The Republic of Pirates features the 18th-century pirates Edward Blackbeard” Teach and Black Sam” Bellamy, both of whom rose from England's underclass to become wealthy, notorious, and enormously powerful. Along with their associates in the Bahamas-based "Flying Gang," Teach and Bellamy banded together to form a pirate cooperative, culminating in a form of government in which blacks were equal citizens, the rich were imprisoned, and a sailor could veto his captain by egalitarian means. For a brief, glorious period they were astoundingly successful, and so disruptive to shipping that the governors of Jamaica, Virginia, Bermuda, and the Carolinas all began clamoring for intervention. One man volunteered to take on the piratesa man named Woodes Rogers, once a privateer himself and now the owner of a merchant fleet. Rogers vowed he would not rest until he had destroyed Teach and Bellamy. Here is the true story of the rise and fall of the Republic of Pirates.
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