Born to be Hanged

Born to Be Hanged by Keith Thomson

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for Born to Be Hanged:

The title is already really good.

Quick synopsis:

The story of one of the most audacious pirate raids ever on the Pacific Coast of the Americas in 1680.

Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like:

The pirates immensely enjoyed a sour beer with their native hosts at one point. They did not know it was made from the spittle of old women in the village.

Fun Fact for History Nerds:

Here is a list of the nicknames for special women in Port Royal: Unconscionable Sam, Salt-Beef Peg, and my favorite, Buttock-de-Clink Jenny.

My Take on Born to Be Hanged:

I very often watch TV shows and groan when a big twist happens. Usually, a main character is in a seemingly impossible situation but somehow survives. It feels cheap and contrived. What does this have to do with Keith Thomson’s Born to Be Hanged? Well, his book is full of these types of situations and somehow the pirates don’t all die immediately.

Thomson follows the true story of a band of pirates who cross Panama on foot with the intention of freeing a native princess and maybe doing some plundering. This trip becomes a two-year odyssey of the most inexplicable decision-making I have ever read.

While the story alone is amazing, the book is further elevated by Thomson. He realizes just how absurd his characters are and he leans into it. I laughed out loud quite often from Thomson’s humorous asides. This is a highly readable adventure which anyone can enjoy.


If you like pirates or adventure, then this is a must read. Buy it here!

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