Pirates of Barbary – Adrian Tinniswood

Pirates of Barbary: Corsairs, Conquests and Captivity in the 17-Century Mediterranean, by Adrian Tinniswood, sheds much needed light on who and what pirates actually were, and who and what they did. It debunks the stereotypical notion of Blackbeard with his talking parrot and his pieces of eight, as being a typical pirate. In the real world, piratry was a world of profiteering, slavery, butchery, brinkmanship and religion, with its players being a motley crew of Christians and Muslims from all walks of life. Adrian’s book brilliantly illuminates their world, and this world’s revelation will be a shock to you.

The period of history when pirates reigned was the 17th-century, and geographically they were to be feared from the Mediterranean, up the Western coast of Europe and spanning to Scandinavia and Northern America, and out across the expanse of the Barbary Coast (present-day Morocco, Algeria and Libya). Mostly though, and this is the focus of the book, they had their bases of operations all along the Barbary coast, especially the port city of Algiers, which was pirate-central.

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