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Real Pirates


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About the Author

Barry Clifford is one of the world's best-known underwater explorers. Born and raised on Cape Cod, he has been involved in underwater surveys and recovery missions for more than half of his life. After locating the wreck of the legendary Whydah in 1984, Clifford and his team successfully located the main body of the shipwreck in 1998. He has preserved the Whydah artifacts as an intact collection, establishing a museum, the Expedition Whydah Sea Lab & Learning Center, in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Clifford is also an accomplished mountaineer and jungle explorer, a member of the Explorers Club, and a Discovery Quest Scholar. He is the author of Expedition Whydah, The Lost Fleet, and Return to Treasure Island.


Adult/High School-The Whydah had a short life. Built in 1715, she made a single voyage to Africa, where her hold was loaded with a cargo of slaves, and she sailed to the Caribbean. She was captured there and became the flagship of "Black Sam" Bellamy, one of the most successful pirate captains of the time. Two months later, the treasure-laden Whydah sank off Cape Cod during a violent storm. The wreckage was discovered in 1984, and the artifacts brought to the surface and restored are now the basis of a touring exhibit, to which this book is a companion. The first and last chapters succinctly discuss the slave trade and the recovery efforts respectively, but the majority of the volume is devoted to describing the life and culture of 18th-century pirates. Common myths are debunked: pirates did not bury their loot, and there is only one recorded instance of anyone "walking the plank." The authors' main argument, however, is that the pirate subculture was both multiethnic and democratic, and thus was an attractive alternative to a life of hard manual labor or slavery. Amply illustrated with black-and-white and color drawings, photographs, and maps, this is a lively and informative look at the real pirates of the Caribbean.-Sandy Schmitz, Berkeley Public Library, CA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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