Thursday, October 4, 2012
Books: A Handbook for Freebooting
The Interwebs has given me a whole new scope of friendship. I now have dear friends in all corners of the world, from Scott in far away Sydney, Australia to the good Captain and the QM in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, I know that wherever I may roam (intentional Metallica reference!) I will always have someone I care about to share a mug of grog (or a glass of champagne) and catch up with.
That good fortune includes the generous folks at The Pirate Museum in St. Augustine, Florida, U.S.A. When I was laid up after surgery, they sent me a care package that included a signed copy of Pat Croce's The Pirate Handbook. Needless to say I was overwhelmed, touched, and eager to start reading.
I'll just say that I cannot recommend this book enough. Mr. Croce hits all the high points, as would be expected, but he adds so much more information about pirates and a life on the account that it is hard to believe the book is a slim 175 pages. The entries are brief - no long chapters to bog down the fast pace at which you will doubtless be reading. Joining a pirate crew, provisioning and living aboard a ship, what to expect in the way of food and drink while at sea and life by land, just to name a few, are discussed.
Croce also gives tips and insights not generally found in this type of "how to" pirate book. I've never seen an explanation of "How to defend against a dagger" in any of the many, many books I have read. I'm fairly certain you won't either. Croce's narrative style is tight but conversational. There's nothing to get in the way of the enjoyment of learning. This book should be required high school reading, frankly.
I'm probably gushing but honestly, the book is that good. With the holidays in the offing, I highly recommend this wonderful guide as a gift to anyone you know who is interested in the history of piracy. You can order it from the museum; or at Amazon where it is also available for Kindle.
My thanks again to the wonderful folks at The Pirate Museum (follow them here on Twitter). You all made a hard time a little easier, and for that I'll always know you as mates no matter where we meet.