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Empire of the Blue Water

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Empire of the Blue Water. Captain Morgan's Great Pirate Army, the Epic Battle for the Americas, and the Catastrophe That Ended the Outlaws' Bloody Reign. By Stephan Talty. (Three Rivers Press: 2008. Pg. 352.) ISBN: 0307236617.

Reviewed by Herbert White - November 5, 2007

Empire of the Blue Water is the swashbuckling, real-life story of Captain Henry Morgan (1635-1688). A Welshman turned outlaw. Captain Morgan became one of the most feared, and wealthy, pirates to ply the waters of the Caribbean. In this gripping biography, Stephan Talty has written an unforgettable story about this notorious, and dread pirate.

Within the pages of this book, Talty provides a detailed overview of Morgan's life and deeds, and the events that led to his eventual downfall. Talty chronicles how Morgan began his career as a British privateer, and the events that turned him into a full-fledge pirate. Talty details the major raids that Morgan led, including his sacking of Panama and Granada, and how these raids were reported in contemporary accounts. Talty also shows the mutable nature of Morgan's career, sometimes a hated pirate, and at other time heralded as a British hero who was fighting valiantly against their Spanish foe.

Talty separates the fact from the fiction about Morgan's life in order to present an accurate biography of this pirate king, and one time governor of Jamaica. In the process of recounting Morgan's life, Talty provides ample background information that will allow you to place Morgan's life in historical context. This background information also serves to paint a portrait of what life was like in the Caribbean during Morgan's reign of terror.

Complete with maps, source notes, a glossary and a time line, Empire of the Blue Water is an accurate and authoritative history of Morgan. Most important, Talty has written this book in a narrative style reminiscent of a modern-day thriller. Thereby making this book both edifying and entertaining to read, and a book that will fascinate readers of all ages.


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