Pirates. For centuries they've been both the terror of the seas and romantic subject matter for creative writers and artists. They conjure up an image of
fearless, daring, ruthless men (and women!), driven by lust for stolen treasures and wealth seized from ill-prepared sea travelers. While they are
sometimes portrayed as swashbuckling and suave, heroes to little boys like Tom Sawyer, in fact, they were more often pictured dirty with missing teeth and
a peg leg. And an eye patch and a parrot on their shoulder!
Nevertheless, their image has been preserved in countless works of art and literature. Howard Pyle is known for his Pirate art and illustrations. Daniel Defoe in the early 1700s may have been the first to capture the life of piracy in fiction, followed by others throughout the centuries, such as Robert Louis Stevenson. Even contemporary writers such as Michael Crichton couldn't resist writing their own interpretations of the life of pirates. But in fact, piracy has been around for as long as people have traveled the seas, dating back to the first century, B.C.
I happen to own quite a bit of pirate books, and will share them with you here. In addition, I am using this index to include books about seafarers. Even without being attacked by pirates, seafaring could be, and usually was a dangerous game.
Last of all, I am including the milder and more enjoyable side of water travel— floating on a gondola in Venice, a steamboat (or raft!) down the Mississippi, and even a clumsy boat outing down the Thames. Enjoy!