Friday, November 30, 2007

Book Review: Pirate Utopias

Pirate Utopias: Moorish Corsairs and European Renegadoes
by Peter Lamborn Wilson

I simply cannot get enough of this book. Wilson is a renowned resource on Sufism and the Muslim World and in this tome he takes a stab at Barbary Corsairs, Early Democracy and the interplay between Islam and Christianity in 11th century Europe.

An excellent entry point into the concept of Temporary Autonomous Zones, Wilson finds ways to incorporate the beauty and majesty of Islamic poetry and the sensuous feeling of Moroccan culture and the excitement of the freedom and cacophony of the Barbary Capitals: Libertalia, Tunis, Algiers, Salee.

A few years ago I was able to see Peter Lamborn Wilson speak at a party for a New York City Secession Movement. His charming style and command of his subject matter kept the audience rapt and I found this book to have a similar highly entertaining, often funny voice. A non-fiction book that you can't put down is a rare bird indeed and I felt as soon as I'd opened it I was transported to a time of possibility and hardship, when men were carving political power out of raw chaos and a new religion was drawing the dregs of Europe and forging the basis for modern governments.

Five out of Five Hooks

An Essential Part of any Pirate Library

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