In the western world, the myth and imagery of a pirate is a specific one. We may conjure up the image of Tyrone Power in one of the swashbuckling action films from the days of old Hollywood or Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. A woman, especially a woman of color is not usually what we picture.
Pirate Women: The Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers Who Ruled the Seven Seas, by Laura Sook Duncombe was published in 2019. In the book, Duncombe breaks through the idea of who and what we think a pirate is. She takes the reader through history, introducing them to female privateers who they may or may not have heard of. Using both proved historical facts and legends that have been circulating throughout the centuries, she tells the stories of women who broke the mold, but have not been given their place in the historical spotlight.
This book is fabulous. Though these women are few in number compared to male pirates, their contribution cannot be overlooked. What Duncombe does well is differentiate fact from fiction, pointing out where history ends and folklore begins. She also makes a very point in linking the actions of these women to the modern feminist movement.
Do I recommend it?