Merchant Seamen, Pirates, and the Anglo-American Maritime World, 1700–1750
Seamen, captains, and pirates occupy a special place in our popular culture, yet until now the historical record of their lives has been remarkably neglected. This brilliant account of the maritime world of the eighteenth-century reconstructs in detail the social and cultural milieu of Anglo-American seafaring and piracy. Rediker follows sailors and their ships along the pulsing trade routes, into ports with their crowded waterfront society of brothels, alehouses, brawls and jails, and paints a compelling picture of their world at sea with its brutal labour, harsh discipline, hangings and floggings.
The book’s focus on maritime experience illuminates the broader historical sweep of the rise of capitalism and the growth of an international working class – epic themes which were intimately bound up with everyday lives of seafaring men.
Winner of the Merle Curti Social History Award (Organization of American Historians) and the John Hope Franklin Prize (American Studies Association)