Pirate Enlightenment, or the Real Libertalia

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Product Details
$27.00  $25.11
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publish Date
5.61 X 8.49 X 0.84 inches | 0.67 pounds

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About the Author
David Graeber was a professor of anthropology at the London School of Economics. He is the author of Debt: The First 5,000 Years and Bullshit Jobs: A Theory, among many other books, and the coauthor, with David Wengrow, of the New York Times bestseller The Dawn of Everything. He was an iconic thinker and a renowned activist, and his early efforts in Zuccotti Park made Occupy Wall Street an era-defining movement. He died in 2020

"The real story of antiauthoritarianism, gendered economics and direct democracy behind a legendary 18th-century pirate province . . . [Pirate Enlightenment] advances Graeber's mission: to destabilize our idea of what's possible and show that humans can, and often do, create egalitarian worlds built on points of consensus instead of the sharp end of a cutlass."
--Sam Dean, Los Angeles Times

"David Graeber was a highly original thinker and a wonderful writer. Most of all he was someone who sought out challenging problems and set about trying to solve them."
--Peter Frankopan, New York Times Book Review

"Pirate Enlightenment pluralizes and globalizes our understanding of whose ideas and actions are considered impactful and whose vision shapes the world, a framing that still resonates in contemporary times . . . In his academic writing and political commitments, David Graeber exemplified an ethos of action and conversation . . . As anthropologists have noted, gifts are inalienable--they contain within them something of the giver. Graeber's final book is certainly such a gift." --Jatin Dua, Science

"A tour de force of anthropological scholarship and an important addition to Malagasy history . . . Certain to be controversial, but all the more important for that."

"Pirates captured the imagination of writers and readers centuries ago, and David Graeber reveals why. He has produced one of the most fascinating, original, and altogether brilliant books ever written about these unruly outlaws."
--Marcus Rediker, author of Villains of All Nations: Atlantic Pirates in the Golden Age

"A characteristically radical re-reading of history that places the social and political experiments of pirates at the heart of the European Enlightenment. A brilliant companion volume to the best-selling Dawn of Everything."
--Amitav Ghosh

"Daring, carefully speculative, and intellectually ambitious: all qualities that we had come to expect of the late David Graeber. Pirate Enlightenment is a splendid example of Graeber's transformative and convincing case that the Enlightenment was a cosmopolitan and plebian concoction, fabricated far from the European centers of Enlightenment thought."
--James C. Scott

"Radical, magical and enchanting: a true history of a people's Enlightenment, led by Malagasy women and egalitarian pirates at a crossroads of the world, a land of battle, foment, booty, whose inhabitants liked nothing better than pranking outsiders to spread outlandish tales of their lives."
--Cory Doctorow, author of Chokepoint Capitalism and Walkaway

"In The Dawn of Everything, David Graeber urged historically minded scholars to consider the ways that human beings have continually pursued three basic freedoms, including the freedom to create new forms of social relations. In this book, he provides a fascinating example of the transformative potential of this proposition. Showing how rumored 18th century 'pirate kingdoms' established in Madagascar can be understood from the perspective of the local Malagasy population, Graeber gives us a glimpse of people, men and women, taking control of the society in which they lived, making new forms of sociality. He links this historical exploration to a second theme of the previous work, the fact that European political philosophers in the 17th and 18th century were responding to ideas coming from outside Europe, providing them inspiration to image freedoms they had not previously experienced. Pirate Enlightenment is, as the author writes, a provocation--but also an inspiration; and a great piece of story-telling." --Rosemary A. Joyce, Interim Director of Global, International, and Area Studies, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley