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Esquemeling. THE BUCCANEERS OF AMERICA…
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Esquemeling. THE BUCCANEERS OF AMERICA (Broadway Translations) (1678 original; edició 1926)

de John Esquemeling (Autor)

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Fascinating chronicle of the bands of plundering sea rovers who roamed the Caribbean and coastlines of Central America in the 17th century. Detailed accounts of shrewd and fearless men, excellent navigators, and blood-thirsty adventurers who frequently committed inhuman acts of cruelty -- among them the infamous Henry Morgan.… (més)
Membre:rodney_mcfadyen
Títol:Esquemeling. THE BUCCANEERS OF AMERICA (Broadway Translations)
Autors:John Esquemeling (Autor)
Informació:George Routledge & Sons, London (1926), 480 pages
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The Buccaneers of America de Alexander O. Exquemelin (1678)

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The Buccaneers of America

or The Pirates of Panama

A True Account of the Famous Adventures and Daring Deeds of Sir Henry Morgan and Other Notorious Freebooters of the Spanish Main

by John Esquemeling
One of the Buccaneers who was Present at those Tragedies

New York: Frederick A. Stokes, 1914.
xxiv+226 pp. Edited and Illustrated by George Alfred Williams. Introduction by the editor [xi-xiii]. The Translator to the Reader (of 1684) [xv-xxiv]. 12 colour plates. PDF copy from Internet Archive.

First published in Dutch as De Americaensche Zee-Roovers, 1678.
German translation Die americanische See-Räuber, 1679.
Spanish translation Piratas de America, 1681.
English translation The Buccaneers of America, 1684.
This edition first published, 1914.

==================================================

The subtitle is more accurate than the title. The book contains 18 chapters, and 10 of them are dedicated to the legendary Sir Henry Morgan – before he became “Sir”. Three chapters (VI to VIII) deal with the notorious “Francis Lolonois”, a Frenchman whose name is spelt in at least five different ways but whose bloodthirsty character has never been questioned. (To be precise, his name was Jean-David Nau; “L’Olonnais” was his nickname, from the place of his birth, Les Sables-d'Olonne on the Atlantic coast of France.)

The only other buccaneers mentioned at some length are Pierre le Grand, Pierre Francois, Bartholomew Portugues, Roche Brasiliano and one John Davis; daring chaps, all of them. There is nothing about “Le Chevalier” Grammont, the French Henry Morgan, and Laurens Cornelis de Graaf, predictably nicknamed “The Flying Dutchman”, but that’s to be expected. Their great exploits came only in the 1680s, after the book was published, and after the glory had faded. The buccaneers were at the height of their power in the 1660s.

Exquemelin (you may choose among a dozen spellings) lived for years – some say six, some say twelve! – among the buccaneers as a surgeon (whether he was one is unknown) and presumably witnessed first-hand many of their raids on the Spanish Main. He is packed with detail, by turns trivial or lurid, about the pirates, their adventures and organisation, their haunts and harbours, their military tactics and methods of torture, even their personalities. No wonder the book became both a massive European best-seller at the time and the standard starting point for all piratologists ever since. Some of the most trenchant passages have often been quoted:

When the bucaniers go into the woods to hunt for wild bulls and cows, they commonly remain there a twelvemonth or two years, without returning home. After the hunt is over, and the spoil divided, they commonly sail to Tortuga, to provide themselves with guns, powder, and shot, and other necessaries for another expedition; the rest of their gains they spend prodigally, giving themselves to all manner of vices and debauchery, particularly to drunkenness, which they practise mostly with brandy: this they drink as liberally as the Spaniards do water. Sometimes they buy together a pipe of wine; this they stave at one end, and never cease drinking till it is out. Thus sottishly they live till they have no money.

Hardly the finest writing ever, but not without some vividness. Exquemelin can be dry and dull. Though mostly concise, occasionally he is unduly descriptive and digressive, especially when he is exploring the local flora and fauna, including the bipeds and their tribal customs, to say nothing of the local history and geography. But he is saved by his main subject. If you have a strong interest in the history of piracy, you will find the Dutchman riveting, even revealing.

Chapter V is something like revelation. The buccaneers were better organised than generally recognised. The first rule of every raid was simple enough: “No prey, no pay.” There were many other rules, though. Financial matters were strictly controlled. Nobody was allowed to keep any plunder to himself. Everything was collected together and divided according to a set of articles drafted and signed before sailing. Rewards for services rendered were less unequal than in any national navy. The chief of the expedition took only five to six times more than the common seaman. Injuries were generously compensated. The loss of right hand was valued most highly, at 600 pieces of eight; a pretty good sum at the time, roughly equal to the wages of a Spanish naval captain for two years.

This whole system was not an invention, as some people think, of the gentlemen (and a few ladies) from the so-called Golden Age of Piracy in the first decades of the 18th century. The buccaneers were there half a century earlier. They also were far bolder and more dangerous than their timid successors.

Exquemelin describes the exploits of L’Olonnais with relish that every tabloid hack today may envy. The Frenchman’s sins make a mighty list, the sack of Maracaibo in 1668 being the least important. He was a bit of a sadist consumed with hate for everything Spanish. Most gruesomely, he once “cut open the breast of one of those poor Spaniards, and pulling out his heart began to bite and gnaw it with his teeth, like a ravenous wolf”. One must admire the surgical skill of L’Olonnais, especially if he did the operation with a cutlass. History having highly developed sense for poetic justice, the cruel Frenchman ended his life as a roasted repast for cannibals. Exquemelin describes the episode with an explosion of rhetorical self-righteousness. It’s worth a quote:

To this effect he determined to go on to the coasts of Carthagena; but God Almighty, the time of His Divine justice being now come, had appointed the Indians of Darien to be the instruments and executioners thereof. These Indians of Darien are esteemed as bravoes, or wild savage Indians, by the neighbouring Spaniards, who never could civilize them. Hither Lolonois came (brought by his evil conscience that cried for punishment), thinking to act his cruelties; but the Indians within a few days after his arrival took him prisoner, and tore him in pieces alive, throwing his body limb by limb into the fire, and his ashes into the air, that no trace or memory might remain of such an infamous, inhuman creature.

Exquemelin has no idea what he is writing about when he remarks that Henry Morgan “may deservedly be called the second Lolonois, not being unlike or inferior to him, either in achievements against the Spaniards, or in robberies of many innocent people.” As a matter of fact, Morgan is in a completely different league: his raids at Porto Bello and Panama make the Frenchman look like a perfect amateur. Morgan actually retired from piracy, lived happily ever after and died peacefully in his bed at Port Royal, having meanwhile been knighted and served as Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica. He famously sued Exquemelin after the book appeared in English and won his case, but the Dutchman’s account has coloured Morgan’s character ever since.

Morgan’s most notorious act, by a wide margin, was his using a human shield of monks and nuns when he stormed the walls of Porto Bello in 1668. Exquemelin describes the situation in detail (Chapter XI), not missing to observe that the buccaneers spent fifteen days in the captured city “in which time they had lost many of their men, both by the unhealthiness of the country, and their extravagant debaucheries.” Depending on the wildness of your imagination, you can imagine the rest. I guess even hard-core fans of sadistic horror movies might find it hard to picture the level of virtuosity reached by the buccaneers in their favourite sport: torturing Spaniards to tell where they’d hidden their family jewels.

Exquemelin is properly appalled at all this, but he can hardly suppress some admiration for Morgan. Yes, the man is ruthless and cruel and merciless. But so are they all. On other hand, Morgan is an astute commander, remarkable tactician and, above all, a charismatic leader. Here is Morgan’s famous slogan “If our number is small, our hearts are great; and the fewer persons we are, the more union and better shares we shall have in the spoil.” Here, also, is the sarcastic correspondence with the Governor of Panama. The Spanish grandee asked for a sample from the weapons that had conquered such a powerful city as Porto Bello. Morgan sent him a pistol and some bullets with a note that he would come to take them back personally within a year. He duly did. Exquemelin can hardly contain himself about the sack of Panama: “so remarkable in all its circumstances, as peradventure nothing more deserving memory will be read by future ages.”

This is the stuff of legend. It has become one during the following centuries. If Captain Morgan is now regarded as the quintessential buccaneer, not to mention a brand of excellent rum, his ghost has only Exquemelin to thank.

If one happens to be a sceptic, or a cynic if you like, one must ask oneself how true all this is. I have asked the author himself and two modern authorities what they think about that.

Exquemelin assures the reader, in the end of Chapter III, that “I shall give him no stories upon trust, or hearsay, but only those enterprises to which I was myself an eye-witness.” This is patently untrue. The author certainly didn’t hide with Bartholomew Portugues in that forest “eating no other food for three days”. He may or may not have witnessed Roche Brasiliano (a Dutchman who lived much in Brazil, hence the nickname) “brutish and foolish when in drink, running up and down the streets, beating and wounding those he met, no person daring to make any resistance.” This kind of gossip is quite to be expected and might well be less exaggerated than it seems. But even when he is writing about L’Olonnais and Morgan, Exquemelin seldom sounds like somebody who writes from personal experience.

Angus Konstam, piratologist extraordinaire, calls the book “remarkable and vivid account”, but makes no comment on its veracity[1]. According to David Cordingly, one of the greatest piratologists of our time, his Dutch colleague “gets most of the facts right but is often mistaken about place-names and dates. [...] Some of his wilder stories appear to be secondhand accounts which he probably heard in taverns, but it is clear that he took part in a number of buccaneer expeditions up to an including Henry Morgan’s sacking of Panama City in 1671.”[2]

This is better than one might expect considering that Exquemelin’s book, though far from being the only primary source about the buccaneers, is by far the most extensive. The most colourful anecdotes may well be fictional, but that doesn’t matter at all three and a half centuries later. It’s no longer possible to erase the myth from the popular consciousness.

This 1914 edition available online for free is a cute one. The colour plates by the editor are very much in the style of Howard Pyle, conferring on the buccaneers a romantic image which is ill-deserved and hardly suitable to the book. Exquemelin may have a bit of Morgan fetish, but he certainly cannot be accused of romanticising or glamorising the pirates. (Excuse me, I mean the privateers!) How his first name became “John” on the title page is a minor mystery. It is generally agreed to be “Alexandre” or “Alexandre Olivier”. “John” is an ingenious alternative.

The editor’s introduction is a short biographical sketch of Exquemelin, mostly repeating the author’s own account from the first chapters. Mr Williams mentions only briefly his editorial work. He used exclusively the English edition from 1684, made some cuts of “long and tedious descriptions of plant and animal life” (thank you for that, George), but kept intact the history of Morgan and his fellow cutthroats. Curiously, he believed to have produced something “in a suitable form for the juvenile reader with no loss of interest to the adult.” I don’t see why the juvenile reader should be inflicted some of Exquemelin’s most gruesome pages, but I guess it’s a matter of parental choice. Personally, I would recommend some educational porn instead.

The translator’s introduction is longer and stranger. He recommends the book “unto the perusal of our English nation, whose glorious actions it containeth.” The guy, whoever he was, continues to rave in a language that might be considered extravagant even by 17th-century standards. He is totally smitten with “the unparallel’ed, if not inimitable, adventures and Heroick exploits of our own Country-men”, etc., etc. Times sure do change!

Disappointingly, the translator says next to nothing about his work. Online rumours claim that the first English translation was done from the Spanish which had already corrupted the Dutch original with silent additions and various mistranslations. Our mysterious translator apparently confirms the first part of the rumour, but says only that he hopes to have made his work “something more plain and correct than the Spanish.” I suppose there are better modern translations straight from the Dutch, but I have not come across them. Until I do one day, this one will have to do.

___________________________________________________
[1] Buccaneers 1620-1700, Osprey [2000], p. 3.
[2] Under the Black Flag, Harvest, 1997, p. 40. ( )
1 vota Waldstein | Dec 1, 2019 |
Indeholder "Indledning - ved Erik Kjersgaard", "1. del", " Handler om franskmændene på Hispaniola, hvorledes de er kommet der, om landets beskaffenhed, og hvorledes beboerne lever", " I. kapitel", " Forfatterens rejse til Amerika i Fransk vestindisk Kompagnis tjeneste", " Skikke og sædvaner til søs", " En orkan", " Møde i rum sø med et engelsk krigsskib", " Ankomst til øen Tortuga", " II. kapitel", " Beskrivelse af øen Tortuga", " Dens bevoksning og dyreliv", " Hvorledes franskmændene oprettede deres første koloni", " To gange bortjaget af spanierne vender franskmændene atter tilbage", " Efter mange omskiftelser befæster de deres magt over øen", " Guvernøren myrdes af sine egne", " III. kapitel", " Chevalier de Fontenay tager Tortuga i besiddelse, men fordrives af spanierne", " Boucanier'erne erobrer øen og gør hr. du Rausset til guvernør", " Han efterfølges af sin nevø", " Det vestindiske kompagni sætter sig i besiddelse af Tortuga, men trækker sig atter tilbage og åbner for den private handel", " Guvernør d'Ogeron og hans forhold til øen", " IV. kapitel", " Almindelig beskrivelse af den store og berømte ø Hispaniola, som franskmændene kalder Saint Domingue", " Dens byer, bebyggelser og indbyggere", " Noget om de mest bemærkelsesværdige vækster og værdifulde afgrøder", " Endvidere om de vilde, firbenede dyr og om nogle interessante oplevelser, forfatteren havde, da han ledsagede en fransk boucanier", " V. kapitel", " De spanske og franske boucanier'er og deres oprindelse", " Jagten på vilde okser og svin på Hispaniola", " Jægernes rå og gudløse færd", " Om kampe mellem spaniere og franskmænd, og om hvorledes spanierne forsøgte at drive jægerne bort", " VI. kapitel", " Hvorledes planterne lever på Tortuga og Hispaniola", " Anlæggelse og daglig drift af en tobaksplantage", " Beretninger om planternes hensynsløse behandling af deres servinger, herunder forfatterens egen ulykkelige skæbne, der tvang ham til at blive sørøver", " VII. kapitel", " Forfatteren slutter sig til sørøverne", " Kort beretning om sørøveriet i Vestindien", " Udrustning af sørøverskibe og dagligt liv til søs", " Prisen for lemlæstelser og byttets fordeling", " Sørøvernes udskejelser i land", " VIII. kapitel", " Heri berettes om de berømte sørøvere Pierre Franc, Bartholomeo Portugiseren, Rock Brasilianeren, Louis Scot og Jan David", " Sørøverne gør et rigt bytte, men bliver også ramt af modgang", " Hvorfor de opgiver kaperi og foretrækker at angribe byer og stæder", " IX. kapitel", " Montbars kaldet l'Extermineur", " Hans opvækst i Languedoc og årsagen til hans store had mod spanierne", " Han slutter sig til en onkel og følger ham på kaperfærd til Vestindien", " Hans kampe mod spanierne", " Forfatteren forsvarer bogens troværdighed og beretter ydermere om Alexandre Bras de Fer med de utrolige armkræfter", " Alexandre forliser med sit skib, men redder sit mandskab og kommer efter en hård kamp påny i besiddelse af et skib med en rig ladning", " Hans beskedenhed forbyder ham at fortælle mere om sig selv", "2. del omhandlende de berømte sørøvere Francois l'Olonnais og Henry Morgan, deres oprindelse og mest navnkundige røvertogter mod spanierne", " Endvidere efterretninger om andre sørøveres levned og gerning, der vedrører de omtalte lande", " Handler om sørøvernes opkomst, hvorledes de kommer ud af det indbyrdes foruden om forskellige røverier, som de har bedrevet mod spanierne", " I. kapitel", " Francois l'Olonnais' oprindelse og tidligste bedrifter", " Han bliver forhadt af spanierne, strander ved Campeche og undslipper ved list", " Han erobrer en fregat, som guvernøren i Havana sender ud imod ham", " II. kapitel", " l'Olonnais udruster en flåde for at gøre landgang på de spanske kyster af Amerika", " Flåden forøges med priser undervejs", " En beskrivelse af egnen omkring Maracaibo i provinsen Venezuela, hertil en sandfærdig beretning om plyndringen af byerne Maracaibo og Gibraltar og om de grusomheder, som sørøverne begik dér", " III. kapitel", " l'Olonnais samler påny en flåde i den hensigt at plyndre i Nicaragua", " De driver ind i Honduras-bugten, plyndrer San Pedro og tager et skib, men vinder kun ringe bytte", " Kaptajnerne falder fra, og l'Olonnais forliser", " Under forsøg på at skaffe sig et nyt skib, bliver han ynkeligt dræbt af indianere", " IV. kapitel", " Henry Morgans oprindelse og første bedrifter", " Han følger Mansfield, deltager i plyndringer på Cuba, ledsager Mansfield, mod Santa Catalina og siden under landgang på fastlandet.", " Togtet afbrydes, fordi sørøverne skændes", " Spaniernes generobring af Santa Catalina", " V. kapitel", " Morgan forsøger at beholde Santa Catalina som en sørøverrede, men det mislykkes", " En kort beskrivelse af Cuba", " Landgangen på Cuba og erobringen af byen Puerto del Principe", " De franske og engelske filibustre kommer i strid indbyrdes", " VI. kapitel", " Morgan beslutter at angribe Portobelo", " Han udruster en flåde og erobrer byen med en lille styrke", " Præsidenten i Panama forsøger at komme Portobelo til undsætning, men må give op", " Han og Morgan udveksler gaver, og Morgan lover at besøge Ciudad de Panama", " Han kommer til Jamaica med et rigt bytte", " VII. kapitel", " Morgan forbereder et nyt togt og samler en flåde ved Isla de la Vaca", " Han modtager forstærkning i form af et engelsk krigsskib, men er ikke tilfreds hermed og tilegner sig et fransk skib ved list", " Det engelske krigsskib springer i luften", " Sørøverne gør landgang på Hispaniola og kommer i kamp", " VIII. kapitel", " Morgan erobrer Maracaibo og Gibraltar, hvor sørøverne begår mange grusomheder og tager et stort bytte", " De finder udsejlingen fra Lagon de Maracaibo spærret af den spanske konges skibe", " Ved list undslipper de den store fare og gør et endnu rigere bytte, end de havde kunnet drømme om", "3. del omhandlende Morgans erobring og afbrænding af Ciudad de Panama, der ligger ved Amerikas Stillehavskyst", " Endvidere om erobringen af flere andre byer samt om forfatterens rejse langs kysten af Costa Rica, og hvad der hændte på rejsen", " Handler om byen Panamas brand, som skyldtes de engelske og franske sørøvere, og hvad der tilstødte forfatteren på hans hjemrejse", " I. kapitel", " Morgan kommer til øen Hispaniola for at samle en ny flåde, hvormed han kan plyndre den spanske kyst", " De hærger en by for at skaffe proviant", " Morgan reorganiserer flåden, og der aftales artikler for togtet", " Angrebsmålet bliver Ciudad de Panama", " II. kapitel", " Morgan generobrer Santa Catalina, hvis guvernør overgiver øen efter en skinfægtning", " En beskrivelse af fæstningen", " Morgan træffer yderligere forberedelser til angrebet på fastlandet", " III. kapitel", " Angrebet på fortet San Lorenzo ved Rio Chagre", " Efter flere forgæves stormløb sætter sørøverne ild til fortet, der dog først erobres efter en sidste blodig kamp", " Morgan lader fortet istandsætte og forbereder fremrykningen langs floden", " IV. kapitel", " Morgan og hans mænd går over den mellemamerikanske landtange", " Undervejs lider de frygteligt at sult, fordi spanierne har bortført alle levnedsmidler", " Kampen ved Ciudad de Panama og byens fald", " V. kapitel", " Morgan sender nogle fartøjer ud på sørøveri i Stillehavet, men går glip af en rig prise", " Byen Panama, dens udseende og dens brand", " Hvorledes hele landet plyndres, og sørøverne begår mange grusomheder", " En smuk spanierinde modstår Morgan's attrå", " VI. kapitel", " Morgan bryder op fra byen Panama med plyndringsgods og krigsfanger", " På vejen lader han mandskabet kropsvisitere", " Tilbagekomsten til fort San Lorenzo og tilstanden her", " En beretning om gribbe", " Byttet fordeles, og mandskabet opdager Morgan's forrædderi", " Han rejser hastigt bort", " Nogle træk til belysning af Morgan", " VII. kapitel", " En kort beretning om mødet med Den spanske Sørøver", " Han afviser først filibustrene, men modtager dem dog på visse betingelser", " Hvad en tjener fortalte om Den spanske Sørøvers omtumlede liv", " VIII. kapitel", " Under hjemrejsen fra Panama til Jamaica sejler sørøverne langs kysten af Costa Rica for at finde proviant og et sted, hvor skibet kan blive kølhalet", " De krigeriske indianere ved Boca del Toro", " Atter under sejr til Rio Chagre, hvor sørøverne ved en kedelig misforståelse må vende om", " Møde med indianerne ved Boca del Drago", " Skibet bliver kølhalet i Bluefields Bay; men takket være indianerne bliver afrejsen brat", " Endvidere nogle iagttagelser af mærkelige dyr", " IX. kapitel", " Rejsen fra Bluefield's Bay til Cabo de Gracia a Dios", " Hvorledes sørøverne sluttede venskab med indianerne her", " Forfatterens iagttagelser af deres skikke og sædvaner og refleksioner over forskelligheder mellem folkeslagene", " Nogle mærkelige begravelsesceremonier", " X. kapitel", " Forfatterens rejse fra Cabo de Gracia a Dios til øen Cuba, hvor sørøverne finder levnedsmidler i overflod", " En portugisisk sørøver kommer i kamp med en krokodille", " På den videre rejse mod Jamaica møder man to hollandske skibe, og forfatteren forsømmer ikke at søge tilbage til Europa", " Hvorledes det senere gik med de vestindiske sørøvere", " XI. kapitel", " Guvernør d'Ogeron og hans folk lider skibbrud på Purerto Rico, hvor de tilfangetages og mishandles af spanierne", " Hr. d'Ogeron undslipper, men hans forsøg på at komme sine landsmænd til undsætning mislykkes", " Hvorledes franskmændene kommer tilbage til Tortuga", "De amerikanske sørøvere - en bog og en legende", " Professor Holbergs mærkelige oplevelse", " Alexandre Olivier Exquemelin", " Den blufærdige pirat", " Sørøverodysseens lange rejse", " Denne udgave", " Litteratur", "Den historiske baggrund", " Skuepladsen - Det caribiske Hav", " 'Ingen fred hinsides linjen'", " Kompagnier, sørøvere, sørøverkompagni og sørøverlav", " Guvenører og sørøvere - eller halen, der logrede med hunden", "Kommentarer", " Første del", " Anden del", " Tredje del".

Meget underholdende og i denne udgave også meget lærerig beretning om sørøvere i Tortuga, Cuba og omegn ( )
  bnielsen | Jan 1, 2017 |
Disturbing non fiction account of the lives of pirates in the Carribean, including Henry Morgan's sacking of Panama. Coupled with Marcus Reddiker's The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea and Peter Leeson's the Invisible Hook, and if you can ignore the brutality of it all, it's a fascinating look at the foundations of the self-organizing, democratic labour movement that would later develop in North America. Let no man be pressed into service. ( )
1 vota lritchie1150 | Jan 10, 2016 |
A period piece, no doubt about that!
If you needed a single source to rip off for adventure stories, well, this is your victim. We based a seventeenth century role playing game on it, and seldom needed anything else except stock market reports and "How to Sail" books. Read your child this book, and they'll be cured of pirates for life, or bent for a career of delinquency on the Stock exchange. I would not be without a copy of these publications.
Exquemelin published his book in 1682, in French and 1684 in English. Ringrose was a shipmate of Sharpe the privateer, and was killed during his second voyage, with Swan in 1686. His journal has been bound with the Exquemelin since the publication in 1685. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Jun 12, 2014 |
This is a thick, hefty book. Full of the dastardly exploits of famous pirates, including Captain Morgan and L'Ollonais, it's marvelous history of those sea-dogs. It's a bit lengthy at points and can sometime get bogged down in minute details, but that doesn't detract from the overall story. Esquemeling probably sensationalize the details a bit, but the general story rings truth. This is considered the best historical accounts of pirates during the late 1600s, and one of the only ones told from an eye-witness. If you are a pirate affecinado, this is a must read. ( )
2 vota empress8411 | Feb 20, 2014 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Alexander O. Exquemelinautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Brown, AlexisTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Frontignières, Jean deTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Hoorn, Jan Tenautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Jordan FRGS, K.C.Mapsautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Kjersgaard, Erikautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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Fascinating chronicle of the bands of plundering sea rovers who roamed the Caribbean and coastlines of Central America in the 17th century. Detailed accounts of shrewd and fearless men, excellent navigators, and blood-thirsty adventurers who frequently committed inhuman acts of cruelty -- among them the infamous Henry Morgan.

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