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The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked,…

The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found (edition 2017)

by Martin W. Sandler (Author)

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Describes what happened when a slave ship packed with plunder was captured by pirates in 1717 then sunk by a brutal storm. Tells the story of the 1984 expedition to locate the wreck and what was uncovered.
Title:The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found
Authors:Martin W. Sandler (Author)
Info:Candlewick (2017), 176 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found by Martin W. Sandler



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I have always enjoyed reading books on shipwrecks, then with this one you add in pirates and it equals a really good book! Martin W. Sandler captures your attention from the very first page and keeps it in his grip until the final page. As I was reading it, I did wonder how he was going to have enough pages dedicated to the actual discovery of the Whydah, when there were only 45 pages left for that part of the story, I was pleasantly surprised that he nailed every interesting tidbit of it.
My one criticism is that I did not like the sidebars inserted in the middle of the chapters, it would have been less distracting and give the reader more to look forward to by placing them at the end or beginning of the chapter. I chose to ignore them when I came across them and go back to them when I finished the chapter, but it did take away from the enjoyment of reading the book.
I have read Kurston's books on shipwreck discoveries and place him high on my list of favorite shipwreck authors, I would place this book hot on his heels. ( )
  LydiaGranda | Feb 15, 2019 |
Readers who like stories of pirates and treasure hunts will be intrigued by this meticulously-researched historical story of pirates, treasure, and the history of many people who were involved in the story.

The story begins with the capture of the slave ship Whydah by pirate Black Sam Bellamy. After many adventures, and heavily burdened with loot, the Whydah returned to the dangerous Cape Cod coast where it was wrecked. The survivors were tried as pirates; some were executed, a few were pardoned. The story was over. Or was it? A long tradition of looting wrecks added to the many stories surrounding the Whydah and Bellamy and over the years many attempts were made to find the hidden treasure. Finally, in the 1980s, more than 200 years after the wreck, marine archaeologists discovered the wreck and a bounty of historical information, as well as some of the original treasure.

Besides the basic history, there's a lot of information packed into this book. Explanations of the culture and behavior of pirates in the 1700s, discussions of the slave trade and the various occupations and possible stories of the pirate crew, technological advances in archaeology, the controversies around treasure-hunting, all this and more are included in the story. Copious back matter adds to the story as well as original documents, photographs, and maps.

Verdict: The fast-paced, narrative sections of this history will draw in even reluctant readers who will find much to interest them in the wide range of history, technology, and social information included in this book. Recommended.

ISBN: 9780763680336; Published 2017 by Candlewick; Purchased for the library
  JeanLittleLibrary | May 11, 2018 |
A pirate's life story is definitely for me. Betrayal, culture, moral ambiguity, nautical terms, and salvage work all leave you with an understanding of history and the recovery of history. Martin Sandler's "The Whydah," is a must read.
Martin Sandler is now an author I intend to keep a lookout for because his style is the style that I think I would emulate if were writing children's stories about history. Regardless of the interesting content, this specialized narrative non-fiction story about piracy, shipwrecks, and recovering downed ships interweaves, characters, set details, tone, and introspective discussions of the complex nature of pirates in the 18th century world. It's tone is sympathetic and immersive while not simply being swept up in the romance and mythology of piracy and forgetting that these were cruel, inhuman people no matter their circumstances. The book acknowledges its characters faults and while still engrossing you enough in their story that you are instantly swept up in all of it yourself. This is a spectacular trick given that Sandler technically includes two narratives in one book: the fate of the Whydah and the modern man whose dream it was to recover it from Cape Cod's watery grave.
Much of the book's really interesting material is in the asides. Since the book's structure is both thematic and narrative-driven, in almost every chapter Sandler includes discussions of important details of various characters, the settings, and the workings of things like salvage, sailing in the 18th century, and making maps. There are a lot of them, but they do not interrupt the flow of the story and are basically intriguing additives to help you better enjoy an already well-crafted narrative.
As stated above, Martin Sandler is as accomplished a researcher as he is a writer. His sources section is detailed, easy to follow, and widespread in what sources he uses. He goes beyond this and provides footnotes for significant quotes, assertions, or data he collected so that if an audience wants to know where some of the book's more colorful moments originated, they can look it up for themselves. The man has apparently written dozens of books and if they are all of this apparent quality then I can see why.
The Acknowledgements section of this book was really useful. In the first line, Martin Sandler praises Rachel Smith for her artistic design and aesthetic choices for the book's design. Both of these things are very distinctive and represent the book's identity and are big reasons why I enjoyed this book so much. So, I appreciate that the acknowledgements section showed me who was responsible for some of the best choices in the book's construction. ( )
  Bpbirdwh | Apr 23, 2018 |
The story of the Whydah is an interesting way of seeing how popular myth and documented truth intersect, giving readers a clear, well-sourced, authoritative picture of piracy through the lens of one of its most infamous ships. The book is broken into three distinct narratives: the Whydah's life as a slave vessel, the voyages of pirate Bill Bellamy, and finally the pains a modern explorer went to in order to discover its wreckage. Along the way, readers are treated to sidebars about piracy, its rules and culture, and the characters who are its backbone. The book is marvelously researched and readers will find a whole lot of information they never knew existed about a group of individuals usually cloaked in lore and modern pop culture myth. ( )
  Jmason21 | Apr 2, 2018 |
SLJ targets it to 6th grade, Kirkus 10 and up. It is very text heavy but would be interesting to kids who like history and adventure. ( )
  paula-childrenslib | Jan 26, 2018 |
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Describes what happened when a slave ship packed with plunder was captured by pirates in 1717 then sunk by a brutal storm. Tells the story of the 1984 expedition to locate the wreck and what was uncovered.

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