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Pirates of Barbary: Corsairs, Conquests and Captivity in the Seventeenth-Century Mediterranean by Adrian Tinniswood (September 06,2011)

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  • Adrian Tinniswood(Author)
  • Riverhead Books (September 06,2011) (1602)
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Review Text

  • By n on January 8, 2018

    Interesting topic but a bit slow to read

  • By D. Ebert on February 4, 2011

    Western education skips or glosses over some chapters in our history. Here is an illuminating view of Mediterranean and Indian Ocean piracy, with it's participation of European players and its lasting effect upon world commerce. Written as interestingly as a novel, this is how history should be written.

  • By Guest on April 19, 2011

    Pirates of BarbaryCorsairs, Conquests, and Captivity in the 17th Century MediterraneanByAdrian TinniswoodMr. Tinniswood's new book on "piracy" is particularly relevant in light of today's problems off of the coast of Somalia. While this may seem to be a "new" problem to many, it certainly is not as his book illustrates so well. The book is a collection of very colorful, dramatic and true stories of yesterday's pirates. They have many similarities to today's pirates; however, today's probably will not gain the panache of yesterday's."Pirates of Barbary" starts in the early 1600's. Those were the days when a small group of men in a small boat with scaling ladders, few weapons and sheer nerve would commandeer a much larger vessel for ransom. These men were part of a sophisticated system of a state sanctioned, state regulated, public-private partnership used to grow the coffers of the pirates and the government. Gosh, that sounds a little familiar, don't you think?What do the names John Nutt, Richard Bishop, Peter Eston and Sir Henry Mainwaring have in common? All were Barbary pirates that were offered pardons by King James I, if they promised to come home to England and behave. Oh yes, they were allowed to keep all the booty. Probably the most famous and successful was Sir Henry Mainwaring who not only was pardoned but was also appointed to Vice-Admiral of the Royal Navy by King James. Actually, it makes sense when you realize what a problem piracy was, and the knowledge Sir Henry possessed of other pirates and piracy, in general. It was such a problem that King James ended up offering a blanket pardon to approximately 3,000 British subjects who had participated in piracy at that time.In 2009, the U.S. Navy established a task force to take care of this problem once and for all. Oh yeh, Thomas Jefferson established a U.S.Navy task force in 1801 to do the same thing (which happened to be the beginning of the U.S. Navy). Both had success, however, have not cured the problem.What Mr. Tinniswood helps make clear is that the solution was and remains onshore. As long as there are governments and pseudo-governments that support and profit from piracy, it's going to be around. The ocean is just too darn big to police (even today). We have to deal with the people and organizations that back these efforts in diplomatic and other ways. There have been major successes in the distant past that have been the result of aggressive onshore efforts that are well documented in this book. Recently FBI agents captured Mohammad Shibi, who negotiated the ransom for the 4 American captives who were recently killed by Somali pirates. The agents had the help of Somalian authorities and, actually did this in Somaliland. Hopefully, this is a step in the right direction to resolve our "piracy problems" of the last 500 years.

  • By David C. Bricker on January 20, 2011

    This book reviews the intriguing history of Barbary pirates who operated off the shore of North Africa in the seventeenth century with extraordinary effectiveness and who later motivated the creation of a new navy for the United States. For those interested in maritime history, it covers an important period of armed conflict on the high seas.

  • By Parthenope on May 9, 2014

    This is a terrific book written beautifully. It is a great read, especially for summer but for the child in all of us. Who is not fascinated by pirates? This writer is great. I look forward to more of his work.

  • By Guest on February 19, 2016

    Great !

  • By SuzyGotro on April 23, 2013

    Adrian's attention to detail and research of facts makes for a great education on the truth of piracy in the past.

  • By Robert Lebling on March 7, 2012

    In the early 17th century, the Ottoman fleet competed for dominance in the Mediterranean with navies of European powers. Petty rulers of Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli and other North African ("Barbary") city-states paid lip service to the Ottoman Sultan but pursued their own power agendas. In this setting, Barbary pirates forged shifting alliances and captured vessels of many nations, seizing treasure and slaves.The British and others tried to put a stop to the piracy, and their efforts make for fascinating reading. This book is refreshingly written with a strong narrative.Among its surprises: many Barbary pirate captains were Europeans - British, Dutchmen and others termed "renegades" by their own countries. Some became Muslims, others did not.Diversity was the hallmark of these entrepreneurs of discord. Pirate crews were mixed: North Africans, Turks and Europeans. Faith was not a controlling factor; yes, they were in it for the money.[A version of this review appeared in Saudi Aramco World,Sep/Oct 2011.]

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