93 books like History of the Pirates

By Charles Johnson, Daniel Defoe,

Here are 93 books that History of the Pirates fans have personally recommended if you like History of the Pirates. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Bold in Her Breeches: Woman Pirates Across the Ages

Julie Walker Author Of Bonny & Read

From my list on female pirates and their inspiration.

Who am I?

I’ve been obsessed by the story of Anne Bonny and Mary Read since I heard about them in an Adam Ant song "Five Guns West". I know more than is good for me about pirates and wanted to share some of the fantastic books that inspired me when I wrote the novel Bonny & Read. Eighty years before Pride and Prejudice was written there were women armed with cutlasses roaming the Caribbean looking for ships to plunder – I want to give everyone the opportunity to learn more about this incredible hidden history.

Julie's book list on female pirates and their inspiration

Julie Walker Why did Julie love this book?

Anne Bonny and Mary Read weren’t history’s only female pirates – though you’ll find them here alongside some lesser-known names.

From Artemisia in Ancient Greece, though to Grace O’Malley, Cheng I Sao, and more, you’ll find stories on what drove these women to sea, and the freedom it offered them alongside the risks. Fascinating.

By Jo Stanley (editor),

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Bold in Her Breeches as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As far back as 480 BC, when Artemisia commanded her Greek trireme, women have taken to the high seas in pursuit of life and liberty. Simultaneously revered and reviled by superstitious male mariners, the realities of these women pirates' lives have been lost in a murky fog of sexual and racial preconceptions.
Bold in her Breeches takes a wholly fresh look at these mythical figures and places them in their true historical and cultural contexts. From Artemisia to the contemporary women pirates of today, via eighteenth-century Grace O'Malley and nineteenth-century Cheng I Sao, we learn why women took to piracy,…


Book cover of Mother Ross: The Life and Adventures of Mrs. Christian Davies, Commonly Called Mother Ross, on Campaign with the Duke of Marlboroug

Julie Walker Author Of Bonny & Read

From my list on female pirates and their inspiration.

Who am I?

I’ve been obsessed by the story of Anne Bonny and Mary Read since I heard about them in an Adam Ant song "Five Guns West". I know more than is good for me about pirates and wanted to share some of the fantastic books that inspired me when I wrote the novel Bonny & Read. Eighty years before Pride and Prejudice was written there were women armed with cutlasses roaming the Caribbean looking for ships to plunder – I want to give everyone the opportunity to learn more about this incredible hidden history.

Julie's book list on female pirates and their inspiration

Julie Walker Why did Julie love this book?

First published in 1740, this is a first-hand account by a woman, Mrs. Christian Davies, who dressed as a man and became a soldier when her husband joined the army and went to fight in Europe.

An extraordinary story of an extraordinary woman and a rare insight into a hidden history.

By Daniel Defoe,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mother Ross as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The astonishing life of a woman soldier

When John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, rode among his 'men' in the campaigns that immortalised him as one of Britain's most accomplished military commanders, particularly in the War of Spanish Succession, little could he have imagined that one of the dragoons riding close to his stirrup was, in fact, not a man but a woman. The wild Irish girl born as Christian Cavanagh operated under several aliases including Welch, Welsh, Jones and Davies until she became known by her most familiar name 'Mother Ross.' No 'shrinking violet,' she would launch herself into a…


Book cover of The Female Soldier or the Surprising Life and Adventures of Hannah Snell

Julie Walker Author Of Bonny & Read

From my list on female pirates and their inspiration.

Who am I?

I’ve been obsessed by the story of Anne Bonny and Mary Read since I heard about them in an Adam Ant song "Five Guns West". I know more than is good for me about pirates and wanted to share some of the fantastic books that inspired me when I wrote the novel Bonny & Read. Eighty years before Pride and Prejudice was written there were women armed with cutlasses roaming the Caribbean looking for ships to plunder – I want to give everyone the opportunity to learn more about this incredible hidden history.

Julie's book list on female pirates and their inspiration

Julie Walker Why did Julie love this book?

Hannah Snell disguised herself as a man and served in the Royal Marines in the mid-1700s.

She brought her experience to a popular stage show when she was discovered and discharged from the regiment. She was the first woman to be given a Royal pension in recognition of her service, and went on to live as a Chelsea Pensioner in London.

By Anonymous,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Female Soldier or the Surprising Life and Adventures of Hannah Snell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This collection of literature attempts to compile many of the classic works that have stood the test of time and offer them at a reduced, affordable price, in an attractive volume so that everyone can enjoy them.


Book cover of Be More Pirate: Or How to Take On the World and Win

Julie Walker Author Of Bonny & Read

From my list on female pirates and their inspiration.

Who am I?

I’ve been obsessed by the story of Anne Bonny and Mary Read since I heard about them in an Adam Ant song "Five Guns West". I know more than is good for me about pirates and wanted to share some of the fantastic books that inspired me when I wrote the novel Bonny & Read. Eighty years before Pride and Prejudice was written there were women armed with cutlasses roaming the Caribbean looking for ships to plunder – I want to give everyone the opportunity to learn more about this incredible hidden history.

Julie's book list on female pirates and their inspiration

Julie Walker Why did Julie love this book?

A pirate ship was a place where the whole crew got an equal share of plunder, and where every man (or woman) had a voice.

They tore up the rulebook and made a better one that served them better. These two truths form the foundation of a business movement – Be More Pirate – which uses the theme of ‘making good trouble’ as the basis for better work/life satisfaction and building successful businesses.

It also makes the case that Anne Bonny via Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the Masses is actually the model for The Statue of Liberty. How great is that?!

By Sam Conniff Allende,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Be More Pirate as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Whatever your ambitions, ideas and challenges, this book will revolutionize the way you live, think and work today, and tomorrow.

Pirates didn't just break the rules, they rewrote them. They didn't just reject society, they reinvented it. Pirates didn't just challenge the status-quo, they changed everyfuckingthing. Pirates faced a self-interested establishment, a broken system, industrial scale disruption and an uncertain future. Sound familiar?

Pirates stood for MISCHIEF, PURPOSE and POWER. And you can too.

In Be More Pirate, Sam Conniff Allende unveils the innovative strategies of Golden Age pirates, drawing parallels between the tactics and teachings of legends like Henry…


Book cover of Pirate Queens

Laura Sook Duncombe Author Of Pirate Women: The Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers Who Ruled the Seven Seas

From my list on discover the truth about women pirates.

Who am I?

I have loved pirates since my first viewing of Mary Martin’s Peter Pan at age 5. My passion for learning about these outlaws led me to discover the hidden stories of women pirates—who have always sailed alongside their male counterparts yet never get the same glory. When I learned about Cheng I Sao, the greatest pirate who ever lived (who was a woman), I was so angry that her story wasn’t more well-known that I wrote a book about it! It has been a joy and an honor to share the stories of pirate women with the world and I have fully embraced my title of “crazy pirate lady.”

Laura's book list on discover the truth about women pirates

Laura Sook Duncombe Why did Laura love this book?

This new book is a great example of how women pirates continue to captivate and inspire us. Leigh Lewis has created a truly unique hybrid of a poetry collection and historical text which is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. It’s suitable for middle grade readers but enjoyable for all readers. I hope to see more from Leigh!

By Leigh Lewis, Sara Woolley (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pirate Queens as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Move over Blackbeard and Captain Kidd! Did you know that the most powerful pirate who ever lived was a woman? Read all about her and more formidable females in this edgy, one-of-a-kind collection that combines poetry, fascinating facts, and pictures.

This wow-worthy book proves that women have been making their mark in all aspects of history even the high seas! Meet Ching Shih, a Chinese pirate who presided over a fleet of 80,000 men (by contrast, Blackbeard had some 300). Get the scoop on Anne Bonny who famously ran away from an arranged marriage to don trousers and brandish a…


Book cover of Women and English Piracy, 1540-1720: Partners and Victims of Crime

Claire Jowitt Author Of The Culture of Piracy, 1580-1630: English Literature and Seaborne Crime

From my list on pirates in the age of sail.

Who am I?

I’m a writer-researcher based at the University of East Anglia. My work is driven by a love of travel and the sea, and an interest in how people move between cultures and ideas across time. I’ve written widely on early modern travel writing and maritime culture, plays about cultural encounter including first contact, and the intersections between ideas about gender, race, colonial and/or imperial identities, and power. At heart, I’m a cultural historian interested in how people and writing can say one thing but mean another.

Claire's book list on pirates in the age of sail

Claire Jowitt Why did Claire love this book?

Studies of early modern piracy often either focus on one or two exceptional women – Elizabeth I, Gráinne Ní Mháille, Anne Bonny, and Mary Read – or neglect women altogether. This book challenges assumptions about early modern women’s contribution to and involvement with piracy, exploring how female lives intersected with it in numerous and nuanced ways. Female family members often acted as receivers and dealers of stolen goods: their involvement shows agency in relation to piracy, though female victimization was also common. In fact, partnerships with women were part of the wider patterns of support pirates received from seafaring communities; familial relationships often triggered female involvement since economic integration and domestic connections were linked in the maritime world. Appleby suggests that due to the changing nature of piracy, female agency diminished by the end of the seventeenth century.

By John C. Appleby,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Women and English Piracy, 1540-1720 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Piracy was one of the most gendered criminal activities during the early modern period. As a form of maritime enterprise and organized criminality, it attracted thousands of male recruits whose venturing acquired a global dimension as piratical activity spread across the oceans and seas of the world. At the same time, piracy affected the lives of women in varied ways. Adopting a fresh approach to the subject, this study explores the relationships and contacts between women and pirates during a prolonged period of intense and shifting enterprise. Drawing on a wide body of evidence and based on English and Anglo-American…


Book cover of The Queen of Swords

Misty Massey Author Of Mad Kestrel

From my list on pirates who like a little magic in the mix.

Who am I?

I grew up on the coast of South Carolina, where many of the Golden Age pirates were welcomed as business associates and charming guests by some of the most influential people of the day. They are, to this day, considered local heroes. I read everything I could lay hands on about them, fiction and histories, and I knew my first book would have to be about the pirate I always pretended I could be, if I’d only been born two hundred years ago.

Misty's book list on pirates who like a little magic in the mix

Misty Massey Why did Misty love this book?

I’ve been a fan of Anne Bonney (one of the most famous female pirates in history) since I was a kid. She strapped on a sword and went to sea at a time when women were expected to marry young and die in childbirth, so a story that sees her surviving the gallows was naturally going to appeal to me. There’s an ancient society of assassins fighting an age-old war, and a risky ocean voyage to rescue a kidnapped child and claim a legendary treasure hidden in a lost city of bones somewhere on the coast of Africa. Is it any wonder I was hooked? This is the third book in Belcher’s Golgotha series, but I think you could read it alone and enjoy the adventure.

By R. S. Belcher,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Queen of Swords as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

1720. Escaping the gallows, Anne Bonney, the infamous pirate queen, sets sail in search of a fabulous treasure said to be hiding in a lost city of bones somewhere in the heart of Africa. But what she finds is a destiny she never expected . . . .

1870. Maude Stapleton is a respectable widow raising a daughter on her own. Few know, however, that Maude belongs to an ancient order of assassins, the Daughters of Lilith, and heir to the legacy of Anne Bonney, whose swashbuckling exploits blazed a trail that Maude must now follow - if she ever…


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

Wendy K. Perriman Author Of Fire on Dark Water

From my list on the real Pirates of the Caribbean.

Who am I?

My fascination with pirates began as a student in Bristol (UK) – the legendary hometown of Edward Teach a.k.a. Blackbeard. Later, I visited the Pirates of Nassau Museum in the Bahamas and was amazed to learn there had been women buccaneers too. I wanted to discover more about these daring females and find out what might have enticed them to brave a tenuous life on the account. As fate would have it, I now live in North Carolina near the Outer Banks where Blackbeard met his fate. These experiences inspired me to write a different kind of adventure story about the real pirates of the Caribbean featuring a strong, resilient, swashbuckling female.

Wendy's book list on the real Pirates of the Caribbean

Wendy K. Perriman Why did Wendy love this book?

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 the cramped and primitive conditions on board an eighteenth-century ship?” These prompts helped me to focus on the issues my own female protagonist would have to overcome during her nautical adventures. I recommend this book because it is informative, thought-provoking, and entertaining.

By David Cordingly,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Under the Black Flag as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

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 of the piracy myth, he explores its enduring and extraordinary appeal and assesses the reality behind the romance, answering in the process questions such as: why did men become pirates; were there any women pirates; how much money did they make from their plundering and looting; what effect did their…


Book cover of A General History of the Robberies & Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates

Wendy K. Perriman Author Of Fire on Dark Water

From my list on the real Pirates of the Caribbean.

Who am I?

My fascination with pirates began as a student in Bristol (UK) – the legendary hometown of Edward Teach a.k.a. Blackbeard. Later, I visited the Pirates of Nassau Museum in the Bahamas and was amazed to learn there had been women buccaneers too. I wanted to discover more about these daring females and find out what might have enticed them to brave a tenuous life on the account. As fate would have it, I now live in North Carolina near the Outer Banks where Blackbeard met his fate. These experiences inspired me to write a different kind of adventure story about the real pirates of the Caribbean featuring a strong, resilient, swashbuckling female.

Wendy's book list on the real Pirates of the Caribbean

Wendy K. Perriman Why did Wendy love this book?

It was long thought that Captain Charles Johnson was a pseudonym for Daniel Defoe (of Robinson Crusoe fame), the original pirate novelist. As such, this anecdotal collection of seafaring tales may be as close to historical “primary source” material as we can get! A General History has inspired several generations of nautical poems, plays, and novels about life on the account, including Fire on Dark Water. Captain Johnson’s classic book undoubtedly raised public awareness about the lives and loves of many buccaneers and it is still a fascinating read today.

By Captain Charles Johnson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A General History of the Robberies & Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Originally published in 1724-and now with an introduction and commentary by David Cordingly, best-selling author of the pirate classic Under the Black Flag-this famous account of the most notorious pirates of the day was an immediate success. Written by the mysterious Captain Johnson, it appeared in the book world at a time since described as the "Golden Age of Piracy" and vividly captures the realities of the savage seafaring existence-detailing specific events, including trials, of the day's most feared pirates. Indeed, this book has become the main source for scholars seeking to learn more about the female pirates Mary Read…


Book cover of Villains of All Nations: Atlantic Pirates in the Golden Age

Katie Crabb Author Of Sailing by Orion's Star

From my list on historical books that aren’t about kings or queens.

Who am I?

I am a librarian and a writer with a passion for history and challenging the narrative, because sometimes, the things the history books tell us aren’t the whole story. After all, history belongs to the victor, doesn’t it? Finding and writing stories that explore historical lives beyond royals and the wealthy is what I love, and I’m always looking for more books that do this. I started reading historical fiction as a child, delving into things like the Dear America and American Girl series, that told the stories of everyday people in these grand moments of history, and reading those books inspired me to write my own.

Katie's book list on historical books that aren’t about kings or queens

Katie Crabb Why did Katie love this book?

This is my nonfiction pick for this list, and one of my favorite books on any historical period, ever. This was a foundational text for my own trilogy set in the golden age of piracy, and at least half of it is underlined and filled with my excited notes. This book takes on the period through what Rediker calls “history from below” exploring the lives of pirates, sailors, enslaved people, and those fighting against empires and the damaging effects of colonization in the 18th century. It stands against the depiction of pirates as lazy thieves, and instead paints a picture of social and economic rebellion. The pirates weren’t perfect, but they were building something of their own in juxtaposition to the rampant abuses of the era. 

By Marcus Rediker,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Villains of All Nations as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Pirates have long been stock figures in popular culture, from Treasure Island to the more recent antics of Jack Sparrow. Villains of all Nations unearths the thrilling historical truth behind such fictional characters and rediscovers their radical democratic challenge to the established powers of the day.


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Interested in Anne Bonny, Blackbeard, and piracy?

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