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The Real History of Pirates

By: Professor Manushag N. Powell, The Great Courses
Narrated by: Professor Manushag N. Powell
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Publisher's summary

There’s an apocryphal story that Alexander the Great once captured a notorious pirate named Diomedes. The great conqueror decided to interview the doomed pirate, asking him what he thought gave him the right to seize the property of other people. The pirate responded by asking the emperor what he thought gave him the right to take property that doesn’t belong to him, including entire countries. The story goes that Alexander thought the pirate very clever, granting him freedom instead of execution.

Other than scale, what is the difference between a pirate and the vast armies of an emperor? Or between a pirate and the great navy of a queen? Were the men who famously traversed the Atlantic actually the heroic explorers we imagined them to be - or were they...pirates? During the early years of what would be known as the Age of Sail, these explorers included Sirs Francis Drake, John Hawkins, and Walter Ralegh.

In The Real History of Pirates, you’ll find yourself looking at world history from a new point of view, realizing that much of what you’ve learned before could - and possibly should - be viewed through a more appropriate post-imperialistic filter. Your course professor, Manushag N. Powell, an award-winning Professor of English at Purdue University, will expose you to new ways of thinking about global interactions from the West Indies to the Red Sea, from the North Atlantic to Indonesia. You’ll learn what causes piracy, why it still flourishes today, why some pirates even had the backing of a well-established government, and why women sometimes wielded the real power behind the scenes in an enterprise conducted almost exclusively by men.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2021 The Great Courses (P)2021 The Teaching Company, LLC

Featured Article: Go on a Swashbuckling Adventure with These Pirate Audiobooks and Podcasts


From classic sagas of buccaneers commanding the seas to fantasy novels featuring high-tech spacefarers, there's something about pirates that gets our hearts pumping and imaginations soaring! If you love a good adventure story, then you'll want to be sure to check out this list of the best audiobooks and podcasts with pirates, featuring both fiction and nonfiction. Whether you're a seadog or scallywag, a kid or grown up, find your next great pirate listen here.

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