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Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the…
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Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate… (2015)

by Robert Kurson

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This book spoke to the child within me. That child knew of pirates long dead who dropped gold and treasure all over the ocean. All I have to do is go pick it up... In the meantime, I got to follow along with two very interesting men John Matterton and John Mattera as they decide to go pick up some of that treasure.

Robert Kurson has followed treasure hunters before and narrates the hunt well. The book is an encapsulation of those men's search for the pirate Captain Joseph Bannisters ship the Golden Fleece. Kurson provides an increasing number of gripping vignettes that further set the hook of the hunt into you. The best come after critical setbacks as our John's come closer to their prize. Kurson marries the indomitable wills these men had. They are tied together thru history. The vignettes gain in frequency and quality as the book nears the end. It is here that we learn our Johns characters are perhaps as interesting as that of Joseph Bannisters. Here are hard men. Resolute. Risk takers. Therefore they have a shot at becoming history makers.

We all know there is a bunch of gold sitting at the bottom of the sea. Some small parts of it are still stuck among the sand and shore. Various pieces of pirate history waiting for the next adventurer to come along and claim it. Why don't you go pick some of it up? You aren't built like these men, that's why. ( )
  LongTrang117 | Oct 6, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Pirate Hunters is the story of the search for a Golden Age pirate ship captained by Joseph Bannister.

The book combines archaeology, history and pirates and delivers on all three. The book weaves together the narrative of the search for the ship with the personal lives and conflicts of the searchers along with the history of Joseph Bannister and piracy in general.

It is an engaging story and well told although I will note that I agree with another reviewer that the author has unfortunate tendency to repeat himself. By the end of the book you have it thoroughly drilled into your head that identifying pirate ships is rare and finding one is all but unheard of.

If you have a general interest in pirates or undersea archaeology this is quick and enjoyable read. ( )
  Oberon | Apr 19, 2017 |
Treasure, Obsessions, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship

You need to be obsessed by pirates and be a tough and resilient person with deep pockets, willing to invest a lot time and put family life on the back burner to track down sunken galleons.

In “Pirate Hunters” treasure hunter Tracy Bowden leased water rights off Domingo in the Dominican Republic and has hired John Chatterton and his partner John Mattera to find the “Golden Fleece” a ship commandeered by Joseph Bannister, an English sea captain, who went rogue after many years sailing the water between London and Jamaica. The search is more than about finding a ship it’s about finding a man, Joseph Bannister, a shrewd mad captain who stole the 17th century British cargo vessel and overcame unthinkable odds till the day he was captured and hanged.

Mr. Kurson does a fine job dramatizing what motivated the pirate hunters and how they figured out where the Golden Fleece had careened, laying there with all its promises of riches to discover. The hunt for the impossible dream plainly sends Chatterson and Mattera through thousands of documents and hours of research. Through the narrative backstories are revealed, what drove Chatterson and Mattera to be where they are today, their past careers, their marriages and some interesting anecdotes to entertain us and lighten the mood. It takes a while before the book hit a steady pace but once it does everything flows effortlessly with a richness of information about pirates and their evolution to modern day mercenaries. Adding to the fun is the book’s wealth of maps, photos and illustrations. The author has definitely an eye for details.

With the new international laws to come soon treasure hunting may not be so lucrative in the future. This book offers what could be one of the final acts in such an activity.

This is a fantastic story well delivered ( )
  Tigerpaw70 | Oct 8, 2016 |
This was a pretty interesting story. I learned alot about diving & treasure hunting that I didn't know before but I almost just gave it 3 stars because there was a whole lot of redundancy in the writing which is my biggest pet peeve when reading a book. No one wants to hear the same thing told 5 different times, 5 different ways. The book could have been shortened by a good 100 pages or more if Kurson stuck with telling us everything only once. ( )
  EmpressReece | Aug 22, 2016 |
"Treasure shows you who you really are.
It strips away every façade you’ve constructed, every story you believe about yourself, and reveals the real you.
If you are a miserable, lying, greedy, worthless fuck, Treasure will tell you that.
If you are a good and decent person, Treasure will tell you that, too.
And you needn’t find a single coin to know.
It’s enough to get close to Treasure, to believe it within reach, and you’ll have your answer.
But once it happens, it can’t be lied about, and it can’t be bullshitted away. For that reason, Treasure is crisis: because what you get, in the end, is yourself."

This is the story of sunken treasure, the pirate who lost it, and the men who sought it. All three men -the pirate Joseph Bannister, and the divers, John Chatterton & John Mattera - are worthy of biographies of their own. To see them converge over time and distance is a thing of beauty. It's as if Bannister's ghost was waiting for the right men to tell his tale and uncover his secrets. Buried in only 24 feet of water, the Golden Fleece sat for over 300 years, after battling two Royal Navy frigates in an effort for Bannister to evade capture and execution.

This story is riddled with men who couldn't resist the call of the sea, the call of adventure, the call of destiny. Spend some time with them this summer, sharing their triumphs. You'll feel like you're at an island bar, late into the night, drinking too much rum with dangerous strangers. And you'll love every second of it.


( )
  LauraCerone | May 26, 2016 |
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"'Pirate Hunters' is a gripping account of two courageous divers' quest to uncover the shipwrecked vessel of Joseph Bannister, one of history's most infamous pirates"--

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