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Outlaws of the Atlantic: Sailors, Pirates,…

Outlaws of the Atlantic: Sailors, Pirates, and Motley Crews in the Age of…

by Marcus Rediker

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Columbus didn’t sail to the Americas on his own, he had a crew. Rediker writes about the men below decks, be they pirate, slave, or ordinary sailor. The book was compiled from several essays and occasionally reads like separate essays rather than a single book, but this is a minor quibble and really takes nothing away from the book. ( )
  sgtbigg | Apr 27, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received this book through early reviewers in exchange for an honest review

An intriguing series of essays pulled together to tell the story of the age of tall ships, mainly from the point of view of the lower echelons of the seafaring class. Tales of forced labor aboard ships, pirates, scoundrels and slave traders, with the occasional voice from the landed gentry . This is a highly entertaining and educational read for those who are interested in the era when the seas were a playground for the world's most lawless seafarers. This is one of my favorite Nonfiction books of 2015.

read more @ The Thugbrarian Review @ http://wp.me/p4pAFB-wL ( )
  Archivist13 | Dec 27, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
As other reviewers note, this is a collection of essays from a span of years and it feels like that; it never forms into a cohesive whole. The first 2 chapters didn't really interest me, but the rest more than make up for those and for the book's disconnected feeling. In some chapters, Rediker offers a fascinating, Marxist-inflected reading of piracy that's surprising and persuasive. In his last, he puts the rebellion on The Amistad in a historical and cultural context that made me see the events in a new way. Highly recommended. ( )
  susanbooks | Jul 2, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is a series of brief histories discussing the underworld of seafaring during the age of sail. Rediker takes the lowest common denominator, the sailor, the pirate, the slave and tells history from their experience. The general lawlessness on the sea, even from the great maritime powers, created untoldf misery and long term consequences for those who had to live it. A worthwhile read for the armchair sailor or pirate. ( )
  varielle | Jul 2, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received this book as part of LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer group. It is a well-written scholarly review of the lowlifes, commoners, and criminals at the heart of seafaring culture during the age of tall ships.
The first two chapters describe the average ‘Jack Tar’ as repositories of worldly knowledge for their fellow citizens, and the class-based system that the British Empire was dependent upon to supply nearly endless tars.
The next chapter builds on that ‘nearly’, and describes a nobleman’s descent into involuntary servitude in the Caribbean after acting as a doctor during a failed revolution against the English crown.
The fourth chapter is a complete mini-history of the age of pirates in the Atlantic in the early 18th Century.
The next chapter was my favorite, describing the motley crews of revolutionary American water fronts, and how the resistance to British press gangs underscored the discontent at the heart of the American Revolution.
The final two chapters cover slave ships and are haunting. The elucidate several methods of resistance undertaken by the poor souls being transported to the New World. They would refuse to eat, and suffer terrible consequences as the slavers tried to force the issue. They would plan for weeks at the chance of jumping overboard mid-ocean. Finally, on several occasions they successfully rose up and took control of the ship. These cases were often dependent upon children, who were free to roam about the ship during the day, and could smuggle tools and arms below decks.
One of the frozen images from this book in my mind is the steam that would billow up from below decks when the slave ships sailed in cold waters or weather.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the history of sailing ships, seafaring life, or slavery. ( )
  kcshankd | Jun 18, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 080703309X, Hardcover)

This maritime history "from below" exposes the history-making power of common sailors, slaves, pirates, and other outlaws at sea in the era of the tall ship.
Marcus Rediker, preeminent scholar of maritime history, is poised to break new ground with his latest book. In Outlaws of the Atlantic, Rediker turns maritime history upside down, exploring the dramatic world of maritime adventure, not from the perspective of admirals, merchants, and nation-states but from the point of view of commoners—sailors, slaves, indentured servants, pirates, and other outlaws—whose seafaring experiences are brought together for the first time. Rediker shows that oceanic history is crucial to understanding historical processes like the rise of capitalism and the formation of race and class.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:05 -0400)

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