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"An absorbing exhumation of an undersung subject that will be of particular interest to Revolution buffs." (Publishers Weekly)
"An illuminating look at an underappreciated chapter of the Revolutionary War: the daring, faintly disreputable, privateer war on British maritime interests...a pleasing mixture of high-seas adventure and shrewd analysis." (Kirkus Reviews)
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Matthew on 12-07-08
Great topic - poor treatment
Neither concise nor comprehensive nor difinitive
Unfortunately, this book is not a history of the Privateering war during the Revolution but instead meerly provides a number of case studies taken seemingly at random of American Privateers and those who invested or profited from them. Additionally, many of these case studies include exceptionally long tangents into subjects that have very little to do with privateering. For example, much of the book is devoted to the great General Nathanial Greene merely because he invested and lost money on privateers. Another case is the decidedly undue amount of attention paid to the slave-trading activities of people who also were privateers. The author also makes his low opinion of privateers evident. In answering the question, "Is a privateer a licensed pirate or is a pirate an unlicensed privateer?" the author clearly thinks the privateer is a pirate.
I cam to the book hoping for an assessment of the privateering "guerre de course" of the American Revolution and was terribly disappointed. The big historical question is: Did the American Privateers significantly affect the course of the war and if so how? That question was not even addressed.
This book does have a limited role however. If you are already familiar with American Privateers, this gives you a worm's eye view of the "trade" from the perspective of crewmen, captains, owners, and investors. For that limited purpose alone I would recommend the book. (This is what lifts my rating from two stars to three.) Even then, I would advise looking elsewhere.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
By Carroll on 09-17-11
Great insites on the Rev war naval struggle
A under-reported in modern history books... the raider / pirate / entrepenour aspects of the attacks on sea borne commerce during our Rev war is very useful for its thoroughness!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful