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The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked,…
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The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found

by Martin W. Sandler

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I did not realize this book was intended for middle-grade readers from the early reviewer blurb, and so found it somewhat disappointing. If you're an adult looking for a pirate history, try "The Republic of Pirates" by Colin Woodward. But if you're in middle school, or know someone who is, this book is a good overview of piracy, teasing apart fact and fiction, as well as discussing how that history is discovered through marine archeology. The main shortcoming of the book is that women are barely mentioned. The possibly fictitious Maria Hallet is the only historical women discussed, and there's no discussion how piracy impacted women specifically, either as victims when traveling by sea or as family members of men who became pirates. In the later chapters on the discovery and recovery of the Whydah there are a few pictures of women involved in restoration, but none are mentioned by name.
  arcadia123 | Apr 25, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Excellent book on the history and recover of the pirate ship Whydah. The book follows the life of the Whydah from its construction through its intended use as a slave galley, pirate ship, legend, then salvage project. The story smoothly transitions through each of these periods, pulling the reader along with the excitement. Informative sidebars are included in the text, going into greater detail on people and elements of history important to the Whydah, and so so without disrupting the flow of the main story. ( )
  herzogbr | Apr 25, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A captivating and informative account of the pirate ship The Whydah and its colorful history, initially as a slave ship prior to being captured by pirate Sam Bellamy and commandeered for use as the flagship of his fleet, eventually sinking in 1717 off the treacherous coast of Cape Cod and then, finally in recent years, discovered and excavated from its watery grave to the delight of archaeologists, historians and local shipwreck enthusiasts alike.

A great choice for middle schoolers and up, particularly for children with an already solid interest in history, pirates or shipwrecks. The narrative is sprinkled with interesting asides about pirates and pirate life, alternately confirming and disputing pirate legend. Bonus: gorgeous and eye-catching dust jacket design. ( )
  ryner | Apr 24, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Martin W. Sandler’s book, The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found, is a very entertaining read. It tells the history of the Whydah, one of only a handful of pirate ships ever discovered and salvaged.

Commissioned in London in 1715, the Whydah was named after the West African slave-trading kingdom of Ouidah (the ship being a slave ship intended for the Atlantic slave trade). Sadly for its owners, but presumably happily for many potential future slaves, the Whydah was attacked during its maiden voyage by pirates under the command of “Black Sam” Bellamy, who converted the Whydah into his piratical flagship.

Bellamy and his comrades used the Whydah, among other ships, to attack vessels up and down the American coast, amassing am utter fortune in loot. Unfortunately for Bellamy and his crew, a storm (combined with a captured merchant captain’s cunning) led to the sinking of the Whydah and the drowning of most of her crew before they had time to spend any of their ill-gotten gains. A fortune thus sank beneath the waves. The Whydah was not seen again until 1984 when treasure hunters found her and began to retrieve her contents, though millions in gold thought to have been aboard the Whydah when she sank remain undiscovered.

Mr. Sandler tells both the historical and the modern portions of the Whydah's story with verve. And his book is, as I’ve said, an entertaining read. But I found myself wishing he would have presented more details about the golden age of piracy than he did, writing a book that was not quite so slim and quick a read. And I wish he’d have given the details he did give as part of his text, or even as footnotes or appendices, rather than as multi-page sections that oddly interrupted his main story, completely throwing off his main narrative.

Still, the book is fun and informative and I recommend it. ( )
  tnilsson | Apr 19, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A well-researched and lively history of the pirate ship WHYDAH, from its beginnings as a slave ship, to its reign as one of the most feared pirate ships, to its eventual fate as the first pirate shipwreck unearthed. The book also chronicles the life and career of its captain, Sam Bellamy. The author describes in vivid detail the life of a pirate, dispelling many of the romantic myths, but explaining the factors that led poor people facing indentured servitude or horrible conditions in a navy to welcome the chance to be master of their own fates as pirates; the relative democratic structures aboard a pirate ship; and the hard and sometimes violent lives.

The second part of the book deals with the efforts to locate the sunken remnants of the Whydah, based on oral histories of its shipwreck off the Cape Cod coast, and using modern technologies. The book is interspersed with small excerpts of information about topics such as slavery, the mechanics of a pirate attack, etc.

I highly recommend this to anyone with an interest in learning more about the real story behind pirates. ( )
  sylliu | Apr 10, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0763680338, Hardcover)

The exciting true story of the captaincy, wreck, and discovery of the Whydah — the only pirate ship ever found — and the incredible mysteries it revealed.

The 1650s to the 1730s marked the golden age of piracy, when fearsome pirates like Blackbeard ruled the waves, seeking not only treasure but also large and fast ships to carry it. The Whydah was just such a ship, built to ply the Triangular Trade route, which it did until one of the greediest pirates of all, Black Sam Bellamy, commandeered it. Filling the ship to capacity with treasure, Bellamy hoped to retire with his bounty — but in 1717 the ship sank in a storm off Cape Cod. For more than two hundred years, the wreck of the Whydah (and the riches that went down with it) eluded treasure seekers, until the ship was finally found in 1984 by marine archaeologists. The artifacts brought up from the ocean floor are priceless, both in value and in the picture they reveal of life in that much-mythologized era, changing much of what we know about pirates.

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 13 Jan 2017 13:49:58 -0500)

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