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Pirate Women

Pirate Women

The Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers Who Ruled the Seven Seas

Book - 2017
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"In the first-ever Seven Seas history of the world's female buccaneers, Pirate Women: The Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers Who Ruled the Seven Seas tells the story of women, both real and legendary, who through the ages sailed alongside -- and sometimes in command of -- their male counterparts. These women came from all walks of life but had one thing in common: a desire for freedom. History has largely ignored these female swashbucklers, until now. Here are their stories, from ancient Norse princess Alfhild and warrior Rusla to Sayyida al-Hurra of the Barbary corsairs; from Grace O'Malley, who terrorized shipping operations around the British Isles during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I; to Cheng I Sao, who commanded a fleet of four hundred ships off China in the early nineteenth century. Author Laura Sook Duncombe also looks beyond the stories to the storytellers and mythmakers. What biases and agendas motivated them? What did they leave out? Pirate Women explores why and how these stories are told and passed down, and how history changes depending on who is recording it. It's the most comprehensive overview of women pirates in one volume and chock-full of swashbuckling adventures that pull these unique women from the shadows into the spotlight that they deserve."
Publisher: Chicago, Illinois : Chicago Review Press, Incorporated, [2017]
ISBN: 9781613736012
Branch Call Number: 910.45 DUNCOMB
Characteristics: 250 pages : illustrations, colored ; 27 cm


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Feb 13, 2021

This is an fascinating book filled with great information on the women who were or at the very least contributed to piracy throughout history. The vast majority of works about piracy never mention but a few women, when it seems rather obvious (at least to me) that there must have been a significant number of them. Unfortunately due to the patriarchy most women have been pushed to the side and therefore written out of history. Even more unfortunately is that this is a common occurrence in virtually all aspects of historical writing, unless of course the author is 1) a woman, or 2) cares about representing history truthfully.

I 'met' for the first time in this book many women pirates whom I'd never heard of before. Most people have I'm sure heard of Anne Bonny, and Mary Reed. But the adventures of women pirates started many centuries before these two ladies came on the scene.

Other notable women pirates included in this volume come from many ages throughout history. Some were forced into piracy due to their circumstances, other chose the life for themselves. Some of the women pirates are fictional, but others were real. Some only aided the pirates in their lifestyle while others were actually crew members. The majority of the ones who were actual crew members dressed as men, in some circumstances this was for disguise, while in a number of cases I'm relatively sure it was for practicality.

This was a very well researched and informative book. As for as I can tell Ms. Duncombe hasn't written any others to date but I would watch out for anything she produces in the future.

Highly recommended.

VaughanPLKelly Jun 10, 2018

This book explores the tales, myths, and (admittedly) few verifiable facts about women who became pirates. Part of the problem is how there is limited information regarding women in historical documents to begin with, and the author rightly points out that portrayals of these women, both real and imaginary, contain some bias depending on who was telling their stories. The author ends by bringing up the question of the portrayal of women in film, which is a topic that's still an issue today and not just limited to tales about pirate women. There are many questions raised in this book that could lead the reader into questioning their own understanding and misconceptions about this topic.

Jul 17, 2017

Aside from the tiny print, the author keeps asking questions. I found this to be irritating. I mean, if YOU don't know the answer, and you're the author, why ask me? It seems like some kind of hodgepodge college thesis with a lot of gaps. Gather up a mass of information from everywhere, including folk songs, hearsay, suppositions, put it all together, and....voila!


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