Book Review -‘Pirates: A new history, from Vikings to Somali raiders’ by P. Lehr

By Powell, Nush, published October 2020


Peter Lehr has put together an unusually inclusive account of pirates past and present, a useful volume that acquaints the reader with the basic elements of piracy across the globe and historical eras, from buccaneers to Barbary to Balangingi. We find time to learn of monks (yes, plural) who became pirates, and of the differences between present day Nigerian and Somali operations. Included also are tales of the Chinese pirates who ‘borrowed’ dozens of cruise ships in 1920s, and the fact, little known beyond local contexts, that river piracy persists to this day in spots along the Amazon and in the swamp networks of the Sundarbans. Boasting as well a set of clear, useful maps; a beautiful colour gallery that includes images from Viking raids all the way to Captain Phillips; and even a handy glossary, Lehr’s carefully endnoted tome is a terrific primer on what we might call modern pirate discourse. It is also a bargain for the price…

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Filed under: Pirates
Subjects include: Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

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