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I feel like everyone knows about Captain Kidd at this point, by name or maybe even by reputation. I certainly thought I did, but this biography has even more to offer. Richard Zacks spares no detail in any aspect of Kidd's life in "The Pirate Hunter." What I learned from this was that Kidd was not the notorious pirate that history has made him out to be. In fact, compared to many he hardly fit the definition of one. Based out of New York City, Kidd was a married man, one of its wealthiest citizens, and unlike most, commanded a galley ship rather than a strictly sailing one. As a privateer, he was in possession of a proper Letter of Marque, but that is not to say he didn't encounter and work alongside a few pirates. Gossip and rumor dogged him for most of his career, despite his best attempts to stick to his assigned mission of hunting pirates. He may or may not have been aware of the hidden agenda of his sponsors back in London. But it was ultimately his swagger and arrogance that would be his undoing.

The only reason that this one didn't get 5 ⭐, is because as informative as it is, it gets pretty long-winded at times. It doesn't pertain to Kidd directly, but one more thing bothered me. When Zacks addresses Robert Culliford, who served with Kidd aboard a French privateer, he's adamant that the man was heterosexual. Most historians agree the man was gay or bisexual. But Zacks weakly attempts to describe Robert and his "great consort" Jon Swann as "best of friends." What I did appreciate was the inclusion of testimonies often overlooked that prove, if only a little, that Kidd did not deserve to be labeled a pirate for his actions. The East India Company, and rich Englishmen pulling the strings certainly had it out for him. Not exactly a "riotous bio" but this book definitely allowed me to re-evaluate my opinion of Kidd. I recommend it!
… (mere)
asukamaxwell | 11 andre anmeldelser | Apr 21, 2024 |
In 1893, even though he was the highest paid writer in America and married to an heiress, Mark Twain--Samuel Clemens--was on the brink of financial ruin. This book tells the story of how the already famous writer got out of financial trouble and grew his persona to mega rock star proportions.

One of the big take-aways from this book is that Mark Twain was one hard working writer. He may not have had much business sense, but as a writer and student of human nature he was always observing, pondering, and making notes in his journal.

When it came to writing or telling a story, he would change the details to create a more dramatic story, if necessary, such as in the case of a shuffleboard tournament aboard ship which Twain actually won, but in the telling of it he has another player win to better fit his storyline. He also "stole" stories, such as one from his friend Bram Stoker about a christening. It is impressive that Twain also worked on creating multiple performances so that if he were performing three nights in one city, people would hear fresh material each night. His seemingly simple stories were actually painstakingly constructed works of art.

Apparently Livy Clemens, Twain's wife, had much to do with the success of Twain's onstage storytelling (and perhaps his written work, too). While he was creating content for the tour Livy suggested that instead of telling joke after joke, he add a longer, more serious and emotionally charged story. This blending of pathos and humor is the roller-coaster ride that audiences the world over love.

This is an enjoyable read. It's well-written, has a good pace, and packs in a ton of information: the circumstances that landed Twain in serious financial straights and how he managed, along with his wife and good friend H.H. Rogers, to climb out of debt, detail about his friendships & relationships, what it was like to travel in the late 19th century, and even physical ailments such as the carbuncle the great writer had on his leg that was so big and/or painful that he couldn't wear pants for weeks. Physical ailments do impact the creative process. (All hail antibiotics. While they have been over-prescribed in recent years, I think I prefer life with rather than life without antibiotics.)

If you're interested in Twain and have never read anything about him, this is a fascinating place to start.
… (mere)
Chris.Wolak | 3 andre anmeldelser | Oct 13, 2022 |
Wonderful and informative account of the history of Captain William Kidd. Zacks has done an incredible amount of research in finding the real story of Captain Kidd and his subsequent trial for piracy. The book has just the right balance of novel style writing blended with facts and figures. It gives a good insight into the workings of the English system of law in the early 18th century, and how frightening it could be if you were on the wrong side of it. The audiobook version, narrated by Michael Prichard, is well recorded.… (mere)
kelleysgirl76 | 11 andre anmeldelser | Sep 16, 2022 |
This was a really well done book telling Captain Kidd’s actual story. I enjoyed Zack’s writing style, and he introduces each chapter well. However, while he did manage to keep the story interesting and easy to read, there were occasions where it was harder to focus due to a few lengthy descriptions. I did enjoy this book, though, and I do recommend it.
historybookreads | 11 andre anmeldelser | Jul 26, 2021 |


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Associated Authors

Mika Tiirinen Translator
Joe Ochman Narrator



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