One of Clifford's best: he keeps chest-thumping to a minimum as he creates a surprising picture of what it was like to be a...



Pirate-relic–hunter Clifford (Expedition Whydah, 1999, etc.) narrates a slice of the Golden Age of Piracy along the Spanish Main in this elucidating study of the buccaneer's life.

The majority of the French Caribbean fleet fell for a Spanish ruse and was shipwrecked off the coast of Venezuela in 1678. Thus, explains the author, commenced a half-century of pirate ascendancy in the region, a sort of OPEC of buccaneers in which disparate but like-minded forces became a powerful alliance holding control over a critical resource—the high seas—though they unraveled as “filibusters tended to come together when it suited them and to go their separate ways when they chose.” Clifford provides snapshot biographies of the principals—Thomas Paine, Chevalier de Grammont, and the runaway slave Laurens de Graffe, perhaps the epitome of dashing, humane pirate—as he describes their activities along the Central and South American coasts for the last quarter of the 17th century (as well as bleeding into the story his own, less beguiling search for pirate remains). What gives Clifford's story its greatest value is the eye-opening information he imparts on the nature of freebooting. A far cry from the Hollywood image, “filibusters,” as pirates were often known, were a prototypical democratic society, fully a third of them were of African descent, having first started out as the equivalent of mountain men, roving about the islands of the Caribbean before the Spanish destroyed their livelihoods and they turned to other quarry. Most of their raiding took place on land rather than sea and, importantly, they often operated with both official and unofficial sanction as agents of various governments. Clifford doesn't suggest they were angels, but instead were a mix of heroes and villains, with as much compromise as havoc in their arsenal.

One of Clifford's best: he keeps chest-thumping to a minimum as he creates a surprising picture of what it was like to be a high-seas rogue before the turn of the 18th century. (Photographs and illustrations throughout)

Pub Date: Aug. 8, 2002

ISBN: 0-06-019818-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2002

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

Did you like this book?


From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

Did you like this book?