Villains of All Nations: Atlantic Pirates in the Golden Age

Pirates have long been stock figures in popular culture, from Treasure Island to the more recent antics of Jack Sparrow. Villains of all Nations unearths the thrilling historical truth behind such fictional characters and rediscovers their radical democratic challenge to the established powers of the day.


  • “Rediker’s brilliant study illuminates every aspect of life on the high seas.”
  • “Marcus Rediker’s social and cultural history of the “golden age” of Atlantic piracy in the early 18th century dispels some of the romanticised myths and makes claims for a proto-democratic, egalitarian and multi-ethnic society.”
  • “Rediker’s work on piracy … has revolutionised not only the way we see pirates, but also the way we understand the history of political institutions in the West. This is his fullest account to date of the democratic, egalitarian, multi-racial and utterly ruthless pirate communities of the early 18th century.”
  • “No-one with a serious interest in the history of seafaring (or villainy) should miss this fascinating account of the Atlantic Pirates of the Golden Age.”


  • London screening of Ghosts of Amistad

    18 years after Steven Spielberg’s sentimental courtroom drama, Amistad, a new film based upon the 1839 slave-ship mutiny has been released. Directed by Tony Buba and based upon Marcus Rediker’s book The Amistad Rebellion: The Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom, it chronicles a trip made to Sierra Leone in May 2013 to visit the home villages of those who took part in the mutiny. The film is a fascinating account of the attempt to reconstruct the African origins of the rebellion and uses the knowledge of villagers, fishermen, and truck drivers to recover a lost history from below in the struggle against slavery.

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Other books by Marcus Rediker