Sunday, August 28, 2016

UK discovers Republic of Pirates

The media is a fickle beast, and most especially the British print variety, which suddenly last week decided they needed breaking news about Blackbeard, the infamous pirate who died 298 years ago. Thus, out of the blue, some of the revelations my nine year old biography of Blackbeard and his gang, The Republic of Pirates, have been making headlines there.

It started with the Bristol Post, the daily in the city that may have been Blackbeard's port of birth. Someone there discovered the two-year old U.K edition of the book and, therein, that Blackbeard's real name was actually Edward Thatch, rather than Edward Teach as is commonly thought. I had an enjoyable conversation with reporter Tristan Cork, who wrote this piece, "Bristol pirate Blackbeard's real name was NOT Edward Teach, American historian conforms." He includes my full email response to his question on this score, for those wanting the details.

The next day, an editor for, a news and PR site out of Bristol contacted me on behalf of the Daily Mail, which apparently outsources to them the troublesome task of actually reporting their stories. I had a thoughtful interview with one of their reporters about Blackbeard, which informed this Daily Mail story on Thursday. The Mail managed to get my name wrong and the erroneously state that I'm based in New York and the byline for the story is of someone I never spoke to. They go on to, ironically enough, report how "the guidebooks, plaques, posters, and history books have been getting [Blackbeard's] name wrong all this time." Fancy that.

But they do say I'm the "leading authority and writer on the golden age of piracy" and give some nice plugs for the book, so I'm not complaining. After all, "it's absolutely true because I read it in the Daily Mail."

The Sun, not to be left out, ran this story Friday which, umm, "borrows" all of its reporting from the Daily Mail story. The tabloid -- Britain's largest circulation paper -- is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

In any case, I'm pleased the pirates' story is getting attention in the country where many of them were born, and glad that my newspaper career has largely centered on this side of the Atlantic.

No comments:

Post a Comment