COLIN WOODARD is the author of American Nations: A History of The Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America, The Lobster Coast: Rebels, Rusticators, and the Struggle for a Forgotten Frontier and Ocean's End: Travels Through Endangered Seas. He is State & National Affairs Writer at the Portland Press Herald, where he won a George Polk Award for his investigative reporting. His writing has appeared in Smithsonian, The Economist, the Washington Post, and many other national and international publications. He lives in midcoast Maine. Visit www.republicofpirates.net.
Woodard (The Lobster Coast) tells a romantic story about Caribbean pirates of the "Golden Age" (1715-1725)-whom he sees not as criminals but as social revolutionaries-and the colonial governors who successfully clamped down on them, in the early 18th-century Bahamas. One group of especially powerful pirates set up a colony in the Bahamas. Known as New Providence, the community attracted not only disaffected sailors but also runaway slaves and yeomen farmers who had trouble getting a toehold in the plantation economy of the American colonies. The British saw piracy as a threat to colonial commerce and government. Woodes Rogers, the governor of the Bahamas and himself a former privateer, determined to bring the pirates to heel. Woodard describes how Rogers, aided by Virginia's acting governor, Alexander Spotswood, finally defeated the notorious Blackbeard. Woodard's portrait of Rogers is a little flat-the man is virtually flawless ("courageous, selfless, and surprisingly patriotic"), and the prose is sometimes breathless ("they would know him by just one word... pirate"). Still, this is a fast-paced narrative that will be especially attractive to lovers of pirate lore and to vacationers who are Bahamas-bound. Maps. (May) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
PRAISE FOR THE REPUBLIC OF PIRATES
Fascinating . . . beyond rip-roaring adventure stories from the distant past, [the book offers] an opportunity to understand pirates as they truly were.--The New York Times Book Review It's a rollicking tale, filled with rich details of the lives of men who, for their own personal gain, challenged the spread of empires.--The Times-Picayune (New Orleans)