History of the Pirates Who Infested the China Sea from 1807-1810
By Yuen Yung Lun, Charles Friedrich Neumann
Why this book?
The original chronicle of the massive pirate outbreak along the China coast in the early 19th century. Written by a Chinese amateur historian, he makes his patriotic agenda clear on every page: to boost the maligned reputation of China’s imperial navy in allegedly quashing the pirates (by twisting the historical truth, to put it mildly). The main characters and incidents are based on fact, while he fills in the gaps with private conversations and meetings that no one could have been privy to. Translated into English by a German missionary in 1835, this mix of fact and speculation is the ur-document on which every western account of these pirates is based. Newer editions include an eyewitness narrative by a British sailor who spent six months as a captive of the pirates. Essential and entertaining reading which should be taken with large pinches of (pilfered) salt.
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