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The Buccaneers in the West Indies in the XVII Century   By: (1885-1960)

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Clarence Henry Haring’s The Buccaneers in the West Indies in the XVII Century provides a fascinating account of the exploits and adventures of the notorious buccaneers in the 17th century Caribbean. As a historian, Haring delves deep into the lives of these pirate-like privateers, combining meticulous research with vivid storytelling to create an immersive and captivating narrative.

One notable strength of this book is Haring’s ability to bring historical figures to life. Through his eloquent prose, he introduces readers to the likes of Henry Morgan, Jean Hamlin, and other famous—and infamous—captains of the era. Haring’s detailing of their personalities, motivations, and actions, coupled with the historical context, adds depth and complexity to these characters, making them more relatable and human.

Moreover, Haring’s extensive research is evident in his thorough examination of the social, economic, and political factors that shaped the buccaneering era. While the exploits of the buccaneers are undoubtedly exciting, Haring skillfully reveals the underlying causes and consequences of their actions. His analysis extends beyond the realm of piracy, addressing colonial rivalries, international power struggles, and the impact of piracy on the British, French, and Spanish empires. This comprehensive approach enriches the narrative, providing readers with a broader understanding of the era.

The Buccaneers in the West Indies in the XVII Century also benefits from Haring’s clear and engaging writing style. Despite the book’s scholarly nature, Haring manages to make complex historical events accessible to a wider audience. His descriptions of naval battles, daring raids, and the harsh realities of life at sea are vivid and cinematic, transporting readers into the heart of these thrilling adventures. The inclusion of maps, illustrations, and primary source excerpts further enhances the book’s readability and helps readers visualize key locations and events.

However, one potential drawback is the book's heavy reliance on primary sources. While Haring’s commitment to authenticity is commendable, at times, the vast number of quotes and references may overwhelm casual readers. Additionally, some sections of the book may feel repetitive due to the multitude of sources used to explore the same events from different perspectives. Streamlining the narrative and summarizing key points from various sources could have made for a more cohesive reading experience.

Overall, The Buccaneers in the West Indies in the XVII Century is an excellent historical account that sheds light on a captivating and often overlooked period of piracy in the Caribbean. Clarence Henry Haring’s meticulous research, coupled with his engaging storytelling, make this book a must-read for history enthusiasts, adventure lovers, and those seeking a deeper understanding of the era’s unique blend of trade, warfare, and piracy.

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First Published in 1910


The principal facts about the exploits of the English and French buccaneers of the seventeenth century in the West Indies are sufficiently well known to modern readers. The French Jesuit historians of the Antilles have left us many interesting details of their mode of life, and Exquemelin's history of the freebooters has been reprinted numerous times both in France and in England. Based upon these old, contemporary narratives, modern accounts are issued from the press with astonishing regularity, some of them purporting to be serious history, others appearing in the more popular and entertaining guise of romances. All, however, are alike in confining themselves for their information to what may almost be called the traditional sources Exquemelin, the Jesuits, and perhaps a few narratives like those of Dampier and Wafer. To write another history of these privateers or pirates, for they have, unfortunately, more than once deserved that name, may seem a rather fruitless undertaking. It is justified only by the fact that there exist numerous other documents bearing upon the subject, documents which till now have been entirely neglected... Continue reading book >>

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