Pirates: now the “in “crowd

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Pirates
by Gail Selinger and W. Thomas Smith, Jr.
Alpha Publishing, 381 pages, $25.00

(Canscene) — Move over Long John Silver, Captain Hook and Captain Blood — here’s Jack Sparrow, newest in the fictional Pirates’ Hall of Fame!

As if to commemorate Johnny Depp’s second summer blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean — The Dead Man’s Chest, here comes this guide to the history and practice of piracy with a mere nod to the creations of the Stevensons, Barries and Sabatinis but loads of encyclopedic gen about the real thing.

From the days of the ancient Greeks to the present, piracy on the high seas continues to fascinate us in spite of the total criminality of the subject rogues.

Two seasoned authors and journalists have given us the ideal summer companon to dip into as we sit by placid lakes, a cooling rum drink in hand and, perhaps, imagining the waters suddenly riven by the oars of a longboat setting out from a four master that has appeared miraculously from the depths.

The female of the species, too
We wake with a start and it’s back to reading about such malefactors as Queen Teuta of the Illyrians who was a thorn in he flesh of both Greece and Rome and who actually sailed with her pirate ships.

Feminists will absorbed with stories of pirates like Mary Read, Anne Bonney and Lai Choi San who is thought to have become the inspiration for Milt Caniff’s Dragon Lady in his long-remembered comic series Terry and the Pirates.

The book is chock full of information on the ships the pirates sailed in, instruments of punishment like the cat o’ nine tails, the food they ate and of course that bottle of rum which went down with a yo-ho-ho at the drop of a pirate’s tricorn. — Captain Morgan, possibly, after the buccaneer who achieved distinction by serving the King of England so well he became Sir Harry Mogan.

It’s likely that even after reading this book from cover to cover and discovering some unpleasant facts, you’ll still be grabbed by the excitement and romance of piracy.

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