The novel Under the Black Flag, by David Cordingly, is a non-fictional narrative about the lives of previous pirates and their customs. The book, written by one of the foremost experts on pirates, explains in great detail many famous pirates, along with the living conditions that pirates went through. It clearly separates many common misconceptions spread among us by romanticized works about pirates from the cold, hard reality about who they really were and what they did, and provides a myriad of new information to the reader.
The novel contains no storyline; rather, it categorizes a slew of information into different chapters, and provides the information along with real-life examples to support the facts. The timeline spans from the "Great Age of Piracy" (around the 16th century), to what is generally regarded as the end of the stereotypical, cutlass-wielding pirate (around the 18th century). The setting spans around the entire globe, as it covers the lives of pirates, who have pillaged ships on nearly all of the oceans and seas of the world.
However, most of the book focuses on the pirates and their adventures in Jamaica and England.
Throughout history, pirates have been extremely difficult to learn about, due to a lack of readily available information. However, Cordingly has painstakingly amassed a large amount of information regarding how pirates lived their lives.
Pirates usually started their careers after some mishap during a previous merchant or naval expedition, as very few people joined pirates without previous experience on the seas. Sometimes, individuals were forced onto pirate crews from captured ships (usually referred to as "prizes"), while others joined seeking an easy life, away from the rigors of merchant life.
Life on a pirate ship was easier than that of a merchant ship due to more people being on...