She Captains

By Joan Druett, Ron Druett (illustrator),

Book cover of She Captains: Heroines and Hellions of the Sea

Book description

In an innovative look at maritime history from the female perspective, Joan Druett introduces a remarkable array of characters and re-creates their adventures with a captivating immediacy and wit. There are 'pirate queens' armed with cutlasses and pistols who strike fear into the hearts of sailors. There are sea-loving women…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked She Captains as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Joan Druett is the dean of authors writing about women at sea. Her books bring to life not only the pirates and transgressive women, but the wives and daughters of sea captains who sailed alongside their men and shared the ship’s command and the global adventures. When I want good, historical data I turn to Druett and the tidbits she incorporates into her writing bring dry historical figures to life.

This book is the perfect balance of deep research and swashbuckling adventure! Joan Druett’s own story is fascinating, and she lends her talents to illuminate the lives of pirate women. This is the first book I read by a woman about pirate women, and it felt like exhaling a breath I didn’t realize I’d been holding. When women tell our own stories, the impact is so incredibly powerful and I have this book to thank for teaching me that.

If you want a thorough grounding (watering?) in women’s maritime history, this is the book for you. New Zealander Joan Druett tells amazing tales of women at sea from Ancient Greece to contemporary times. Her chapters are packed with all the information you could wish about warriors, pirates, crossdressing sailors, and wives who sailed with their captain husbands. Druett’s scope is wide, given that many people who traveled in the past traveled by sea—but that makes it possible to discuss more sorts of gender and racial issues, such as colonization and the British empire. Substantial and engaging, it’s the gold…

From Barbara's list on women seafarers and pirates.

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