Reading list

Pirates: A Revolution at Sea

From One Piece to Our Flag Means Death, rebel pirates building their own communities are everywhere!

21 September 2023

Pirates: A Revolution at Sea

From the queer utopias in Our Flag Means Death, to the vigilante Straw Hats in One Piece, the image of the pirate is increasingly suffused in global popular culture. The image is a myth, but it is no less powerful for that. Like all myths it contains a small but essential element of truth. 

The real common sailors raised the black flag and created a system of democracy in action on the high seas, a traveling brotherhood of men doomed to a violent end, who wouldn’t have had it any other way. Rage and humor were key elements that characterized these outlaws of the seas: burning anger against the powerful, and the humor of men who chose freedom over servitude at any cost.

We will always love pirates, as long as there are powerful people to be resisted and causes of social justice to be fought for!

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At the pinnacle of the Golden Age of Atlantic piracy, three unlikely companions are sold into servitude on a merchant ship and thrust into a voyage of rebellion. They are John Gwin, an African American fugitive from bondage in South Carolina; Ruben Dekker, a common seaman from Amsterdam; and Mark (a.k.a. Mary) Reed, an American woman who dresses as a man.

Read an excerpt from the introduction here.

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A sweeping history of the role of the dispossessed in the making of the modern world.

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Against long-dominant national histories, this book shows that important historical processes transpired on the vast, nationless commons called the sea.

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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.

Under the Banner of King Death
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Outlaws of the Atlantic
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Villains of All Nations
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