Essential Primary Sources on the Golden Age of Piracy

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These five books should form a solid base for any aspiring pirate researcher or historian who is about to dive deep into this fascinating topic. Needless to say, the texts by Esquemeling, Johnson and Labat, as they had been compiled during the Golden Age of Piracy, must be taken with a grain of salt, though they are still considered to be foundational sources along with trial records, correspondence, travelogues and various manuscripts. However, for all beginner researchers and scholars, the latter categories are fairly well represented in two invaluable books – ‘British Piracy in the Golden Age’ and ‘Piracy in the Early Modern Era’. Understandably, these five recommendations cannot fully make it up for meticulous research conducted in the archives, though they can nonetheless provide a backbone of any work that aims to explore the Golden Age of Piracy in a serious way.

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