Thursday, September 8, 2011

Recoverin' and Book Learnin'

I'm just getting back on my feet after having some abdominal surgery. Nothing major, but enough to put me on my back for a couple of weeks. Even now, I'm having trouble with my energy levels (Wind gets knocked out of my sails, easily, I mean), and I'm still not supposed to lift anything more than 10 lbs. Problem is, the Dude weighs in at 20 now, so I've been breaking that rule a bit, certainly more than One Ring approves.

Fortunately, though, One Ring gave me a Kindle for my birthday, so I've been able to read a couple of books. Of particular interest has been The Sea Rover's Practice: Pirate Tactics and Techniques, 1630-1730 by Bennerson Little. Little is a former U.S. Navy SEAL, and his knowledge of strategy certainly shows.

What's really been interesting in this book (I'm only about halfway through; it was often difficult to read for long stretches when medication kept knocking me out!), is how the author contrasts what pirate enthusiasts like to stress about the era (Jolly Rogers, broadside cannon fusillades, and easily recognizable attire) and the reality of prize taking. Suffice to say that pirates then were more similar to the modern rovers operating off Somalia and Indonesia than any of us fun loving, rum drinking, swashbuckling types would ever like to admit.

Little does more than just point out the Hollywood and Talk Like a Pirate Day (11 days away!) inaccuracies, though. There's more than enough adventure, deception, and intrigue left in the historical record for our love of all things pyratical to continue. It's just a fair warning that I'm giving: don't expect too much of Disney's famous fictional captain to be left intact. Of course, none of us who have done any research into the era already knew that.

All in all, a good read, and a fair examination of the realities of the era. Enjoy!

No comments: