Villains of All Nations explores the “Golden Age” of Atlantic piracy and the infamous generation whose images underlie our modern, romanticized view of pirates. Rediker focuses on the high seas drama of the years 1716-1726, which featured the dreaded black flag, the Jolly Roger; swashbuckling figures such as Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard; and the unnamed pegleg who was likely Robert Louis Stevenson’s model for Long John Silver in Treasure Island.
This novel interpretation shows how sailors emerged from deadly working conditions on merchant and naval ships, turned pirate, and created a starkly different reality aboard their own vessels. At their best, pirates constructed their own distinctive egalitarian society, as they elected their officers, divided their booty equitably, and maintained a multinational social order. (Publisher)