Empire of Blue Water: Captain Morgan’s Great Pirate Army, the Epic Battle for the Americas and the Catastrophe that Ended the Outlaws’ Bloody Reign (Nonfiction: Stephan Talty) c. 2007

Summary: In 1655, 21-year-old Welshman Henry Morgan crossed the Atlantic determined to make a fortune at any cost. Operating on behalf of the King of England, Morgan would terrorize the vast and heretofore unchallenged might of the Spanish Empire. Building an army out of an undisciplined collection of adventurer’s, runaway slaves, soldiers and cutthroats, Morgan’s feats would change the face of the world.

Review: Sensationalizing history is a common strategy for publishers trying to sell nonfiction books; this is the rare story that is actually more sensational than the sales pitch. Crushing colonial armies, sacking cities, seizing vast treasure fleets and all the while outwitting opponents at every turn, Morgan is like a movie character on steroids. If you want well written history that will truly, genuinely, amaze you, this is a perfect selection. It’s also well researched, and you’ll find yourself learning quite a bit along the very fun ride. I checked out the audiobook, and would highly recommend the experience; the reader was excellent.

Read-a-likes: Reader’s interested in further nonfiction reading on piracy should take a look at The Sea Rover’s Practice by Benerson Little or Pirates: Predators of the Sea by Angus Konstam and Michael Kean for further history, or try Dangerous Waters by John S. Burnett for a look at the modern variety. For a fictional twist, Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton and Pirate Freedom by Gene Wolfe are worth a look.

Availability: This book is available from the Lake Bluff Public Library as an Audio Book and an eAudiobook. Click here to check on the availability!

Review by Eric.

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