Book of Pirates

Book of Pirates

by Howard Pyle

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Just above the northwestern shore of the old island of Hispaniola—the Santo Domingo of our day—and separated from it only by a narrow channel of some five or six miles in width, lies a queer little hunch of an island, known, because of a distant resemblance to that animal, as the Tortuga de Mar, or sea turtle. It is not more than twenty miles in length by perhaps seven or eight in breadth; it is only a little spot of land, and as you look at it upon the map a pin's head would almost cover it; yet from that spot, as from a center of inflammation, a burning fire of human wickedness and ruthlessness and lust overran the world, and spread terror and death throughout the Spanish West Indies, from St. Augustine to the island of Trinidad, and from Panama to the coasts of Peru.

About the middle of the seventeenth century certain French adventurers set out from the fortified island of St. Christopher in longboats and hoys, directing their course to the westward, there to discover new islands. Sighting Hispaniola "with abundance of joy," they landed, and went into the country, where they found great quantities of wild cattle, horses, and swine.

Now vessels on the return voyage to Europe from the West Indies needed revictualing, and food, especially flesh, was at a premium in the islands of the Spanish Main; wherefore a great profit was to be turned in preserving beef and pork, and selling the flesh to homeward-bound vessels.

The northwestern shore of Hispaniola, lying as it does at the eastern outlet of the old Bahama Channel, running between the island of Cuba and the great Bahama Banks, lay almost in the very main stream of travel. The pioneer Frenchmen were not slow to discover the double advantage to be reaped from the wild cattle that cost them nothing to procure, and a market for the flesh ready found for them. So down upon Hispaniola they came by boatloads and shiploads, gathering like a swarm of mosquitoes, and overrunning the whole western end of the island. There they established themselves, spending the time alternately in hunting the wild cattle and buccanning the meat, and squandering their hardly earned gains in wild debauchery, the opportunities for which were never lacking in the Spanish West Indies...

Product Details

BN ID: 2940153444208
Publisher: Merkaba Press
Publication date: 07/25/2017
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 155
Sales rank: 1,100,729
File size: 296 KB

About the Author

The stories and drawings of Howard Pyle (1853-1911) epitomize "the golden age of American illustration." A priceless contribution to American children's literature, Pyle's work set a standard of excellence, with tales and images remarkable for their engaging simplicity and penetrating realism.

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Book of Pirates 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best pirate book on the market!! Howard Pyle was a master storyteller and I'm happy to see his books being brought around again! If you want a great adventure book, read this!! It starts out slow, but stay with it - the best adventures lay right around the page.
melaniejackson More than 1 year ago
This is a great way to get caught up on your Pirate 101 without having to wade through dry tomes of history that should be exciting but somehow isn't. I also recommend Pyle's Robin Hood stories.
atimco on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Book of Pirates by Howard Pyle is a collection of illustrations and stories that were published separately in various magazines and books. These stories ¿ sometimes recitations of historical facts and other times fanciful tales ¿ are entertaining and beautifully illustrated. I can imagine little boys (and girls, for that matter) loving these tales and using them as jumping-off points for their own imaginations. Certainly there is something oddly appealing about pirates and their ill-gotten treasures.Many of the stories have to do with ordinary people getting involved in pirates' affairs, like the young boy who (with the help of the local parson) discovers where Captain Kidd buried his treasure. I liked the one about the young Quaker, Jonathan Rugg, who accidentally kills three pirates while protecting the treasure of a pirate's daughter. When she offers Jonathan her father's treasure along with herself, he politely declines, saying that he is engaged and so is "not at all at liberty to consider my inclinations in any other direction." Such an understated sense of fun! But Quakers aren't always so virtuous. In "Captain Scarfield," Pyle tells about a one pirate's double life as both a strict Quaker leader and a feared buccaneer.What struck me most about this collection is Pyle's justification for telling stories about pirates and their evil deeds. Pyle was a Quaker (like several of his characters) and it's interesting that he should be so fascinated with evil men. He writes:Why is it that a little spice of deviltry lends not an unpleasantly titillating twang to the great mass of respectable flour that goes to make up the pudding of our modern civilization? And pertinent to this question another¿Why is it that the pirate has, and always has had, a certain lurid glamour of the heroical enveloping him round about? Is there, deep under the accumulated debris of culture, a hidden groundwork of the old-time savage? Is there even in these well-regulated times an unsubdued nature in the respectable mental household of every one of us that still kicks against the pricks of law and order? ... Courage and daring, no matter how mad and ungodly, have always a redundancy of vim and life to recommend them to the nether man that lies within us, and no doubt his desperate courage, his battle against the tremendous odds of all the civilized world of law and order, have had much to do in making a popular hero of our friend of the black flag.And later:Such is a brief and bald account of the most famous of these pirates... And such is that black chapter of history of the past¿an evil chapter, lurid with cruelty and suffering, stained with blood and smoke. Yet it is a written chapter, and it must be read. He who chooses may read betwixt the lines of history this great truth: Evil itself is an instrument toward the shaping of good. Therefore the history of evil as well as the history of good should be read, considered, and digested.Convincing, isn't he? The foreword (by Merle Johnson) says that Pyle is not generally remembered for his writing ¿ his illustrations had a far more profound effect on American art ¿ but I think little gems like these are worthy of their settings in his illustrations.These stories would probably have been more enjoyable if I read them piecemeal rather than in one afternoon. As it is, I wouldn't heartily recommend this collection unless someone was looking specifically for children's literature on pirates.
JohnMunsch on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Pretty good stories about pirates. Download it for free from Project Gutenberg.
LibraryLou on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great book about Pirates
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*walks in*
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No what make me magic teacher ima good mage too