of the most storied yet misunderstood episodes in our past.' Willliam C. Davis, author of The Pirates Laffite 'A rollicking, gangplank-swaying read of a book ...This scrupulously researched book strikes a balance of human interest, romance, drama, war, and historical fact--all key ingredients for an excellent read.' Caribbean Beat
Colin Woodard, an award-winning author and journalist, is State & National Affairs Writer for The Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram, and a longtime correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor and The Chronicle of Higher Education. His work has appeared in The Economist, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, Smithsonian, Newsweek/The Daily Beast, Bloomberg View, Washington Monthly and dozens of other national and international publications. A native of Maine, he has reported from more than fifty foreign countries and six continents, and lived for more than four years in Eastern Europe during and after the collapse of communism. His investigative reporting for the Telegram won a 2012 George Polk Award. His most recent book, American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America, was named a Best Book of 2011 by the editors of The New Republic and the Globalist and won the 2012 Maine Literary Award for Non-Fiction. A graduate of Tufts University and the University of Chicago, he lives in Midcoast Maine.