History Rage

Plunder on the High Seas: A Condensed History of Pirates with Jem Duducu

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Episode notes

This week we dive into the thrilling world of piracy with special guest, author and podcaster Jem Duducu on this episode of History Rage. Jem, an expert in history and author of captivating books, provides fascinating insights into the diverse realms of piracy, from the Caribbean to the Barbary Corsairs.

Introduction to Pirate Legends:

Jem introduces the world of piracy, debunking myths and exploring the historical realities behind pirate legends.

The conversation touches on the notorious pirate Anne Bonny and the challenges of researching historical pirates.

Anne Bonny's Story:

Anne Bonny's unconventional life, from piracy to running bars and brothels, is discussed.

The hosts reflect on the limited representation of women in positions of strength in historical narratives and propose the idea of a Disney movie about Anne Bonny.

Factors Driving People to Become Pirates:

The discussion shifts to the motivations and circumstances that lead individuals to become pirates.

Insights into historical contexts, such as the power vacuum during the golden age of piracy, and modern examples like Somali pirates, highlight the desperation that drives people to piracy.

Comparing Pirate Cultures:

Various pirate cultures, including Islamic piracy, Caribbean piracy, Barbary piracy, and Viking piracy, are explored.

Cultural and strategic differences among pirates are discussed, such as the Barbary corsairs' focus on slavery and the Chinese pirate's hierarchical structure.

Enduring Fascination with Pirates:

The hosts explore the enduring fascination with pirates in popular culture, referencing movies like Pirates of the Caribbean.

Jem Duducu recounts Hollywood's past struggles with pirate-themed movies and the unexpected success of Pirates of the Caribbean.

Pirates or Ninjas:

The hosts end the discussion with a playful question: Pirates or Ninjas? Jem unequivocally declares his preference for ninjas and shares a fascinating historical anecdote about a pirate who became Pope John XXIII.

You can, and should, read Jem’s book “Hollywood and History: What the Movies Get Wrong from the Ancient Greeks to Vietnam” which you can buy from the History Rage Bookshop and you can follow him on Twitter @JemDuducu and you can listen to the Condensed Histories Podcast here or wherever you found us.

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