PIRATES OF THE PACIFIC by A. Grove Day

PIRATES OF THE PACIFIC

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A deviously titled account of misdeeds--some of the perpetrators were pirates, others were privateers, maranders, or simply scalawags. The chapters tend to be the same length, which leaves some too long to hold interest and others too short to encompass the numbers who fit under the heading. Longest (and dullest) is the tale of William Swallow, an English convict bound for Tasmania who seized his prison brig. The Cyprus, and wandered around the Pacific with his convict crew for a full year without shooting or raiding anybody; he was just trying to get home. The shortest is a narrative of sixty years of sanguinary Chinese river and high seas piracy in which the Chinese lord and admiral, Coxinga, took thousands of lives. An extended biography of William ""Bully"" Hayes, who did a little slaving, jumped a lot of bills, married frequently, is so well documented that he gets equal time with ninety years of real roguery by numerous English buccaneers (Henry Morgan, William Dampier, Bartholomew Sharpe, Clipperton and Shelvocke, etc.) in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Accounts of Drake bearding the Spanish in the ocean they considered their own, of Cavendish pillaging galleons off the California coast are generally straightforward and readable. But on the whole, a tendency to drone and weep (""stealing. . .for his cold and hungry children"") reinforces the poor balance of the contents.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1968
Publisher: Meredith