100 books like Young Men and the Sea

By Daniel Vickers, Vince Walsh,

Here are 100 books that Young Men and the Sea fans have personally recommended if you like Young Men and the Sea. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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 Pirate Nests and the Rise of the British Empire, 1570-1740

Rebecca Simon Author Of Why We Love Pirates: The Hunt for Captain Kidd and How He Changed Piracy Forever

From my list on the lives of pirates.

Why am I passionate about this?

I always had an interest in pirates, being a SoCal native who went to Disneyland every year, and history was always my favorite subject in school. I went on to grad school and decided to make piracy my subject. My Master’s was about how the novel Treasure Island changed perceptions of piracy. I then continued my studies and earned my doctorate at King’s College London in 2017 about public executions of pirates and their cultural/legal representations in the British-Atlantic World. Since then, I have been featured on numerous podcasts such as History Hit, History Extra, and You’re Dead To Me, and on documentaries such as BBC’s Britain’s Rogues, History Channels Oak Island, and Netflix’s Lost Pirate Kingdom while publishing both academic and popular articles before my first book.

Rebecca's book list on the lives of pirates

Rebecca Simon Why did Rebecca love this book?

This book is pretty recent, having been published in 2015. In my opinion, it is the best book ever written about Atlantic piracy. Hanna dissects pirates to examine who they were and why they became pirates. What is unique about this work, is that he argues that pirates were just as significant on land as they were at sea. Without pirates, there would be no rise of a British Empire in the American colonies. This book was released during the last year of my doctoral research and I probably would not have been as successful in its completion without Pirate Nests!

By Mark G. Hanna,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pirate Nests and the Rise of the British Empire, 1570-1740 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Analyzing the rise and subsequent fall of international piracy from the perspective of colonial hinterlands, Mark G. Hanna explores the often overt support of sea marauders in maritime communities from the inception of England's burgeoning empire in the 1570s to its administrative consolidation by the 1740s. Although traditionally depicted as swashbuckling adventurers on the high seas, pirates played a crucial role on land. Far from a hindrance to trade, their enterprises contributed to commercial development and to the economic infrastructure of port towns.

English piracy and unregulated privateering flourished in the Pacific, the Caribbean, and the Indian Ocean because of…


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

Len Travers Author Of The Notorious Edward Low: Pursuing the Last Great Villain of Piracy's Golden Age

From my list on curing you of DPS (Disney Pirate Syndrome).

Why am I passionate about this?

Let's face it: pirates of the Golden Age are just cool. No one would actually want to encounter them, but they have been the stuff of escapist dreams since childhood. Adventure, fellowship, treasure–the “romantic” aspects of piracy are what make these otherwise nasty individuals anti-heroes par excellence. As an adult and academic and as an occasional crewman on square riggers, I adopted pirates as a favorite sub-set of maritime history. As with other aspects of the past, I view the history of pirates and piracy as really two narratives: what the records tell us happened and why and what our persistent fascination with them reveals about us.

Len's book list on curing you of DPS (Disney Pirate Syndrome)

Len Travers Why did Len love this book?

I first read Rediker’s work as a graduate student, and from the first pages, I was “hooked.”

Want to understand what made pirates tick? In this book, pirates are recast not as violent, unthinking brutes but as ordinary, sea-going laboring men driven to lawlessness by the brutal demands of expanding Atlantic trade.

I especially appreciated Rediker’s situating pirate behavior and customs within the broader world of maritime life. He argues that these outlawed men created a floating society that was then the most egalitarian and democratic in the Western world.

By Marcus Rediker,

Why should I read it?

4 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.


Book cover of Pirates!

Barbara Sjoholm Author Of The Pirate Queen: In Search of Grace O'Malley and Other Legendary Women of the Sea

From my list on women seafarers and pirates.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Long Beach, California and have always gravitated to port towns and saltwater. I had a summer job as a student working on the famous Hurtigruten cargo ship and traveled up and down the Norwegian coast as a dishwasher. Since then I’ve kayaked, sailed, and wandered the shores of many countries, including the Pacific Northwest, where I live now. Being Irish and Swedish myself, I wanted to make women’s history as seafarers in the cold waters of the North better known. I had a great time researching this travel book about little-known places and women skippers, fishers, and sea goddesses. 

Barbara's book list on women seafarers and pirates

Barbara Sjoholm Why did Barbara love this book?

Pirates! Historical fiction for young adults and anyone who enjoys a sea story with twists and turns aplenty, this novel begins in Bristol, England in the eighteenth century. Nancy Kingston’s father is a shipowner whose money comes from sugar plantations and enslaved labor in Jamaica. A tragedy makes sixteen-year-old Nancy his heiress; her brothers send her to the West Indies to marry. But life takes a surprising turn; she and the enslaved maid Minerva, escape to become pirates in the Caribbean. If you’re looking for an absorbing, multicultural tale of girls who go in search of adventure and freedom amidst the horrors of plantation life, this is a must-read. According to the author the novel is based on a true story, which makes it even more fascinating. 

By Celia Rees,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Pirates! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

From the author of the bestselling and award-winning WITCH CHILD, comes another outstanding historical novel.

When two young women meet under extraordinary circumstances in the eighteenth-century West Indies, they are unified in their desire to escape their oppressive lives. The first is a slave, forced to work in a plantation mansion and subjected to terrible cruelty at the hands of the plantation manager. The second is a spirited and rebellious English girl, sent to the West Indies to marry well.

But fate ensures that one night the two young women have to save each other and run away to a…


Book cover of Sailors: English Merchant Seamen 1650 - 1775

Thomas M. Truxes Author Of Defying Empire: Trading with the Enemy in Colonial New York

From my list on 18th century mariners.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since the publication of my first book in 1988, my emphasis has always been on history as “story.” That is, the stories of men and women in past centuries with whom we share a common humanity but who faced challenges very different from our own. My goal is to bring their stories to as wide an audience as possible. Whether they describe Newfoundland fisherman in the 17th-century North Atlantic, expatriate Irish men and women in 18th-century Bordeaux, or colonial New Yorkers defying British authority on the eve of the American Revolution, the common theme is the impact of trade and the sea on the lives of ordinary people.

Thomas' book list on 18th century mariners

Thomas M. Truxes Why did Thomas love this book?

Sailors — among my favorite books — is a vivid account of the lives of English merchant seamen in the 17th and 18th centuries. These were the years when England rose to dominance in global commerce and became the greatest naval power in the world. Acclaimed historian Peter Earle explores every aspect of the sailor's life: conditions of service, wealth and possessions, life aboard ship, the perils of the sea, discipline and punishment, sickness, desertion, mutiny and mortality, and the role of the sailor in times of war. Evocative, scholarly, and colorful, this story of England's "bravest and boldest" reveals how life on the waves was not all storms and conflict, tyranny and revolt, but also one of comradeship, adventure, and love of the sea.

By Peter Earle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A social and economic history of the lives of English merchant sailors in the 17th and 18th centuries, when England dominated the world in commerce and power. Drawn from primary documents and diaries, all aspects are examined, including conditions of service, discipline, mortality and war.


Book cover of The Wooden World: An Anatomy of the Georgian Navy

Philip K. Allan Author Of The Captain's Nephew

From my list on the Age of Sail for lovers of the period.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a passion for ships and the sea which I try and bring to my writing. I was first drawn to the Age of Sail by earlier novelists in the genre who opened my eyes to a fascinating world. I went on to study the 18th-century navy at university, I sail myself whenever I can, and have always loved the sea. When I decided to give up a well-paid job in industry to try my hand as an author, there was only one genre for me.

Philip's book list on the Age of Sail for lovers of the period

Philip K. Allan Why did Philip love this book?

This book is always on my desk when I am writing. Nick Rodger is the greatest living authority on the Age of Sail, with an astounding knowledge of his subject from the grand strategy of fleets down to the daily life of individual sailors. The book is a distillation of a lifetime of careful research into a highly-readable, single volume that lets the reader step through a door into a vanished world.

By N.A.M. Rodger,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Wooden World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Meticulously researched, Rodger's portrait draws the reader into this fascinatingly complex world with vivid, entertaining characters and full details of life below the decks. The Wooden World provides the most complete history of a navy at any age, and is sure to be an indispensable volume for all fans of Patrick O'Brian, English history, and naval history.


Book cover of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: Merchant Seamen, Pirates and the Anglo-American Maritime World, 1700 1750

Thomas M. Truxes Author Of Defying Empire: Trading with the Enemy in Colonial New York

From my list on 18th century mariners.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since the publication of my first book in 1988, my emphasis has always been on history as “story.” That is, the stories of men and women in past centuries with whom we share a common humanity but who faced challenges very different from our own. My goal is to bring their stories to as wide an audience as possible. Whether they describe Newfoundland fisherman in the 17th-century North Atlantic, expatriate Irish men and women in 18th-century Bordeaux, or colonial New Yorkers defying British authority on the eve of the American Revolution, the common theme is the impact of trade and the sea on the lives of ordinary people.

Thomas' book list on 18th century mariners

Thomas M. Truxes Why did Thomas love this book?

The common seaman and the pirate in the age of sail are romantic historical figures who occupy a special place in the popular culture, but they remain little known to us.  But their lives are not beyond recovery.  Rediker tours the sailor's North Atlantic, following seamen and their ships along the pulsing routes of trade and into rowdy port towns. He recreates life along the waterfront, where seafaring men from around the world crowded into brothels, alehouses, and city jails. And Rediker explores the natural terror that inevitably shaped the existence of those who plied the forbidding oceans of the globe in small, brittle wooden vessels. The mariners in Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea are working men, struggling to overcome the exploitive tendencies of the age in which they lived.

By Marcus Rediker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea focuses upon the seamen's experience in order to illuminate larger historical issues such as the rise of capitalism, the genesis of free wage labor, and the growth of an international working class. These epic themes were intimately bound up with the everyday hopes and fears of the common men who toiled upon the deep.


Book cover of The Evil Necessity: British Naval Impressment in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World

Thomas M. Truxes Author Of Defying Empire: Trading with the Enemy in Colonial New York

From my list on 18th century mariners.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since the publication of my first book in 1988, my emphasis has always been on history as “story.” That is, the stories of men and women in past centuries with whom we share a common humanity but who faced challenges very different from our own. My goal is to bring their stories to as wide an audience as possible. Whether they describe Newfoundland fisherman in the 17th-century North Atlantic, expatriate Irish men and women in 18th-century Bordeaux, or colonial New Yorkers defying British authority on the eve of the American Revolution, the common theme is the impact of trade and the sea on the lives of ordinary people.

Thomas' book list on 18th century mariners

Thomas M. Truxes Why did Thomas love this book?

In total numbers, impressed seamen were second only to enslaved Africans as the largest group of forced laborers in the eighteenth century. In The Evil Necessity, Denver Brunsman describes in vivid detail the experience of impressment for Atlantic seafarers and their families. Forced service robbed approximately 250,000 mariners of their livelihoods, and, not infrequently, their lives, while also devastating Atlantic seaport communities and the loved ones left behind. Press gangs, consisting of a navy officer backed by sailors and occasionally local toughs, often used violence or the threat of violence to supply the manpower necessary to maintain British naval supremacy. But impressment helped to unite Britain and its Atlantic coastal territories in a common system of maritime defense unmatched by any other European empire.

By Denver Brunsman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A fundamental component of Britain's early success, naval impressment not only kept the Royal Navy afloat-it helped to make an empire. In total numbers, impressed seamen were second only to enslaved Africans as the largest group of forced labourers in the eighteenth century.

In The Evil Necessity, Denver Brunsman describes in vivid detail the experience of impressment for Atlantic seafarers and their families. Brunsman reveals how forced service robbed approximately 250,000 mariners of their livelihoods, and, not infrequently, their lives, while also devastating Atlantic seaport communities and the loved ones who were left behind. Press gangs, consisting of a navy…


Book cover of My Ship Is So Small

Barbara Sjoholm Author Of The Pirate Queen: In Search of Grace O'Malley and Other Legendary Women of the Sea

From my list on women seafarers and pirates.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Long Beach, California and have always gravitated to port towns and saltwater. I had a summer job as a student working on the famous Hurtigruten cargo ship and traveled up and down the Norwegian coast as a dishwasher. Since then I’ve kayaked, sailed, and wandered the shores of many countries, including the Pacific Northwest, where I live now. Being Irish and Swedish myself, I wanted to make women’s history as seafarers in the cold waters of the North better known. I had a great time researching this travel book about little-known places and women skippers, fishers, and sea goddesses. 

Barbara's book list on women seafarers and pirates

Barbara Sjoholm Why did Barbara love this book?

It’s not just that Ann Davison crossed the rough Atlantic alone in her twenty-three-foot yacht, the Felicity Ann, it’s that this solo crossing, in stages, took place in 1952-3. Ann Davison, middle-aged and widowed, took her heart in her hands and set off from Plymouth, England, to find “the key to living.” The boat was sturdy but the ocean was big, and it was winter.  A lot of the logbook reads “Wretched night” or “Squalls” or “Incessant scream of the wind,” but you know she’s going to get through it. In its humorous, modest, courageous way, this book continues to be my favorite seafaring story. Even though I would never ever try the same thing. 

By Ann Davison,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Ship Is So Small as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of The Pirate Queen: In Search of Grace O'Malley and Other Legendary Women of the Sea

Darlene Marshall Author Of Sea Change

From my list on women at sea through history (including some pirates).

Why am I passionate about this?

I picked these books because I love telling stories about bold women, and pirates float my boat. Being able to incorporate so much of history into my seafaring women, making them real and believable, makes writing that much more enjoyable. When I can incorporate real historical tidbits into my work it’s a good writing day, and I wanted to share my favorite research books with other readers. 

Darlene's book list on women at sea through history (including some pirates)

Darlene Marshall Why did Darlene love this book?

Sjoholm goes far back in history to document tales of women who went to sea, and commanded ships, in Phoenicia, Scandinavia, the British Isles, and Ireland. There was no holding back strong seafaring women and I love seeing their stories brought to life. Grace O’Malley in particular won the respect of her English foes, including their strong ruler, Elizabeth I.

By Barbara Sjoholm,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Pirate Queen begins in Ireland with the infamous Grace O'Malley, a ruthless pirate and scourge to the most powerful fleets of sixteenth-century Europe. This Irish clan chieftain, sea captain, and pirate queen was a contemporary of Elizabeth I, a figure whose life is the stuff of myth. Regularly raiding English ships caught off Ireland's west coast, O'Malley was purported to have fought the Spanish armada just hours after giving birth to her son. She had several husbands in her lifetime, and acquired lands and castles that still dot the Irish coastline today. But Grace O'Malley was not alone. Since…


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