Born to Be Hanged: The Epic Story of the Gentlemen Pirates Who Raided the South Seas, Rescued a Princess, and Stole a Fortune


Product Details

$19.99  $18.59
Back Bay Books
Publish Date
5.4 X 8.2 X 1.1 inches | 0.7 pounds

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About the Author

Keith Thomson is the author of several novels, including Pirates of Pensacola and the New York Times bestseller Once a Spy. The former Columbia history major also writes nonfiction for the New York Times, Garden & Gun, and the Huffington Post on a range of topics, including national security and piracy. He lives in Birmingham, Alabama.


"What a rollicking ride! Born to Be Hanged is serious narrative history delivered as gripping entertainment, with all the panache of an adventure novel. Keith Thomson unspools the excesses and escapades of the high seas in what we come to see is truly the Golden Age of Piracy. From the signing of the buccaneers' initial charter to their life-or-death trial back in England two years later, I followed every battle, chase, and standoff with rapt attention. Thomson not only brings the seventeenth century to life in vivid detail; he weaves his humor and keen observations into the character studies of the pirates themselves. This book is a riveting historical delight not to be missed."

--Keith O'Brien, author of the New York Times bestseller Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History
"Born to Be Hanged is swashbuckling narrative nonfiction at its best. Thomson skillfully weaves in the history and geopolitics of the period even as he puts the reader in the middle of an action-packed thriller that does not let up. By the end of this myth-busting, stranger-than-fiction tale, I wanted to raise a tankard of rum and toast the death-defying adventures of the greatest buccaneers of the seventeenth-century."--James L. Swanson, author of the New York Times bestseller Manhunt: The Twelve-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer
"Born to Be Hanged is a thrilling tale of piracy in the South Seas, replete with pitched and bloody battles, treasure hoards, a daring rescue, violent storms, shifting allegiances, mutiny, and a dubious trial. It is full of so many fascinating details and surprising twists and turns that you will not want to put it down until the very end. A wonderful contribution to the history of piracy, and a welcome addition to every pirate lover's library."--Eric Jay Dolin, bestselling author of Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America's Most Notorious Pirates
"It's hard to believe that serious maritime history could be quite so fascinating and outrageously readable. Born to Be Hanged is one of those books you simply can't put down, a true history of a band of buccaneers who embark on a two-year rampage along the Pacific coasts of Central and South America, undertaking a series of daring, insane, and bloody raids that are at times so improbable as to defy belief. This is a truly marvelous read and I highly recommend it."--Douglas Preston, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Lost City of the Monkey God
"Born to Be Hanged tells the dazzling true story of one of the brashest, riskiest, and all-out swashbucklingest pirating adventures ever attempted--a mission that takes an outmanned band of English buccaneers across one deadly jungle, over two oceans, through the heart of the Spanish Main, and into endless trouble. Along the way, they come upon plenty of treasure--and readers will, too."--Miles Harvey, author of The King of Confidence
"A brisk and entertaining adventure story... Thomson unravels the complex relationship between piracy and colonial governments in the Americas, where England and Spain struggled for primacy, and describes local tribes and flora and fauna in meticulous detail."--Publishers Weekly
"Thomson eloquently proves Mark Twain's oft-cited adage, 'Truth is stranger than fiction.' Thanks to lively writing and thorough research, Thomson's pirates burst from the pages as vividly and compellingly as those in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series... The entertaining suspense and high energy continue to the very end."--John Rowen, Booklist
"A rollicking historical account... Every action-packed page is certain to thrill connoisseurs of piracy and seafaring history... Thomson fleshes out each audacious attack and narrow escape with wit and insight... By focusing on the individuals who kept accounts of the adventure, Thomson humanizes the 'Brethren of the Coast, ' shedding light on their motivations, histories, and relationships."--Sara Shreve, Library Journal (starred review)
"This swashbuckling history recounts a two-yearlong pirate raid in the 17th century along the Pacific coastline, with over 300 dastardly buccaneers in search of Spanish gold."--Barbara VanDenburgh, USA Today
"Thomson is an engaging and enthusiastic writer."--The Economist
"Thomson does a fine job mining the historical record for all this swash and buckle... it reads, quite literally, like a pirate novel."--Tina Jordan, New York Times Book Review
"Unleashes an epic history of a band of 'gentlemen pirates.'"--Ron Charles, Washington Post