Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Book Review: A Short and Bloody History of Pirates

A Short and Bloody History of Pirates by John Farman

This is a great introduction to pirateology for the young swabby just putting to sea (an nine or ten year old would LOVE this book). There are copious pictures and anecdotes as well as delightfully horrifying descriptions of pirate "food" and methods of torture.

It's truly adorable. But that said, it doesn't pull that many punches, there are topics on disgusting disease, cross-dressing, cannibalism and untimely deaths in graphic detail.

Here's an excerpt from Page 36:

Dysentery is a horrible disease and almost too yucky to talk about. You get it when a lot of people are crowded together and don't wash their hands after going to the bathroom, and then handle food. On a pirate ship, not only did they not have proper toilets... but the water was far too precious to be used for washing. Actually, pirates were a filthy bunch who wouldn't have washed their hands anyway.

Don't worry, you'll soon know if you've got it: severe bouts of blood-filled diarrhea, followed by severe stomach pains, followed by a severe thirst, followed by, if you're a bit unlucky severe death. Severely not to be recommended.

Medical Tip
If you've got dysentery, don't, for God's sake, confuse it with scurvy for, if you rush for the fruit bowl, it'll more than likely make it much worse."

Four out of Five hooks

No comments: