Friday, February 14, 2014

Talking pirates, Blackbeard on NPR's "On Point" with Tom Ashbrook

It was my great pleasure to be the guest today on National Public Radio's "On Point" with Tom Ashbrook, talking about Blackbeard and the great Caribbean pirates.

We had lots to talk about, so it was wonderful to have been given a full hour with Tom, whose show originates at member station WBUR in Boston.

Blackbeard has been receiving attention of late on account of my cover story*, "The Last Days of Blackbeard", in the current issue of Smithsonian Magazine, which includes exclusive new eyewitness accounts of the great pirate's final act of piracy which were discovered in a French archive by underwater explorer Mike Daniel, who joined us on the show. Add to that my own discoveries in the naval papers of the British National Archives and those of other scholars in Jamaica and Pennsylvania and there's a lot "new" there even for pirate scholars.

Blackbeard and his unusual cohort of pirates are also the subject of my book, The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down, which was released in the U.S. in 2007, in the U.K. last month (by Pan Macmillan), and is the basis of the forthcoming NBC drama "Crossbones" with John Malkovich (and written by Neil Cross of BBC "Luther" fame.) This same pirate gang also provides the setting for the new Starz series "Black Sails" and for Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag, one of whose sea shantys made it on the air today.

And, for those who asked: yes, Blackbeard's real name was Edward Thatch, not Edward Teach. More on that here.

For Mainers, the show airs at 7pm and 11pm tonight on MPBN. (My hour is probably the latter.) 


* - It's the cover story of the subscription edition this month, but there's a different cover on the (much smaller) newsstand edition.

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