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Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Merchant Seamen, Pirates, and the Anglo-American Maritime World, 1700–1750


“No one who is interested in the history of the eighteenth century can afford to ignore this book.”
— Christopher Hill, Oxford University

“In this important book, Marcus Rediker embeds rich empirical research within an impressive theoretical framework. The result is a fresh and powerful analysis of the eighteenth-century maritime world that will quickly establish the author as a leading scholar in Anglo-American labor history.”
— Gary B. Nash, UCLA

“Triumphant…What distinguishes Rediker’s work is his unwavering and unsentimental focus on the seaman’s labour and experience in his cramped wooden world.”
— E.P. Thompson, The Guardian

“The author shows an assured mastery of his vast library of sources and evidence to give us not only insight into seagoing life in all its respects but also into the mind and heart of the common sailor. The book is also revealing about the rise of mercantile capitalism in Britain and America and its reliance on seaborne trade. Above all, it is a compelling, readable text that carries the reader along almost as effortlessly as any nautical yarn.”
— Lloyd’s List

—Read this book; there is much to learn from the 18th century Jack Tar as we workers head into the 21st century. The best salute I could give to Marcus is to say that the ghost of Jack Tar is damn proud you could capture his spirit and struggle so well. Sail on, ghost of Jack Tar, good wind to your voyage.”
— Jim Jordan, Impact: The Rank and File Newsletter