Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A serious book review for once




I enjoyed Empire of Blue Water by Stephan Talty more than any non-fiction book I've read in a long time. I love pirates, so it's hard for me not to like a book about Captain Morgan. However, I loved the approach the author takes.

Talty examines how the struggle between England and Spain and Catholic and Protestant plays out among the monarchs. Then he explains how this conflict trickles down to Jamaica, Henry Morgan, and pirates. While the culture of both Spain's imperial bureaucracy and English privateers influence the manner of thinking of individuals within each of those milieux, particular people retain agency. Talty even personifies the average pirate with a character named Rodderick and endows him with agency.

I highly recommend this book; it reads like Treasure Island.

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