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David Cordingly's Under The Black Flag

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David Cordingly's “Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates” is an extraordinary book, although sometimes confusing. Yet it is of no surprise that Cordingly writes his book with enthusiasm and great interest, Cordingly is clearly a sophisticated expert in pirate stories and legends. What makes Cordingly’s book so interesting and original is that he explores the facts and details about pirate history while at the same time exposing the myths and romanticized lies. The book itself investigates the reality of piracy versus the fictional images of pirates and their unimaginable portrayal in books and movies. Therefore the purpose of this assignment will be for me to give a detailed evaluation of David Cordingly's…show more content…
He’s obviously interested in vivid history and high seas adventures but most importantly Cordingly wishes to examine the popular image of pirates today, to find out where the romanticized image of pirates came from, and to compare it with the real world of pirates. Cordingly writes “Pirates have always been elusive figures. They came out of the blue. They attacked, they looted, and they vanished (Intro.)” Cordingly describes that although most of us have never seen or meet any pirates, we think we know how they acted, dressed, and significantly were as a population. In chapter one “Wooden legs and Parrots” Cordingly examines this fantasy by discussing how Robert Louis Stevenson shaped many pirate stereotypes within his novel “Treasure Island.” In this book, one of the main characters is Long John Silver who of course is better known than any real pirates in history, along with Capitan Hook from J. M. Barrie's play “Peter Pan.” Cordingly describes Long John Siler and “tall and powerful…a wily character which alternates between jovial good humor and utter ruthlessness (p.5)” What I believe makes the romanticisation of pirates so easily to portrait is the fantasy of it all. Is like how Robert Louis Stevenson states when speaking about his deeply beloved character Long John Silver. He simply took “an admired friend and deprived him of his finer qualities, leaving him with nothing but his strength and his geniality,…show more content…
This book seemingly has it all when it comes to Pirate lore. It feels as though no details were left unresolved in the broad scope of the history of piracy on the high seas. Where possible, Cordingly goes into such explicit detail it makes you feel as part of the story. Sadly with a few of the stories, he can only offer what history has uncovered which can be very little when it comes to the topic of Pirates. Despite it all “Under the Black Flag” provides a realistic study of pirates and their lives that refutes many of the myths about the era. Yet don’t think of this book as a dry or dusty scholar's thesis. “Under The Black Flag” is truly enjoyable, and easy to read, not to mention that the illustrations of the several maps scattered throughout, add to the appeal. This book would be recommendable to almost anybody seeking a thrill or an adventure. “Under the Black Flag” is not just an historical analysis of piracy in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries; it's a foray into the world of history and fiction as they coalesce into myth within our own minds. As promised, Cordingly looks at the romance, as well as the reality. He discusses the pirates we know and love in fiction, film and legend. "The fact is that we want to believe in the world of the pirates as it has been portrayed in the adventure stories, the plays, and the films over the years. We
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