The Golden Age of Piracy
The Rise, Fall, and Enduring Popularity of Pirates

Edited by David Head

Twelve experts examine the exploits of the real pirates of the Caribbean


"From historical accounts to today’s pop culture, this volume paints a broad picture of piracy during its ‘Golden Age.’ It is a fascinating study of how pirates were viewed by their contemporaries and their impact on politics and economies through time. The Golden Age of Piracy is a provocative, scholarly, and entertaining book on a topic we only think we know about."
—Charles R. Ewen, coeditor of Pieces of Eight: More Archaeology of Piracy

"Just when you thought the Age of Depp was waning, along comes The Golden Age of Piracy. This superb collection harnesses the best and most innovative scholarship on Atlantic piracy, ranging from the real and material to the pirate's troubled public image. Historians, literary scholars, and economists all weigh in on why piracy took off in American waters after the English seizure of Jamaica and why it was largely suppressed within a few generations. . . . There is something here for everyone, more than enough to inspire a new cinematic franchise."
—Kris Lane, author of Pillaging the Empire: Global Piracy on the High Seas, 1500–1750


Shrouded by myth and hidden by Hollywood, the real pirates of the Caribbean come to life in this collection of essays edited by David Head. Twelve scholars of piracy show why pirates thrived in the New World seas of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century empires, how pirates operated their plundering ventures, how governments battled piracy, and when and why piracy declined. The essays presented take the study of piracy, which can easily lapse into rousing, romanticized stories, to new heights of rigor and insight.

The Golden Age of Piracy also delves into the enduring status of pirates as pop culture icons. Audiences have devoured stories about cutthroats such as Blackbeard and Henry Morgan from the time that pirates sailed the sea. By looking at the ideas of gender and sexuality surrounding pirate stories, the fad for hunting pirate treasure, and the construction of pirate myths, the book’s contributors tell a new story about the dangerous men, and a few dangerous women, who terrorized the high seas.

Contributors: Douglas R. Burgess, Guy Chet, John A. Coakley, Carolyn Eastman, Adam Jortner, Peter T. Leeson, Margarette Lincoln, Virginia W. Lunsford, Kevin P. McDonald, Carla Gardina Pestana, Matthew Taylor Raffety, and David Wilson

Page count: 304 pp.
7 b&w images
Trim size: 6 x 9


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David Head is a lecturer of history at the University of Central Florida and the author of Privateers of the Americas: Spanish American Privateering from the United States in the Early Republic (Georgia).