The Sea Rover's Practice: Pirate Tactics and Techniques, 1630-1730 (Paperback)

The Sea Rover's Practice: Pirate Tactics and Techniques, 1630-1730 By Benerson Little Cover Image
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. . . .rich in colourful detail, and displays impressive knowledge of sailing and fighting skills. --Richard Hill, The Naval Review

Accessible to both the general and the more scholarly reader, it will appeal not only to those with an interest in piracy and in maritime, naval, and military history, but also to mariners in general, tall-ship and ship-modeling enthusiasts, tacticians and military analysts, readers of historical fiction, writers, and the adventurer in all of us.

To read of sea roving's various incarnations - piracy, privateering, buccaneering, la flibuste, la course - is to bring forth romantic, and often violent, imagery. Indeed, much of this imagery has become a literary and cinematic clich?. And what an image it is! But its truth is by halves, and paradoxically it is the picaresque imagery of Pyle, Wyeth, Sabatini, and Hollywood that is often closer to the reality, while the historical details of arms, tactics, and language are often inaccurate or entirely anachronistic.

Successful sea rovers were careful practitioners of a complex profession that sought wealth by stratagem and force of arms. Drawn from the European tradition, yet of various races and nationalities, they raided both ship and town throughout much of the world from roughly 1630 until 1730. Using a variety of innovative tactics and often armed with little more than musket and grenade, many of these self-described "soldiers and privateers" successfully assaulted fortifications, attacked shipping from small craft, crossed the mountains and jungles of Panama, and even circumnavigated the globe. 

Successful sea rovers were often supreme seamen, soldiers, and above all, tacticians. It can be argued that their influence on certain naval tactics is felt even today. The Sea Rover's Practice is the only book that describes in exceptional detail the tactics of sea rovers of the period - how they actually sought out and attacked vessels and towns.

About the Author

Former US Navy SEAL Benerson Little writes contemporary and historical novels, and is the author of four non-fiction books on piracy and privateering, and of multiple articles on the subject. He is a leading authority on modern and historical piracy, a recognized expert on pirate tactics and anti-piracy operations, and the historical consultant for the STARZ Black Sails cable network series. He has appeared in television documentaries on piracy and advised on others.

Praise For…

"Rich in colourful detail, and displays impressive knowledge of sailing and fighting skills."—Naval Review

“This book on Golden Age piracy is as lively as its subject matter…With considerable gusto and an impressive understanding of the strategies of violence at sea, the author explores the material practices of piracy from the beginning to the end of a voyage. Little’s book is particularly strong in its description of the armaments and tactics of warfare at sea…The scholarship is also strong...Little’s achievement in The Sea Rover’s Practice is a considerable one; this well-priced and absorbing book allows the reader to appreciate the terms of engagement, and the stakes, in the much romanticized but little understood phenomena of early modern piracy.”—The Historian

"As colorful as a Howard Pyle illustration and as compelling as an Errol Flynn film, The Sea Rover's Practice belongs on anyone’s short list of useful scholarship on the great age of piracy. Based largely on first-person accounts, the book provides a trustworthy description of how pirates, filibusters, buccaneers, and privateers went about their business, from planning and recruiting, through chasing, engaging, and boarding, to dividing the spoils. One of the many intriguing facts to be gleaned, for instance, is the origins of the practice of ‘small plunder by custom’ that continued to be included in the privateering articles of agreement of later eras. The reader, entertained as well as informed, is likely to have nearly as much fun reading this book as the author appears to have had in writing it."—Michael J. Crawford, naval historian and editor of The Autobiography of a Yankee Mariner: Christopher Prince and the American Revolution

"A remarkably complete analysis of methods used in piracy, especially in Europe and America, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The book is based on solid research and is especially valuable for understanding the language and literature of the subject. It includes useful notes and bibliographies and is a highly recommended reference work for both general and specialized libraries."—Norman J. W. Thrower, professor emeritus of geography at UCLA, and author of Maps and Civilization: Cartography in Culture and Society

"Benerson Little brings a unique and powerful perspective--that of a scholarly former U.S. Navy SEAL--to a fascinating subject. The result is a remarkable book that casts much new light on the sea rovers of the Age of Sail."—Frank Sherry, author of Raiders and Rebels: The Golden Age of Piracy

"[The Sea Rover's Practice] will be of high interest to the maritime spectrum, from armchair sailors to admirals. . . . Within the book's well documented twenty-three chapters, Little provides fascinationg material on pirate personalities and their lives both ashore and at sea. . . This is a really good book. Be prepared--after reading only a few pages--to feel the wind in your face and taste the salt air."—Naval War College Review

Product Details
ISBN: 9781574889116
ISBN-10: 1574889117
Publisher: Potomac Books
Publication Date: February 1st, 2007
Pages: 320
Language: English