Under the Black Flag

By David Cordingly,

Book cover of Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates

Book description

This book sets out to discover the truth behind the stereotypical image of the pirate. Examining the rich literary and cultural legacy of piratical icons from Blackbeard to Captain Hook, the author compares the legends with their historical counterparts and comes up with some surprising conclusions. In a wider overview…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked Under the Black Flag as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

David Cordingly’s book is useful for its accurate and lively attempt to separate pirate facts from public fiction. He sifts through childhood tales of wooden legs and parrots to highlight the harsh realities experienced by most of these violent rogues. The tortures he describes serve to remind the reader that these were desperate times full of volatile career criminals. And the women were often as dangerous as their male counterparts! While considering Anne Bonny and Mary Read, he questions “Were there other women pirates?” and “How was it possible for a woman to pass herself off as a man in…

From Wendy's list on the real Pirates of the Caribbean.

This is an excellent book to read if you are interested in understanding how and why pirates became such infamous figures. I like Cordingly’s book because it is well-researched and extremely accessible for academic and general readers. Unlike many other pirate history book, he discusses how pirates became pop culture icons and the trends that led them to that status.

From Rebecca's list on the lives of pirates.

First published in 1995, this book helped launch a renewed pirate mania among the public that led to, among other things, the wildly successful Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise. Cordingly is a skilled writer who deftly weaves together a great range of themes surrounding the Golden Age of Piracy, including the way in which pirates are perceived in popular culture. He does a great job of exploding common myths about pirates, and offering an unvarnished view of what pirate life was actually like. Although it is not a narrative history that moves chronologically, it is a fun and easy…

From Eric's list on piracy and pirates.

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