Broad of beam for being so shallow of draft but seaworthy for all its distinctly romanticized picture.




A slender but sweeping survey of piracy on the high seas: in real life, from ancient times to today; in legend and fiction, from Long John Silver to Capt. Jack Sparrow and Jacky Faber.

Kaplan opens with the now-customary reference to Pirates of the Caribbean—but then goes on to introduce real 17th-century freebooter Henry Avery, who retired wealthy and unpunished after a series of dramatic exploits. That pattern holds throughout, as accounts of the careers of high-profile buccaneers and less well-known but no less daring figures (not all of whom came to bad ends) alternate down through history and also in printed works, films, video games, and television. The author plays on the contrasting popular perceptions of pirates as both brutal criminals and “lovable antiheroes,” even to the extent of portraying today’s Somali pirates in a sympathetic light. A judicious selection of photos and period images adds visual color, sidebars cast glances on topics ranging from sea shanties to digital piracy, and starter lists of print and Web resources will get readers eager to dig into this popular topic underway.

Broad of beam for being so shallow of draft but seaworthy for all its distinctly romanticized picture. (map, index, glossary, endnotes) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4677-5252-7

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Sympathetic in tone, optimistic in outlook, not heavily earnest: nothing to be afraid of.



Part browsing item, part therapy for the afflicted, this catalog of irrational terrors offers a little help along with a lot of pop psychology and culture.

The book opens with a clinical psychologist’s foreword and closes with a chapter of personal and professional coping strategies. In between, Latta’s alphabetically arranged encyclopedia introduces a range of panic-inducers from buttons (“koumpounophobia”) and being out of cellphone contact (“nomophobia”) to more widespread fears of heights (“acrophobia”), clowns (“coulroiphobia”) and various animals. There’s also the generalized “social anxiety disorder”—which has no medical name but is “just its own bad self.” As most phobias have obscure origins (generally in childhood), similar physical symptoms and the same approaches to treatment, the descriptive passages tend toward monotony. To counter that, the author chucks in references aplenty to celebrity sufferers, annotated lists of relevant books and (mostly horror) movies, side notes on “joke phobias” and other topics. At each entry’s end, she contributes a box of “Scare Quotes” such as a passage from Coraline for the aforementioned fear of buttons.

Sympathetic in tone, optimistic in outlook, not heavily earnest: nothing to be afraid of. (end notes, resource list) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-936976-49-2

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Zest Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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Sandwiched between telling lines from the epic of Gilgamesh (“…the warrior’s daughter, the young man’s bride, / he uses her, no one dares to oppose him”) and the exposure of a migrant worker–trafficking ring in Florida in the mid-1990s, this survey methodically presents both a history of the slave trade and what involuntary servitude was and is like in a broad range of times and climes. Though occasionally guilty of overgeneralizing, the authors weave their narrative around contemporary accounts and documented incidents, supplemented by period images or photos and frequent sidebar essays. Also, though their accounts of slavery in North America and the abolition movement in Britain are more detailed than the other chapters, the practice’s past and present in Africa, Asia and the Pacific—including the modern “recruitment” of child soldiers and conditions in the Chinese laogai (forced labor camps)—do come in for broad overviews. For timeliness, international focus and, particularly, accuracy, this leaves Richard Watkins’ Slavery: Bondage Throughout History (2001) in the dust as a first look at a terrible topic. (timeline, index; notes and sources on an associated website) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-88776-914-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Tundra

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2010

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