SAILING THE SEVEN SEAS

The Illustrated Life of Blackbeard

by: Charles River Editions

Blackbeardpiccover

This book is part of  History For Kids series aimed at children in the middle grades. As is the case with other books in the series there are engravings, drawings and paintings. There are no maps of the voyages which would have been helpful. The editors attempt to separate the facts from the myth which is difficult to do because of the paucity of information.

Chapter One begins by telling us Blackbeard’s real name, Edward Teach, and how he might have been born in either Jamaica or Bristol, England around 1680. Teach learned how to become a sailor by serving in the British Navy during Queen Anne’s War. He attacked French ships and soon discovered how  to become a pirate. Later when the war was over, he moved to the island of New Providence on the Atlantic Ocean and worked for the pirate leader, Benjamin Hornigold. Together they attacked Spanish and Portuguese ships for  bounty of wine and flour. They then met a pirate named Stede Bonet who allowed Teach to captain a ship called the Revenge. These two men later broke with Hornigold because he would not attack the British. When the pirates captured a French slave ship that had 40 cannons, Teach assumed command of 150 pirates. Shortly after they attacked a ship named Margaret, its captain, Henry Bostock,  told the governor about Teach describing his long black beard. That is how he got the name, Blackbeard.

Legends about Teach continued to grow and by 1718, the British Royal Navy actively hunted him. Blackbeard feigned repentance and asked for the governor’s protection. His ship ran aground; but many think he wanted to sink his ship to split up the pirates and keep more treasure for himself. Blackbeard did not give up being a pirate as he had promised. He sailed up and down the Atlantic coast searching for ships to plunder. The governor of Virginia, Robert Maynard, chased him up and down the coastal seas. Would Blackbeard finally be caught or would he continue to plunder?

This book is not as well written as the others in this series. At times it appears as if the writers are stringing together information rather than telling a life story. The book does its job in introducing students to the real Edward Teach.

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