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Pirate Women: The Princesses, Prostitutes,…
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Pirate Women: The Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers Who Ruled the… (original 2017; edition 2019)

by Laura Sook Duncombe (Author)

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1355158,234 (3.33)4
In the first-ever Seven Seas history of the world's female buccaneers, Pirate Women: The Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers Who Ruled the Seven Seas tells the story of women, both real and legendary, who through the ages sailed alongside--and sometimes in command of--their male counterparts. These women came from all walks of life but had one thing in common: a desire for freedom. History has largely ignored these female swashbucklers, until now. Here are their stories, from ancient Norse princess Alfhild and warrior Rusla to Sayyida al-Hurra of the Barbary corsairs; from Grace O'Malley, who terrorized shipping operations around the British Isles during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I; to Cheng I Sao, who commanded a fleet of four hundred ships off China in the early nineteenth century. Author Laura Sook Duncombe also looks beyond the stories to the storytellers and mythmakers. What biases and agendas motivated them? What did they leave out? Pirate Women explores why and how these stories are told and passed down, and how history changes depending on who is recording it. It's the most comprehensive overview of women pirates in one volume and chock-full of swashbuckling adventures that pull these unique women from the shadows into the spotlight that they deserve.… (more)
Member:SmithLibrarian
Title:Pirate Women: The Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers Who Ruled the Seven Seas
Authors:Laura Sook Duncombe (Author)
Info:Chicago Review Press (2019), Edition: Reprint, 264 pages
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Pirate Women: The Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers Who Ruled the Seven Seas by Laura Sook Duncombe (2017)

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An engaging glimpse at the frustrations of untold histories and the lengths we must go to fill in the gaps. This is a postmodern history, so don't expect a stereotypical tome. The chapter on Sister Ping was the most provocative. Seriously, more pirate movies featuring women! ( )
  DrFuriosa | Dec 4, 2020 |
This is a nonfiction look at female pirates throughout history. I loved learning about the incredibly strong women who overcame everything from being sold in marriage to rape and became sea-faring warriors instead. Grace O'Malley was one of my favorites and I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when she met Queen Elizabeth in person. The Chinese pirate, Ching Shih, was another amazing one and is considered the most successful pirate in history. The author gets side tracked at times, discussing film summaries and the slant that male historians have given to these women's stories. She also focuses on a few fictional pirates, which I could have skipped. ( )
  bookworm12 | Apr 18, 2019 |
This non-fiction title recounts the stories of female pirates both real and fictional from the ancient Mediterranean to the twentieth century. I finished the book with really mixed feelings about it and thus this review is more of a pros and cons list.

Pros:
-Duncombe takes an intersectional feminist approach to this history, which is lovely to see.
-The women highlighted here are fascinating and worthy of broader awareness.
-Awesome lady pirates!

Cons:
-Duncombe states herself she's not an historian and it shows in spots.
-Some passages which are labelled as context turn out to be extensive digressions.
-Duncombe treats both real and fictional/folklore lady pirates identically, making it difficult to differentiate between them without flipping back.
-The final chapter on women pirates in cinema is pretty weak, focused exclusively on Hollywood film (although she drops tantalizing hints about Italian female-led pirate films in the 1950s), and ends up being a rant about the lack of female-led films, which is a rant I understand but not what I came for to a book about women pirates. Not the best final note for the book.

Ultimate verdict, worth picking up but you may want to skim bits and I'd skip the final chapter altogether. ( )
  MickyFine | Jan 3, 2019 |
This book is an excellent idea. It collects stories of female pirates, mostly real ones but a couple of legendary ones as well, and discusses not only what we know about these women but also how their stories were told. It is true that history tends to be written by the victors, and female pirates are probably not well served by some of the men who have told their stories: the narrators would have their own biases and agendas that would frame the stories they are telling.

This is a short book — it deserves to be much longer, but unfortunately there aren’t many facts about some of these pirates. Despite the shortness of this book, it manages to feel padded in places. The last chapter in particular, discussing cinematic portrayals of pirates, felt unnecessary to me, and a couple other chapters had some digressions that I ended up skimming.

It’s an okay book. I can’t go out throwing ticker tape parade parties for it, but I wouldn’t actively discourage anyone from reading it either. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Aug 17, 2017 |
Pirate Women: The Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers Who Ruled the Seven Seas by Laura Sook Duncombe is the first-ever collection of stories about women pirates, real and legendary.

"[T]o be a pirate is to assert that whatever you fancy belongs to you." This was written to describe sixteenth‑century pirate Grace O’Malley.
While it is difficult to define exactly what would constitute a pirate, Duncombe takes a broadly defined look at the definition beyond the golden age of piracy. All pirates had the desire for freedom to live as they chose as a common denominator, but female pirates are often absent in historical accounts. "Pirates live outside the laws of man, but women pirates live outside the laws of nature. Women pirates are left out because they don’t fit nicely into the categories of 'normal' women or traditional women's virtues." Since traditional historians are men, accurate historical information about women pirates is lacking. "As long as men control the narrative, women pirates will be mostly left out. Even if male historians today were inclined to write about pirate women, they would have a difficult time doing so because of the dearth of primary sources about them. Since women have been considered unworthy subjects of historical documentation in the past, it is now difficult to study them - a vicious cycle that persists in keeping women 'off the record.'"

The women pirates Duncombe covers include, in part: Queen Artemisia I of Halicarnassus; Queen Teuta of Illyria, or "the Terror of the Adriatic"; Christina Anna Skytte; Elise Eskilsdotter; Ingela Gathenhielm; Johanna Hård; longship captains Wisna, Webiorg, and Hetha; Princess Alfhild, also called Awilda; Jeanne de Montfort, aka Joanna of Flanders; Jeanne de Clisson, aka the Lioness of Brittany; Sayyida al‑Hurra; Lady Elizabeth and Lady Mary Killigrew; Gráinne (Grace) Ní Mháille, the pirate queen of Ireland; Anne de Graaf; Jacquotte Delahaye; Anne Dieu‑le‑veut; Anne Bonny; Mary Read; Maria Cobham; Martha (Mary) Farley (or Harvey); Maria Crichett (or Mary Crickett/Crichett); Flora Burn; Rachel Wall; Charlotte Badger; Catherine Hagerty; Margaret Croke; Cheng I Sao (with four hundred ships and somewhere between forty thousand and sixty thousand pirates under her command); Sadie Farrell, aka Sadie the Goat; Gallus Mag: Lai Choi San; Hon‑ cho (or Honcho Lo); and Cheng Chui Ping, aka Sister. There is also a discussion of women pirates in the movies.

This is a well-researched, thoughtful, scholarly account of the women in history, real or fictional, that have made a mark as a pirate. Pirate Women includes a list of general resources, specific sources used for each chapter, and an index for those who would like more information on the historical records.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of the Chicago Review Press.
http://www.shetreadssoftly.com/2017/03/pirate-women.html
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1951457127 ( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Mar 24, 2017 |
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In the first-ever Seven Seas history of the world's female buccaneers, Pirate Women: The Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers Who Ruled the Seven Seas tells the story of women, both real and legendary, who through the ages sailed alongside--and sometimes in command of--their male counterparts. These women came from all walks of life but had one thing in common: a desire for freedom. History has largely ignored these female swashbucklers, until now. Here are their stories, from ancient Norse princess Alfhild and warrior Rusla to Sayyida al-Hurra of the Barbary corsairs; from Grace O'Malley, who terrorized shipping operations around the British Isles during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I; to Cheng I Sao, who commanded a fleet of four hundred ships off China in the early nineteenth century. Author Laura Sook Duncombe also looks beyond the stories to the storytellers and mythmakers. What biases and agendas motivated them? What did they leave out? Pirate Women explores why and how these stories are told and passed down, and how history changes depending on who is recording it. It's the most comprehensive overview of women pirates in one volume and chock-full of swashbuckling adventures that pull these unique women from the shadows into the spotlight that they deserve.

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