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Publisher's Summary

In the first-ever history of the world's female buccaneers, Pirate Women: the Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers Who Ruled the Seven Seas tells the story of women, both real and legendary, who through the ages sailed alongside - and sometimes in command of - their male counterparts. These women came from all walks of life but had one thing in common: a desire for freedom. History has largely ignored these female swashbucklers - until now. Here are their stories, from ancient Norse princess Alfhild and warrior Rusla to Sayyida al-Hurra of the Barbary corsairs; from Grace O'Malley, who terrorized shipping operations around the British Isles during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, to Cheng I Sao, who commanded a fleet of 400 ships off China in the early 19th century. Author Laura Sook Duncombe also looks beyond the stories to the storytellers and mythmakers. What biases and agendas motivated them? What did they leave out? Pirate Women explores why and how these stories are told and passed down and how history changes depending on who is recording it. It's the most comprehensive overview of women pirates in one volume and chock-full of swashbuckling adventures that pull these unique women from the shadows into the spotlight that they deserve.

©2017 Laura Sook Duncombe (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Duncombe's well-researched account will appeal to history and women's studies aficionados, lovers of myth and lore, and all interested in viewing the past through a new lens." ( Booklist)

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Eww. Not a lovely historical fiction nor fact. Not a story, even.

Come on, this could have been a wonderful book of mini women pirate tales. Mix history and legend. Leave the thesis paper for school. Disappointed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Great facts but a little boring.

This felt more like a class lecture book with matter of fact tidbits and less visual descriptions. Good information and I like that the author highlights how women could have been viewed/altered for a "better" tale or a more palatable one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • CJ
  • Michigan
  • 08-06-18

Don’t waste your time or credit

I wanted to really enjoy this book, but I just couldn’t. Hillary Huber does an excellent performance per usual, but this story was all over the place. Huber is fast becoming my favorite performer. There was more backstory about the men shaping pirate women than women. The stories of these pirate ladies had so little evidence and actual fact for the most part that she should have framed the books as famous mythological pirate women. If there is so little source material for your book, perhaps change the outline? Duncombe only really showed her skill at writing and analysis in the final chapter when she took on Hollywood film, and even then it seemed like pirate women were an afterthought. I’d listen to Duncombe explore the role of women in film for 9 hours, if I had bought a book about women in film. Duncombe has raw talent and good ideas, but like many female pirate films, this book was a flop. I’m looking forward to better developed work from her however.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

bedtime stories

Excellent book, good to fall asleep to, narrator has too soothing/robotic voice to listen otherwise

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Great Subject, Terrible Book

The subject is great, the actual book is poorly written, poorly researched and filled with over the top biases.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good, I liked it

Interesting to hear about more female pirates than I was aware of. It was padded out more than I would have liked with current social commentary than I cared for but a good listen

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good but not perfect.

I may be hash with only a 3/5 since the topic is good and some of the storys are really enjoyable. But I keep drifting out when the author gets less focused. It keeps telling me that someone should make a book about tjis fasinating people... I mean I though this was suppose to be that book.. But dont get me wrong, I do not regret listening to this book. If you are intrested you should by it.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kelly
  • 06-25-18

Listen at x1.25 speed

At first I thought I couldn’t listen to this book I found the narrator dull and almost robotic, it seemed more like a droning lecture then an exciting book about female pirates. So I changed the speed to 1.25x and bam not so dull, the narrator seemed to have more inflection in her voice and I’m glad I persevered as it is a good book.