The best books on Blackbeard

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12 authors created a book list connected to Blackbeard, and here are their favorite Blackbeard books.
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History of the Pirates

By Charles Johnson, Daniel Defoe,

Book cover of History of the Pirates: True Story of the Most Notorious Pirates

Julie Walker Author Of Bonny & Read

From the 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

Discover why each book is one of Julie's favorite books.

Why did Julie love this book?

Possibly Daniel Defoe, possibly not; the mysterious Captain Johnson clearly had first-hand information about the most notorious pirates of the Golden Age of Piracy in the Caribbean when it was first published back in 1724.

As well as stories about Blackbeard, Captain Kidd, and Black Bart Roberts, Johnson is the reason we know about Anne Bonny and Mary Read’s extraordinary true stories. Jack Rackham served with Blackbeard, too – a fact that I love. 

By Charles Johnson, Daniel Defoe,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The famous history that inspired so many adventure novels, movies and most recently Black Sails & Pirates of the Caribbean. Find out the truth behind the legend: Table of Contents: • Of Captain Avery, And his Crew • Of Captain Martel, And his Crew • Of Captain Teach, alias Blackbeard • Of Major Stede Bonnet, And his Crew • Of Capt. Edward England, And his Crew • Of Captain Charles Vane, And his Crew • Of Captain John Rackam, And his Crew • The Life of Mary Read, And Anne Bonny • Of Captain Howel Davis, And his Crew •…


Blackbeard the Pirate

By Robert E. Lee,

Book cover of Blackbeard the Pirate

Wendy K. Perriman Author Of Fire on Dark Water

From the 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

Discover why each book is one of Wendy's favorite books.

Why did Wendy love this book?

Lee’s reappraisal of Blackbeard (Edward Teach) examines the mythical persona of arguably the most notorious pirate of The Golden Age. But what is the truth behind the real man? In studying most of the extant evidence Lee displays a certain amount of respect for Blackbeard’s bravery, planning, psychological warfare tactics, and appetite for women, describing him as the “famous knight of the black flag.” This intriguing book offers an alternative view to Blackbeard the Monster.

By Robert E. Lee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, was one of the most notorious pirates ever to plague the Atlantic coast. He was also one of the most colorful pirates of all time, becoming the model for countless blood-and-thunder tales of sea rovers. His daring exploits, personal courage, terrifying appearance, and fourteen wives made him a legend in his own lifetime. The legends and myths about Blackbeard have become wilder rather than tamer in the 250 years since his gory but valiant death at Ocracoke Inlet. It is difficult for historians, and all but impossible for the general reader, to separate fact…


A General History of the Pirates

By Captain Charles Johnson,

Book cover of A General History of the Pirates

Virginia Chandler Author Of The Devil's Treasure: The Complete Tale

From the list on pirates, history, and legend.

Who am I?

I’m not a real pirate, at least not most of the time, but as a kid, I wanted to be one. I was firmly in love with the romantic “Robin Hood” type legends of the pirate kings. As an adult, the love for all things pirate became a fascination with the pirate archetype, pirate history, and pirate legend. But, honestly, for me, it’s the mystery. There are so many mysteries involving pirates: Where did they hide their treasure? Was there a secret pirate kingdom called Libertalia? Were there pirate curses? This prompted me to research and write The Devil’s Treasure, inspired by the need to know, the need to solve, the need to conquer. 

Virginia's book list on pirates, history, and legend

Discover why each book is one of Virginia's favorite books.

Why did Virginia love this book?

If you want to know the “history” of ye olde pirates, this is the penultimate of pirate history books. A General History of the Pirates was first published in 1724 for a surprisingly eager audience of readers. Daniel Defoe was, (and is), known for his fiction, such as Robinson Crusoe and Moll Flanders, so he was a popular author at the time. However, it could not have been predicted that readers were so interested in the details concerning the scourge of the high seas, our beloved “bloodthirsty” pirates. Yet, this book, despite it being a flamboyant and rather colorful embellishment of actual pirate activity, was and remains a popular title. Every pirate fan, and certainly pirate historian, has at least one copy of this text on a shelf or table nearby. I always have my copy close at hand and referred to this text frequently while authoring my book…

By Captain Charles Johnson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A General History of the Pirates as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A General History of the Pyrates by Captain Charles Johnson was published in 1724. As the primary source of biographies of some of the most notorious pirates it influenced popular conceptions of the lifestyles. Missing legs or eyes, burying treasure and the name of the pirates flag the Jolly Roger was introduced in this touchstone of pirate lore as it has been incorporated into popular culture. A General History of the Pyrates has influencing literature and movies to this day.


Villains of All Nations

By Marcus Rediker,

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

Katie Crabb Author Of Sailing by Orion's Star

From the 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

Discover why each book is one of Katie's favorite books.

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.


The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics

By Bill Blackbeard (editor), Martin Williams (editor),

Book cover of The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics

Michael Tisserand Author Of Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White

From the list on for reading century-old newspaper funnies.

Who am I?

I was walking across the country in 1986 when I met a journalist named Mike Sager who showed me that writing can also be an adventure. Since then, I’ve edited an alternative weekly newspaper and written books about zydeco, Hurricane Katrina, comics, and old Kodachrome photos. So far, most everything I write seems to be centered in some way around my adopted home state of Louisiana, a place that never seems to run out of stories. Also, I still like to walk.

Michael's book list on for reading century-old newspaper funnies

Discover why each book is one of Michael's favorite books.

Why did Michael love this book?

Bill Blackbeard was the Harry Smith of comics. Just as Smith’s landmark Anthology of American Folk Music helped launch a folk music revival, so did Blackbeard’s massive volume of old newspaper comics spark a new generation of comics fandom and scholarship. This was also the first book of old newspaper funnies I ever read, during a childhood Saturday afternoon in the Willard Library in Evansville, Indiana, when I discovered the magical “741.5” shelf that held books of comics. Other big, beautiful anthologies of old newspaper funnies have been compiled by comics creators like Jerry Robinson and Brian Walker, but Blackbeard is the granddaddy.

By Bill Blackbeard (editor), Martin Williams (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Selected comic treasures from American newspaper pages from 1896 to the 1970s display a range of graphic experimentation and imaginative storytelling


Pirate Queens

By Leigh Lewis, Sara Woolley (illustrator),

Book cover of Pirate Queens

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

From the 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

Discover why each book is one of Laura's favorite books.

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.

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…


On Stranger Tides

By Tim Powers,

Book cover of On Stranger Tides

Set Sytes Author Of India Bones And The Ship Of The Dead

From the list on making you want to be a pirate of the Caribbean.

Who am I?

I’ve always loved pirates and fantasy – combining the two is just wonderful in my eyes, cemented with my first watch of The Curse of the Black Pearl. It’s a struggle to identify exactly why these things appeal so much – I suppose my imagination and sense of free-wheeling roguish adventure runs wild. I’ve loved action-adventure and exploration since growing up watching the Indiana Jones films and playing Tomb Raider. The beloved genre of pirate fantasy seemed absurdly scarce within literature. I couldn’t find the books I wanted to read – so I had to write them, filling them with all the pirate fantasy staples I adored, twisting them, and adding entirely new creations.

Set's book list on making you want to be a pirate of the Caribbean

Discover why each book is one of Set's favorite books.

Why did Set love this book?

I must start, of course, with the quintessential pirate fantasy book.

Many might not be aware that the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film was loosely adapted from this 1987 novel by Tim Powers. Anybody who knows the genre and is asked for a pirate fantasy book most likely brings up this one first. It’s the clearest yet expression of a rarified genre, and something with few imitators.

Expect to be entertained with high-seas piracy, ship battles, jungles, dark voodoo, ghost ships, and zombies as you follow Jack Shandy on the quest for the Fountain of Youth. Blackbeard, played wonderfully by Ian McShane in the film, proves a foreboding antagonist with supernatural designs.

By Tim Powers,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked On Stranger Tides as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Shortlisted for the World Fantasy Award
Shortlisted for the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel

1718: Puppeteer John Chandagnac has set sail for Jamaica to recover his stolen inheritance, when his ship is seized by pirates. Offered the choice to join the crew, or be killed where he stands, he decides that a pirate's life is better than none at all.

Now known as Jack Shandy, this apprentice buccaneer soon learns to handle a mainsail and wield a cutlass - only to discover he is now a subject of a Caribbean pirate empire ruled by one Edward Thatch, better known…


Pirates

By John Matthews,

Book cover of Pirates

Virginia Chandler Author Of The Devil's Treasure: The Complete Tale

From the list on pirates, history, and legend.

Who am I?

I’m not a real pirate, at least not most of the time, but as a kid, I wanted to be one. I was firmly in love with the romantic “Robin Hood” type legends of the pirate kings. As an adult, the love for all things pirate became a fascination with the pirate archetype, pirate history, and pirate legend. But, honestly, for me, it’s the mystery. There are so many mysteries involving pirates: Where did they hide their treasure? Was there a secret pirate kingdom called Libertalia? Were there pirate curses? This prompted me to research and write The Devil’s Treasure, inspired by the need to know, the need to solve, the need to conquer. 

Virginia's book list on pirates, history, and legend

Discover why each book is one of Virginia's favorite books.

Why did Virginia love this book?

This is a beautifully illustrated and well-presented book that covers everything pirate from slang to weapons. It’s a gorgeous book, cover to cover, with detailed pirate history and fun pirate myths. This one is an easier read with beautiful illustrations and memorabilia. This title absolutely belongs on ye olde pirate bookshelf.

By John Matthews,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ever wanted to be a pirate? Sign the contract that comes with this book and you'll be ready to sail the high seas. There's even a pirate slang dictionary, to help you talk the talk as you walk the plank. With detailed biographies of legendary pirates plus features on their weapons, codes of conduct and punishments, Pirates delivers a thrilling portrait of life at sea in a bygone age - a story rich in colour, intrigue and adventure. Documents include a guide to pirate weaponry, a guide to their bloodthirsty flags, wanted posters, and the grisly notice of a death…