Beacon Press: Villains of All Nations
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Villains of All Nations

Atlantic Pirates in the Golden Age

Author: Marcus Rediker

Villains of All Nations explores the Golden Age of Atlantic piracy and the infamous generation whose images underlie our modern, romanticized view of pirates. The high-seas drama of 1716-1726 featured the dreaded black flag, the Jolly Roger; swashbuckling figures such as Blackbeard; and the unnamed pegleg pirate who was likely Robert Louis Stevenson’s model for Long John Silver in Treasure Island.

Rediker shows how sailors emerged from deadly working conditions on merchant and naval ships, turned pirate, and created a starkly different reality aboard their own vessels. At their best, pirates constructed an egalitarian society starkly at odds with the social hierarchy of their time. They elected officers, divided their booty equitably, and maintained a multinational social order. Villains of All Nations is an unprecedented social and cultural history of life on the high seas; it delves into the myths and realities of pirate life that captured the popular imagination in their day and continue to do so in ours.
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Review by: Robin Kelley, Author of Freedom Dreams - October 20, 2004
"Marcus Rediker knows pirates, and he knows how to tell a story. Villains of All Nations is a must read; don't wait for the movie!"
Review by: Ira Berlin, Distinguished University Professor, Univ of Maryland - October 20, 2004
"[Pirates] created life under the flag of death, liberty in a world of despotism, and equality where hierarchy dwelled. They also made an already savage world more barbarous. Understanding these conundrums requires placing the Jolly Roger in the context of history while respecting its place in the popular imagination. Marcus Rediker accomplishes both tasks with intelligence, insight, and balance, attentive both of the lives pirates would live and of the lives they did live."
Review: Publishers Weekly - October 20, 2004
"Immensely readable . . . [Villains of All Nations] provides penetrating background to our enduring cultural fascination with the seafaring outlaws."
Review by: Frank McLynn, New Statesman - October 20, 2004
"Rediker's pleasingly taut and lucid book is a minor classic in what is now becoming the fascinating sub-genre of 'piracy studies.'"
  • Listen to Marcus Rediker's appearance on NPR discussing the history of piracy
  • Read about Lynda La Plante's plans to develop the title as a television drama series for Lionsgate

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Villains of All Nations

ISBN: 978-080705025-5
Publication Date: 4/15/2005
Pages: 248
Size: x Inches (US)
Price:  $20.00
Format: Paperback
Availability: In stock.