The True Life of Pirates

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It's pirate mania time again in American movie theaters and pre-teen chat rooms. Johnny Depp is back with his glam rock village people and Keith Richards' brigand as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean 2. Swords with clash, girls will swoon and Davy Jones will walk again in the briny deep.

Almost since the so-called "golden age" of piracy itself — the early years of the New World — pirates, with their peg legs and Spanish Main and yo-ho-ho and pieces of eight — have gripped the wild romantic imagination. The reality was wilder still: murder, torture and flamboyant plunder on an epic scale.

Hear about the real history and deep skullduggery of pirates.


David Cordingly, author of "Under the Black Flag: The Romance and Reality of Life Among Pirates."

This program aired on July 7, 2006.


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