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About the book
  • Published: 31 May 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446468623
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 368

Pirates Of Barbary

Corsairs, Conquests and Captivity in the 17th-Century Mediterranean

The incredible, action-packed secret history of Barbary Coast piracy in the 17th century, by the author of the acclaimed The Verneys

From the coast of Southern Europe to Morocco and the Ottoman states of Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli, Christian and Muslim seafarers met in bustling ports to swap religions, to battle and to trade goods and sales - raiding as far as Ireland and Iceland in search of their human currency.Studying the origins of these men, their culture and practices, Adrian Tinniswood expertly recreates the twilight world of the corsairs and uncovers a truly remarkable clash of civilisations

Drawing on a wealth of material, from furious royal proclamations to the private letters of pirates and their victims, as well as recent Islamic accounts, Pirates of Barbary provides a new perspectives of the corsairs and a fascinating insight into what it meant to sacrifice all you have for a life so violent, so uncertain and so alien that it sets you apart from the rest of mankind.

  • Pub date: 31 May 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446468623
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 368

About the Author

Adrian Tinniswood

Adrian Tinniswood is the author of fourteen books of social and architectural history. His most recent book, The Long Weekend, was one of the most critically acclaimed of 2016.

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Praise for Pirates Of Barbary

“Tinniswood's absorbing book is packed with bad characters, big fights and breathless chases”

Peter Lewis, Daily Mail

“Tinniswood narrates this story with brio and bravura, displaying an excellent eye for the theatrical detail and juicy episode”

Maria Fusaro, BBC History Magazine

“Adrian Tinniswood is a masterly writer of history with a gift for slamming his readers into the thick of the action”

Jason Goodwin, Literary Review

“This rollicking book unpicks a confusion of names, dates and places to produce a fascinating history of seabourne conflict.”

Christopher Hudson, Daily Telegraph

“This exciting book proves that such obscurity is both surprising and undeserved”

James McConnachie, The Times

“A thrilling account”

The Sunday Telegraph

“Fascinating book”

Kathryn Hughes, Mail on Sunday

“Skilfully evokes the dread that corsairs aroused”

Ludovic Hunter-Tilney, Financial Times

“Tinniswood's artful blend of narrative and analysis brings the pirates' society to life. Beneath the vivid surface of this book there lie, sometimes obscured by the vividness, the careful investigation and astute judgement of one of the most incisive of our popular historians.”

Blair Worden, Spectator

“North African pirates were the scourge of the 17th century, and plundered as far as Cornwall. Tinniswood tells their story with verve”

Keith Lowe, Telegraph

“The author's style is an absolute joy and his stories of attacks, based in eyewitness accounts, make rather more thrilling than many fictional thrillers are... He also proves an even-handed judge. While there's no attempt to whitewash the privateers here, there are explanations of what caused men to turn their hand to conquering the seas.”

Robert James, The Book Bag

“This well-researched history of piracy presents brutal seafaring extortionists instead of eye-patched rascals.”

Benjamin Evans, Telegraph Seven Magazine

“Tinniswood unearths colourful characters and historical oddities while pointing out that the West's inability to deal with Somali pirates show how little we've learned in 400 years”


“Meticulously researched history of unrestrained murder, robbery and kidnapping on the high seas... This is a brisk, entertaining story, with royal proclamations, letters, maps and lavishness illuminating Tinniswood's vivid tales.”

Lorraine Courtney, Irish Times

“[He] has unearthed many colourful characters and historical oddities and uses eyewitness accounts to weave a fascinating tale”

Chard & Ilminster News

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