Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Thousand Years of Pirates by William Gilkerson

For as long as they’ve existed, pirates have conjured up visions of high-seas adventure and skullduggery, sea chases and bloody battles, dangerous coastal lairs and buried treasure. Rightly so, for ever since ships have carried valuable cargo, pirates have enraged monarchs and struck terror into the hearts of honest seamen with their willingness to risk life and limb for an undeserved share of the riches. Whether the cargo was gold or silver, spices or silks, animal or human, there have always been villains ruthless enough to kill or be hanged for it.

From the days of the Vikings to the present and in all the oceans of the world, pirates have made their presence known and feared. Recorded here are their stories along with striking images of ships, storms at sea, and secret harbors where “black ships” could be re-stocked and refitted.

Award-winning author and artist William Gilkerson has spent years researching and painting their colorful history. From the terrible Black Beard to the fascinating Granuaile, or Grace O’Malley as the English called her, they have come to life under his brush. One can almost hear the creak of timbers, the snap of canvas while turning the pages. This gift book is a rich treasure in its own right.

I love books about pirates. I don't know why. Maybe it's the adventure? The mystery and fiction that surrounds these figures in history? Or maybe I just like history. "Pirates" or rather privateers and buccaneers have been continually fictionalized by Hollywood movies, books, and other works of fiction for at least a century. Ever since their role in the Revolutionary War, pirates on a big scale have almost vanished. True, there will always be "pirates", people who steal, but the buccaneers were special, they were different. Gilkerson's book was very fascinating for me because not only did it bring new light these courageous beings, but explained a lot about who the buccaneers really were like. Forget Captain Jack Sparrow and his eye for gold, the buccaneers stole and plundered for an entirely different reason while the privateers were paid to attack. If "pirates" in general were just common thieves and thugs, who were these noble Privateers and rebel Buccaneers? Why did history cover them up as criminals? What were they really like?
I really enjoyed all of Gilkerson's paintings and drawings throughout the book and I can't wait to read his award-winning YA novel, Pirate's Passage. 

|Pages: 94|Year Published: Nov. 2009|Publisher: Tundra|
|Genre: Nonfiction, pirates|Age Group: Ages 10+|


1 comment:

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

This one sounds interesting- reading the other side of pirates, rather than the Hollywood version. Thanks for your review!

Related Posts with Thumbnails