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If a Pirate I Must Be...: The True Story of…

If a Pirate I Must Be...: The True Story of Bartholomew Roberts - King of… (2007)

by Richard Sanders

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This was a very good, interesting, useful book. I took it on my Caribbean cruise to read, and it was an easy read, and even helped me with my own pirate novel! It is a little dry in places, but I gave it 5 starts to try to pull the average up because it deserves more than 4. ( )
  ozgurksahin | Mar 27, 2014 |
An informative read, giving a lot of details about both Bartholomew Roberts and piracy in general during the 'Golden Age of Piracy'. ( )
  BruceCoulson | Mar 11, 2014 |
Wonderfully written. ( )
  sweetzombieducky | Feb 14, 2014 |
A true history of pirating around the coast of Africa, the Caribbean, and French territories. The book focusses on Bartholomew Roberts, Black Bart, and the life of the pirate. Also, included is a look at slaving at the beginning of the 1700. The story mostly takes place as Roberts and his pirates plague the shipping lanes and coasts. The story dispells a lot of rumors surrounding pirates at this time. A good, solid read.... ( )
  creighley | Jun 15, 2011 |
My spree of pirate books leads me to If a Pirate I Must Be, a biography of Bartholomew Roberts, AKA Black Bart, who was, according to the author, the most successful pirate during the Golden Age, who captured about 140 prizes in his two and a half years of operation before his death in battle, or about one per week. It's worth noting that the career of the most successful pirate lasted just two and a half years.

The book is a straightforward telling of Roberts' years as a pirate, with occaisional humourous asides:

"...Anstis proved rather less adept at containing the tensions within a large, successful pirate crew than Roberts and he was soon deposed by a one-handed pirate called John Fenn (sadly, it's not recorded whether Fenn wore a hook)."

There is also a handy appendix, with tables listing the names and ages of much of Roberts's crew, and a large list showing the details of the prizes Roberts had won. Maybe this is interesting only to me, but I love detail stuff like this.

A good, fun book, focusing on one of the more interesting characters at the very end of an interesting age. ( )
1 vote EdKupfer | Aug 13, 2009 |
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In an honest service there is thin commons, low wages, and hard labour; in this, plenty and satiety, pleasure and ease, liberty and power. No, a merry life and a short one shall be my motto. - Bartholomew Roberts
For Louis and Charlie, my own pirates
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The morning of 6 June 1719 found Bartholomew Roberts still an honest sailor - a slaver rather than a pirate.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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He drank tea instead of rum. He banned women and gambling on his ships. He never made his prisoners walk the plank, instead inviting them into his cabin for a friendly chat. And during the course of his extraordinary two-and-a-half-year career as a pirate captain, he captured four hundred prizes and brought trade in the eastern Caribbean to a standstill. In If a Pirate I Must Be..., Richard Sanders tells the larger-than-life story of Bartholomew Roberts, aka Black Bart. Born in a rural town, Roberts rose from third mate on a slave ship to pirate captain in a matter of months. Before long, his combination of audaciousness and cunning won him fame and fortune from the fisheries of Newfoundland to the slave ports of West Africa. Sanders brings to life a fascinating world of theater and ritual, where men (a third of whom were black) lived a close-knit, egalitarian life, democratically electing their officers and sharing their spoils. They were highly (if surreptitiously) popular with many merchants, with whom they struck incredibly lucrative deals. Yet with a fierce team of Royal Navy pirate hunters tracking his every move, Roberts' heyday would prove a brief one, and with his capture, the Golden Age of pirates would pass into the lore and legend of books and movies. Based on historical records, journals and letters from pirates under Roberts' command, and on writings by Roberts himself, If a Pirate I Must Be... is the true story of the greatest pirate ever to sail the Caribbean.… (more)

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