Black Flags, Blue Waters by Eric Jay Dolin

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for Black Flags, Blue Waters:

The English are the reason we can’t have nice things like a Pirate Republic.

Quick synopsis:

An overview of piracy in the Americas.

Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like:

Blackbeard was actually one of the least violent popular pirates. He used theatrics (like lighting fuses and sticking them behind his ears) to scare his prey and make them more pliable. He wasn’t an angel, though.

Fun Fact for History Nerds:

Ned Lowe was the opposite of Blackbeard. He was famously depraved including once making a captured captain eat his own lips.

My Take on Black Flags, Blue Waters:

Eric Jay Dolin usually takes on huge subjects and breaks them down into the highpoints. Here he does it with pirates and, as usual, it’s great.

Pirates are a notoriously difficult subject for serious historians because there is so much mythology and not a lot of hard facts. Dolin walks you through the famous stories while putting them into context of their times and dispelling the folklore.

Dolin has a talent for choosing stories which move the narrative forward but are also interesting for anyone who is reading. If you like pirates at all, then you will want to read this.


A great read for anyone even slightly interested in pirates. Buy it here!

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