Under The Black Flag by David Cordingly I’m not a huge fan of “talk like a pirate day,” nor have I seen either of the Pirates of the Carribean movies, but I have to admit at least a partial fascination with pirates. I mean, who doesn’t have one? I suppose it goes back to my days of youth (where forest forts became a perfect place for swashbuckling daydreams) a little more than recent times, but continuing my non-fiction kick for the year, I decided to tackle Under The Black Flag by David Cordingly.

The book was recommended quite some time back by friend and former band-mate Tom (hi, Tom!), and TG bought the book and sped through about 75 pages only to deposit it on the lower level of our nightstand and leave it for dead. Not quite ready to tackle a book on World War II right on the heels of one on World War I, I thought some lighter fare on pirates might be good.

As it turns out, Cordingly’s book is very well researched and is an interesting look at both the facts and fictions behind how pirates have been portrayed over the ages. It was interesting to see a lot of the romantic misconceptions get blown out of the water (pun sort of intended), as well as some of the more brutal elements brought into focus. Yes, there was a lot of drinking and galavanting on the high seas, but in most cases this sort of a lifestyle meant for a very short lifespan and if death didn’t come by disease or battle wounds, it came by hanging (after which the corpse was usually coated in tar and placed in a large metal cage at port entries as a warning to others) after pirate activity was cracked down more severly by the British government.

At roughly 250 pages, the book was also a speedy read, with some interesting drawings, maps, and illustrations to boot. If you think that the pirates life was all Errol Flynn style swashbuckling and loveable rogues like a drunken Johnny Depp, this might be a good book to check out.